Newark Airport aircraft noise targeted by New York Port Authority in 3-year, $6.6 million study
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is spending $6.6 million on a 3 year study on how to reduce aircraft noise at Newark Liberty International and Teterboro airports. There have been complaints by local residents for years about the level of aircraft noise. The $6.6 million is being paid to an airport noise consulting firm to prepare maps detailing aircraft noise levels for areas of northern New Jersey around the two airports. The study will begin next month, and last through till November 2017. The study is part of an FAA program that provides federal funds for mitigation projects when airport noise exceeds certain levels. The aim is to make noise tolerable, so there can be an increase in flights. The Port Authority and the FAA are developing new facilities to implement a new air traffic control system intended to meet increasing demand for air travel at Newark, LaGuardia and JFK, which already make up the busiest airport system in the country. A similar study began last month for Kennedy and LaGuardia airports in Queens. The president of a local citizens’ group commented: “Will it result in the reduction of noise? Maybe, maybe not. What it will tell us is what people are being subjected to.” It might lead to a more fair dispersal of flights.
Aircraft noise targeted by Port Authority in 3-year, $6.6M study
Residents affected by aircraft noise welcomed news that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had awarded a $6.6 million contract for a 3-year study of the impact of flights in and out of Newark Liberty International and Teterboro Airports.
NEWARK — People living under some of the nation’s busiest air space are hopeful that the skies above may get quieter, now that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is spending $6.6 million to study how to reduce aircraft noise at Newark Liberty International and Teterboro airports.
“It’s a very positive step,” said Jerome Feder, vice president of the New Jersey Coalition Against Aircraft Noise, a non-profit group. “We’re hopeful. We’ve been looking for them to do this for a long time.”
On Wednesday, the Port Authority commissioners awarded a $6.6 million contract to Harris Miller Miller & Hanson, an airport noise consulting firm based in Burlington, Mass., to prepare maps detailing aircraft noise levels for areas of northern New Jersey around the two airports. The study will begin next month, and last through November 2017.
The Newark/Teterboro study is being conducted under a Federal Aviation Administration program, known as Part 150, that provides federal funds for mitigation projects when airport noise exceeds certain levels.
The studies are being done as the Port Authority and the FAA develop new facilities and implement a new air traffic control system intended to meet increasing demand for air travel at Newark, LaGuardia and JFK, which already make up the busiest airport system in the country.
The results of the studies will be used to determine: what areas are affected by aircraft noise and how seriously; what measures can be taken, from new approach routes to sound proofing; and even appropriate zoning, for example where industrial development would be better than residential.
“As we work to deliver 21st Century airports to the region, it’s critical that we serve as good neighbors to those that live close to the airports as well,” Port Authority Vice Chairman Scott Rechler said in a statement.
A similar study began last month for Kennedy and LaGuardia airports in Queens.
“Will it result in the reduction of noise? Maybe, maybe not. What it will tell us is what people are being subjected to,” said Len Schaier, of Port Washington, Long Island, president of Quiet Skies, a Long Island-based group that is part of network of aircraft noise watchdogs in the bi-state region. “I’m encouraged that the studies are starting. I don’t think the studies will stop nose, I think they may redistribute the noise more fairly.”
In the face of projected growth of air travel in the region, Schaier and others are hoping that noise maps being developed by the studies can be combined with the FAA’s new, more precise NextGen air traffic control technology to at least spread out the impact of aircraft noise, if not diminish it overall.
“A highway doesn’t have one lane it has three,” said Ken Kroll, a member of aircraft noise committee of the Forrest Hill Community Association in Newark, which has been battling what it says is significant increase in aircraft noise over the past two years from commercial flights at Newark Liberty and corporate and charter jets at Teterboro.
A shortcoming of the New York and New Jersey studies, according to Kroll and others, is that they will use computer models to assess noise impacts, based on frequency of flights, altitudes, type of aircraft and other factors, not actual noise measurements taken on the ground.
Harris, Miller, Miller & Hanson did not respond to a request for comment.
Fortunately for Forrest Hill, where residents say jets fly so low that their homes shake, a noise monitor was installed in the backyard of one of the association members as a result of the group’s lobbying efforts.
Marylou Bongiorno said her backyard readings are typically well above levels found to pose a risk of cardiovascular disease by the Harvard University School of Public Health, which published a study of the effects of aircraft noise in October 2013.
That risk will remain, Bongiorno said, until something is done about the noise, which may not happen until the study is done in late 2017.
“It’s very frustrating to know that it’s going to be three years before we have some results,” she said.