Chicago voters get chance to be heard in public ballot on O’Hare airport noise problem

Chicago O’Hare airport has a new 4th runway that opened in October 2013 as well another new 5th runway that is due to open in late 2015. Others are planned. Since the start of 2014 there has been a distinct change in the flight paths, and huge opposition to the change. The number of complaints to the airport have risen sharply, month after month. However (and how often this has been heard from UK airports too) the authorities claim the numbers are false, as some people complain multiple times. This masks the fact that some don’t complain at all, being unsure how to, and being unconvinced that the airport will take any notice whatsoever. There is now a ballot of residents in 7 affected suburbs of Chicago, but all such referendums in Illinois are only “advisory.”  The questions being asked are on whether the FAA should create and enforce mandatory “fly-quiet” hours around O’Hare. The restrictions would replace the existing voluntary guidelines that ask airlines and pilots to try to reduce noise impacts after 10 pm. Another asks if aircraft noise should be reduced after 7pm,  and people are also asked about more noise insulation being available.  Airport had about 66.9 million passengers in 2013.  Chicago O’Hare on Wikipedia.
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More news on the Chicago O’Hare noise issues from the local group, FAIR (Fair Allocation in Runways) 

http://www.fairchicago.org/docs/in-the-news/


Voters speak loudly on O’Hare noise

By Jon Hilkevitch (Chicago Tribune)

5.11.2014

Chicago and suburban voters sent a clear message to federal aviation officials and Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday that a combination of strict controls and remedies including more residential soundproofing is needed to address increasing noise over many communities from jets at O’Hare International Airport.

On an advisory referendum proposal that would require the Federal Aviation Administration to create and enforce mandatory nighttime “fly-quiet” hours around O’Hare, the “yes” votes were 92 percent in Bensenville, 82 percent in Bloomingdale, 90 percent in Itasca, 90 percent in Norridge and 92 percent in Wood Dale, according to final election returns.

In addition, 90 percent of voters in Harwood Heights said an O’Hare “fly-quiet” period is necessary to safeguard the quality of life in that suburb.

O’Hare-related ballot questions were presented to voters roughly a year after the opening of a new runway that changed air traffic patterns and shifted the noise impacts heard on the ground. Most planes now take off and land to the east and to the west.

In Tuesday’s election, 90 percent of Bensenville voters also said action should be taken by the state legislature to reduce airport noise between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. in the suburb bordering O’Hare.

And 92 percent of Bensenville voters said Congress should direct Chicago to implement noise-mitigation measures to alleviate the effects of a new runway that opened in October 2013 as well as the next new runway set to open in late 2015.

Eighty-four percent of voters in Bloomingdale and 94 percent in Wood Dale supported asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enforce a 1972 airport noise control law.

On a proposal to expand the existing FAA noise contour map so more homeowners would be eligible for government-funded soundproofing, the yes vote was 78 percent in Chicago, 95 percent in Harwood Heights and 93 percent in Itasca.

Seventy-nine percent of voters in Bloomingdale and 95 percent in Wood Dale said they support more residential soundproofing to abate the impact of aircraft noise.

In Park Ridge, 85 percent of voters said the FAA should review existing criteria setting noise- and air-pollution standards related to O’Hare flights, and that the federal agency should consider “local community input” from areas affected by new air-traffic patterns.

Complaints about O’Hare jet noise reached an all-time high of 30,249 in August, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Chicago officials noted that many of the complaints filed online (forms are at oharenoise.org) or to a hotline (800-435-9569) each month come from “repeat complainers,” perhaps signaling that the majority of residents are not feeling adversely affected by the changes in jet noise patterns.

But many residents have told the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission that they simply haven’t made the effort to file complaints, in part because they believe it wouldn’t do any good.

“I have never called the complaint line because I’m not sure when I should be complaining,” Park Ridge resident Cindy Grau said in an email to the Tribune. “Should I call every time a plane flies over? After every 25 planes? Every 50? When planes fly over before 7 a.m.? After 11 p.m.?

“How about the night I was awakened in the middle of the night by a plane that sounded close enough to shear the roof of our house off?” Grau asked. “Would it matter if I complained? Are my complaints investigated and resolved?”

Regarding noise complaint data that Chicago receives, the city’s aviation commissioner, Rosemarie Andolino, told the City Council last week: “I can’t say that information is going to change the result of anything.”

