Chicago O’Hare airport new runway & flightpaths creating huge opposition by those now over-flown
Date added: May 26, 2014
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. . Tweet
FAiR’s Policy Statement
The O’Hare Modernization Project (OMP) includes Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) changes to landing and take-off patterns that took effect on October 17, 2013.
The OMP drastically increases air traffic over both northwest (NW) Chicago and the near NW suburbs by shifting current airplane traffic, now arriving from many directions, into landing and take offs from only two directions, East and West, directly over the NW side of Chicago and near NW suburbs.
In addition, the project intends to shift 85% of all nighttime landings to routes directly over the NW side.
This massive shift in airplane traffic puts the burden of noise, fuel, air and visual pollution almost solely on the residents and businesses of the Northwest side of Chicago and the near NW suburbs. Nearly all these communities predate O’Hare’s conversion to a commercial airport in the ’50s and this shift is neither necessary nor desirable. This concentrated increase in airplane traffic will negatively impact the health and quality of life for residents and businesses on the NW side of Chicago and the NW suburbs.
Fair Allocation in Runways (FAiR) Coalition proposes the following solutions:
Immediately halt the October 2013 takeoff and landing plan. Devise, instead, a neighborhood-based plan, working with community groups, businesses, the ONCC and the FAA, for fair allocation of air traffic between existing and new runways and day and night air traffic.
Support the City of Park Ridge’s request that a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) be conducted to verify what the actual, 2013 environmental impacts will be from this new plan. Significant changes have occurred since the original EIS was done in 2005 and need to be addressed.
Continue to utilize all existing and new runways.
Expand noise monitoring and abatement programs to ensure specific communities are not unduly burdened.
Make “Fly Quiet” the official mandatory policy for O’Hare.
O’Hare anti-noise group wants city aviation boss to resign
May 19, 2014
By Jon Hilkevitch | Tribune reporter
A group representing city and suburban home-owners seeking relief from increasing airplane noise called today for Chicago Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino to resign or for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to fire her.
Leaders of the Fair Allocation in Runways Coalition said they issued the demand because of “mounting frustration over the lack of response from Mayor Emanuel” to meet with them to discuss possible remedies concerning “the ceaseless airplane noise” since air-traffic patterns were changed last fall at O’Hare International Airport.
The Tribune requested a response from Andolino and the mayor.
Andolino has rejected requests from the coalition and U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Chicago, to consider expanding the airport’s voluntary “fly quiet” overnight program for pilots, so it would start at 9 p.m. nightly instead of 10 p.m. She also turned down the idea of O’Hare air-traffic controllers more widely altering the use of runways at night to spread out jet noise instead of concentrating it over one or two air corridors.
The Fair coalition said it supports O’Hare runway expansion because of its economic importance to the region, but that the impact on the quality of life in Chicago neighborhoods and northwest suburbs cannot be ignored by City Hall.
“The response from the Chicago Department of Aviation has been worse than silence.
Commissioner Andolino has already 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 neighborhoods,” Jac Charlier, Fair co-founder, said in a statement.
“Time and time again whether in regards to making fly quiet mandatory, considering flight path changes or even meeting with Fair, Commissioner Andolino’s motto clearly is ‘Nno change, no way, no how.’ You cannot stay in a leadership position in a democracy with that kind of attitude. It’s past time for her to go.”
City Council hearings on the jet noise issue that were requested in January by Aldermen Margaret Laurino, 39th, and Mary O’Connor, 41st, haven’t been scheduled.
Residents arguing Chicago O’Hare noise has hurt property value win assessment appeal on local property tax
March 24, 2015
New flight paths begun in autumn 2013 to reduce airport delays and increase capacity, have generated record numbers of complaints about aircraft noise around O’Hare. Now several home owners have managed to get the amount they pay in local property taxes cut, because the value of their homes has been reduced – because of the flight path overhead. They have got reductions of around 8 – 12% depending on their location. The cuts in their tax bills are small, in relation to the amount lost in the fall of their property’s value. But if the same cuts in tax were awarded to thousands of others, a dent would be felt in the amount of money being raised by the county authorities. A local politician, and academic, wondered whether this would require the taxes of others – not under flight paths – to rise, in order to make up the shortfall. The homeowners who sought the tax reductions are members of the “Fair Allocation in Runways” coalition, which advocates a more equitable distribution of runway use, to share out the noise burden. FAIR did not organize the property tax appeal effort, but they hope it will finally persuade local Mayor Rahm Emanuel to meet the group to discuss the problems. Studies are being done on past data of O’Hare’s noise contour maps, house prices, (sale price and listed price) and time on the market before sale, in noise impacted versus non-impacted areas.
The number of complaints about O’Hare International Airport made to a city-operated noise hot line and website reached a new high in March, exceeding 11,000, and totaled almost 25,000 in the first three months of 2014. (Alex Garcia, Chicago Tribune)
Pressure is growing on the city of Chicago to jettison its resistance to finding ways to reduce noise levels in residential areas caused by planes serving O’Hare International Airport.
Two Chicago aldermen who have been put in a virtual holding pattern since January by City Hall over their demand for City Council hearings on increased O’Hare noise aren’t letting up.
Aldermen Mary O’Connor, 41st, and Margaret Laurino, 39th, last week received council approval to place an advisory referendum proposal on the November ballot. It will ask voters whether the federal government should expand the footprint of homes eligible for taxpayer-funded soundproofing.
And last week, the village of Bensenville, a once-ardent foe of O’Hare expansion that under current leadership has supported new runways, said that cutting airport noise has again become “a top priority.”
The about-face has taken place in the wake of outrage in the village over new flight patterns inaugurated last fall with the opening of another airstrip. Under the changes, most planes now take off toward the west, and the majority of arrivals approach O’Hare from the east. Bensenville is directly west of the new runway.
“My idea is just to welcome some of these big-shot (politicians) to my property. I am going to make a coffee for you. We will sit down for a couple of hours under the planes and talk about it because what is happening now is empty talking,” Bensenville resident Chester Gorniak, 64, said after a meeting Friday of the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission.
The number of complaints made to a city-operated noise hot line and website reached a new high in March, exceeding 11,000, and totaled almost 25,000 in the first three months of 2014.
During the noise commission meeting, Bensenville Trustee JoEllen Ridder called for ongoing discussions with Chicago and federal aviation officials to address the increasing number of noise complaints from village residents.
“Our goal is to find solutions and implement those solutions as soon as possible to improve the quality of life for our residents,” Bensenville Village President Frank Soto said.
But the Emanuel administration hasn’t acceded to any demands or even been open to talking, critics said.
Leaders of Fair Allocation in Runways Coalition, which mainly represents Chicago residents who have experienced increased jet noise, said they haven’t received any responses from Mayor Rahm Emanuel to the group’s seven requests for a meeting to discuss increased jet noise and pollution over the Northwest Side of Chicago.
“We are his constituents, and Chicago still is, at least to some degree, a democracy,” said a group leader, Jac Charlier.
FAiR is pushing for the city and the Federal Aviation Administration to spread flights more widely among O’Hare runways to spare neighborhoods that are miles away from the airport — including Sauganash, Norwood Park, Forest Glen, Edgebrook and North Park — from being saturated with the sound of low-flying jetliners.
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, whose district includes O’Hare, said he has talked with Emanuel and Chicago Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino and that their “response has been underwhelming.”
“The Chicago Department of Aviation needs to step up, improve its working relationship and communications with the public, and it must develop a plan to alleviate to the extent possible these noise issues,” Quigley told the Tribune on Friday.
Ald. Michael Zalewski, 23rd, who chairs the City Council’s aviation committee, has repeatedly said that the public hearing in City Council chambers demanded by O’Connor and Laurino will be held but that scheduling conflicts, including setting a date when Quigley is available to attend, slowed the process.
Quigley said the real problem is “they don’t want the embarrassment of a hearing.”
City officials say they have taken other steps to help affected residents.
Chicago has insulated more than 10,000 residences and about 120 schools around O’Hare since 1996, said Karen Pride, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Aviation.
She said the department is “committed to balancing the quality of life for residents in communities surrounding O’Hare with the economic significance of the airport.”
She also said Andolino has met numerous times with Quigley and members of the FAIR Coalition to discuss noise issues.
Andolino has so far flatly rejected calls by residents and elected officials, including Quigley and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, to expand the hours of O’Hare’s voluntary guidelines designed to reduce jet noise at night, called a Fly Quiet Program, or diffuse airplane noise over wider areas by shifting runway-usage patterns more often.
Those are among options available in the air-traffic control playbook, FAA officials said, but it’s solely the city’s decision whether to pursue changes.
“If the city and the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission choose to consider other things, then we certainly want to partner with them and listen … in terms of what would be in the best interests of the community,” Barry Cooper, the FAA administrator for the Great Lakes region, told the Tribune on Friday.
The noise commission was created by Chicago years ago to address jet-noise concerns affecting neighborhoods and schools, but critics say it too often simply defends Chicago’s position that increasing flights at O’Hare is in the best interests of the area’s economy.
Cooper said the public should be aware that “the Fly Quiet Program is a product of the city of Chicago. Our responsibility is moving air traffic efficiently and safely.”
The predicted unraveling of the expansion of O’Hare International Airport
By Dennis Byrne,
May 5, 2014
The northwest suburbs that sold out to Chicago in exchange for the support of Mayor Richard M. Daley’s ill-conceived expansion of O’Hare International Airport are now paying the price on two fronts:
A $3.4 billion new tollway (Elgin-O’Hare expressway) that was supposed to lead a new O’Hare western terminal and spur massive economic development in DuPage County is kaput. As predicted by expansion opponents, it now appears that the western terminal will never be built, drowning the plans for economic development. Drivers using the new tollway to bypass O’Hare will end up paying about $20 cents a mile for the privilege, compared with about 6 cents for all other users. The new road is a major reason that tolls were recently doubled for all tollway users.