Meanwhile, on a separate referendum issue, 72 percent of voters in three precincts of Chicago’s 44th Ward said the CTA has not “sufficiently justified” plans for a $320 million rail bypass bridge on the North Side near the Belmont station. The proposed flyover bridge would carry Brown Line trains over Red Line and Purple Line/Evanston Express tracks, to unclog a busy intersection called Clark Junction and expand capacity along the entire Red Line, CTA officials said.

But some residents have complained that the bridge, which would extend as high as 45 feet, would hurt the quality of life in central Lakeview.

The CTA is continuing planning on the project.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-ohare-noise-referendums-met-1106-20141105-story.html

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Voters get chance to be heard on O’Hare noise problem

Jon Hilkevitch (CHICAGO TRIBUNE)
jhilkevitch​@chicagotribune.com

2.11.2014

Advisory referendum proposals are on the ballot in Chicago and seven suburbs asking the electorate to weigh in on possible remedies to ease jet noise from O’Hare International Airport. (Chuck Berman, Chicago Tribune)

Actions to cut O’Hare jet noise are on the ballot Tuesday in Chicago and seven suburbs.

As the number of complaints about jet noise from O’Hare International Airport have set new records nearly every month over the past year, Chicago officials have responded that only a relatively few households are the sources of those gripes.

On Tuesday, voters will have the opportunity to put to the test the city’s contention that the majority of residents are not all that upset about recent changes in flight patterns at O’Hare.

Advisory referendum proposals are on the ballot in seven suburbs and the city of Chicago asking the electorate to weigh in on possible remedies — including mandatory measures that would need action by elected officials — to ease jet noise from planes departing and approaching O’Hare.

In addition, in three precincts in Chicago’s 44th Ward, voters will be asked whether the Chicago Transit Authority has provided adequate justification for its plan to build a controversial rail flyover bridge for Brown Line trains to cross over Red Line and Purple Line/Evanston Express tracks near the Belmont station.

All referendums in Illinois, while representing the opinions of the voting public, are advisory.

The O’Hare-related ballot questions are being presented to voters a little more than a year after the opening of a new runway that changed air-traffic patterns. Most planes now take off and land to the east and to the west. There has been a corresponding shift in jet noise that’s heard on the ground.

The referendum questions include asking voters whether they support:

• Requiring the Federal Aviation Administration to create and enforce mandatory “fly-quiet” hours around O’Hare. The restrictions would replace the existing voluntary guidelines that ask airlines and pilots to try to reduce noise impacts after 10 p.m. Questions are on the ballot in Bensenville, Bloomingdale, Harwood Heights, Itasca, Norridge and Wood Dale.

An additional question in Bensenville proposes state legislation to reduce airport noise starting at 7 p.m. daily.

Also, Bloomingdale and Wood Dale are asking voters whether they support asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enforce a noise control law that covers aircraft noise and has been on the books since 1972.

• Calling on the FAA to expand the existing noise-contour map so more homeowners would be eligible for government-funded soundproofing. Variations on the question are on the ballot in Chicago, Harwood Heights and Itasca.

Resident near O’Hare not happy about aircraft noise

Dawne Morong, of Wood Dale, says airplanes landing at O’Hare International Airport create days and nights filled with loud noises. She files dozens of noise complaints each day. 
In addition, voters in Bloomingdale and Wood Dale will be asked whether the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission, which was created by the city of Chicago to represent noise-weary communities, should increase residential sound-proofing in the municipalities to remediate aircraft noise.

• Advising Congress to direct Chicago to implement noise-mitigation measures to address the noise changes resulting from the new runway that opened in October 2013 as well as the next new runway set to open in late 2015. The question is on the ballot in Bensenville.

• Requiring the FAA to review existing criteria setting noise- and air-pollution standards related to O’Hare flights; and requiring that the FAA consider “local community input” from areas affected by new air-traffic patterns. The question is on the ballot in Park Ridge.

Complaints about O’Hare jet noise reached an all-time high of 30,249 in August, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. Chicago officials noted that 44 percent of the complaints came from 11 addresses, including in Bensenville, Itasca, Norridge and Wood Dale.