Because of the new runways, the noise footprint–again as predicted by expansion opponents–has expanded to communities and even Chicago neighborhoods where it was a small or non-existent problem. The city’s response to the increase complaints is basically, “screw you.”
No airlines have an interest in building the western terminal because of a multitude of reasons, including it would be too far from the main terminal and greatly inconvenience travelers using connecting airlines.
The promised people mover or extension of the CTA line to a western terminal is too expensive and off the drawing boards. Instead, an unappealing and alternative 45-minute bus ride between the western terminal and the main terminals would be provided.
There’s no real western entrance, except by a figurative back door leading nowhere, from the so-called by-pass (extension of the Elgin-O’Hare Expressway), so how would anyone get to the western terminal anyway?
The new runways have generated organized opposition to the growing noise problems and demands even from some Chicago aldermen and congressmen who were silent when the O’Hare expansion was being debated. Now–too late–they want something done.
We also are reminded that the additional planned runways probably never will be built because United and American Airlines, the duopoly that virtually controls the airport, has no interest in seeing them built, and certainly no interest in helping pay for them.
We also learn from an earlier Hilkevitch story that, “O’Hare flight patterns changing to reduce risk of collisions,” (May 2). The Federal Aviation Administration for new approach and take-off flight patterns also applies to other airports, but especially to O’Hare, where aviation experts warned that one of the major problems with the expansion was safety. In that:
The airspace above O’Hare already is crowded, and adding more capacity would not only cause more delays but jeopardize safety.
The additional runways have increased the number of intersections where the chance of collision is heightened by the increased of number of taxing airplanes that must cross active runways being used by airplanes landing or taking off. Aviation experts agree that the most serious chance of aviation disasters actually occur on the ground in such circumstances.
The Suburban O’Hare Commission and John Geils, the commission’s chairman and ex-president of Bensenville who was the leader of the expansion opposition, had warned about every one of these problems–and much more. Geils got steamrolled by Daley’s minions who engineered the ousting of Geils as Bensenville president and the virtual end of the opposition.
Notably, Bensenville is one of the t suburbs to have been hardest hit by the overwhelming noise from one of the new runways. Geils’ Daley-planted successor, President Frank Soto, now has the cojones to act as if he is moving to solve the problem. “Our goal is to find solutions and implement those solutions as soon as possible to improve the quality of life for our residents,” Soto said. Baloney.
Complaints about O’Hare jet noise climbed to a new monthly high of more than 6,300 in January, even while the number of households filing gripes with the city dipped, data released Friday show.
A remarkably large number of the total complaints — about two-thirds — came from a relatively small but extremely vocal pool of residents.
City aviation officials interpreted the findings as well as new noise monitor readings to indicate that while some communities are indeed receiving the brunt of new jet noise from a new runway configuration, noise levels have diminished in other surrounding areas.
City officials said they traced almost 4,000 complaints to only eight addresses in January.
Just five households in Chicago accounted for 1,948 of the 3,405 noise complaints filed by city residents, according to the data released by the Chicago Department of Aviation. It averaged 390 complaints for each of the five households.
One resident in Itasca kept extremely busy making almost all of the noise complaints in the northwest suburb, 1,363 out of 1,369, the records show.
And 419 of the 696 complaints filed in Norridge in January also came from one address, the noise report noted.
One Wood Dale resident was the source of 261 of the 562 complaints filed in the western suburb.
City officials declined to identify the households, citing both privacy issues and their stated policy not to try to tamp down negative feedback surrounding the runway expansion project at O’Hare International Airport.
Yet the officials strongly highlighted the small but prolific army of complainants, in the face of growing calls for more O’Hare noise abatement by some Chicago aldermen, suburban mayors and members of Illinois’ congressional delegation who represent the Chicago region.
“Our extensive outreach campaign during the 12 months leading up to the opening of the runway (on Oct. 17) has raised awareness of the (noise) issue among those affected. Residents are taking advantage of the noise complaint hotline and online submission form,” said Gregg Cunningham, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Aviation.
A record 6,321 complaints were made during the month by residents of Chicago and suburbs, according to the tally of calls to the hotline and filings online.
It was up from 4,646 complaints in December and 4,763 in November, which was the first full month after a new runway opened and flight patterns changed at O’Hare to predominantly eastbound and westbound flows.
Some 462 residents filed complaints in January, down from 642 complainants in December, the data indicate.
The January noise report said that 19 of the 32 noise monitors deployed showed lower readings than in January 2013.
Five locations — in Bensenville, Melrose Park, Mount Prospect, Park Ridge and Wood Dale — showed higher average noise levels, compared to a year ago.