Voting on the O’Hare issues will come four days after Chicago Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino re-stated the Emanuel administration’s opposition to expanding fly-quiet hours, making the fly-quiet program mandatory or supporting use of more O’Hare runways during overnight hours as a way to spread out jet noise effects by reducing the number of flights over specific communities.

“People are experiencing noise, I understand that,” Andolino testified Friday at a city council budget hearing for 2015. “However, there are limited things we can do. I can’t just magically make something happen.”

Andolino, who is expected to leave her post this month after serving as aviation commissioner since 2009, has tried to walk a political tightrope, carrying out the $10 billion O’Hare expansion plan for two mayors while also trying to portray the airport as a good neighbor and a steward of the environment.

On Monday, Andolino will host for the last time the national Airports Going Green conference, which the aviation department began during her tenure.

As Andolino prepares to leave City Hall to take a higher-paying job in the private sector, critics say Mayor Rahm Emanuel risks a fierce public backlash by appearing to care more about the economic benefits of more flights at O’Hare than he does about the quality of life of residents. The criticism is even coming from his allies.

At Friday’s budget hearing, Ald. Margaret Laurino, whose 39th Ward on the Northwest Side is below a heavily used O’Hare flight corridor, said her constituents are frustrated and angry “and I don’t blame them because I feel the same way.”

The city’s hard line is “a mistake,” added U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, a Chicago Democrat running for re-election Tuesday who also said he has had numerous fiery conversations with Emanuel — to no avail — about helping to provide noise relief.

“There are things the administration can do right now to alleviate the problem, if they wanted to,” Quigley, whose congressional district includes the O’Hare area, said in an interview Friday. “The mayor is not without the ability and the access to the administration in Washington to reach an accord.”

Quigley said he hopes Emanuel will soon “understand that he doesn’t have to hurt the economic engine we call O’Hare in order to address the legitimate concerns from the neighbors.”

“Frankly, I don’t think she (Andolino) has made any effort,” he said

 

… and it continues ……

 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/hilkevitch/ct-ohare-referendums-getting-around-1103-20141102-column.html#page=1

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Earlier:

Residents in Chicago, fed up with O’Hare airport jet noise, take to the streets to fight it

O’Hare airport in Chicago has been upsetting residents to the northwest of the city, by changing flight paths, so some people are being over flown a great deal than before. This is the result of the O’Hare Modernization Project that took effect in October 2013. The changes mean that 85% of O’Hare arrivals and departures between 11 pm and 6am will fly over homes in certain suburbs. Those living under these flight paths face not only the noise, the annoyance, the potential impacts on their health and the loss of sleep, but also a decrease in their property prices.  The local community campaign, FAiR (Fair Allocation in Runways) has been touring affected neighbourhoods giving out door hanger signs encouraging people to get active and fight the flight paths, or else “kiss your property values goodbye.”  They plan to hand out door hangers to 50,000 homes. They also have “yard signs” (placards to stick in the front garden) for the campaign, selling these to raise campaign funds. Just as in London and near other UK airports, people are devastated by the new noise pollution. One commented that even with noise insulation, it was impossible to avoid the noise in the neighbourhood, even by going shopping, going swimming, going to the park. It cannot be avoided.

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Chicago O’Hare airport new runway & flightpaths creating huge opposition by those now over-flown

Chicago O’Hare airport currently has many runways but not all can be used simultaneously. The airport has been building more, reducing the lengths of others, to get three parallel runways can be used together. There has been a lot of controversy about the plans over many years, with compulsory purchase of land, from residents who did not want to move.  There is now huge protest against the noise. A group representing city and suburban home-owners, the Fair Allocation in Runways Coalition (FAiR), is asking the Chicago Aviation Commissioner to resign or for the Mayor to fire her.  FAiR say there is  “mounting frustration over the lack of response from the Mayor on possible remedies concerning “the ceaseless airplane noise” since air-traffic patterns were changed last autumn.  The Aviation Commissioner has refused to consider altering the use of runways at night to spread out jet noise instead of concentrating it over one or two air corridors. FAiR says she has made up her mind that there will be no change at O’Hare no matter how many citizens demand change, no matter what solutions are proposed and no matter how devastating the impact of her decisions on families, children and seniors, and even entire neighbourhoods. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/chicago-ohare-airport-new-runway-flightpaths-creating-huge-opposition-by-those-now-over-flown/

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