Resident Brings Airplane Noise Concerns To Council
The City of Saugatuck may be about 100 miles from O’Hare International Airport, but that does not mean that the city is free from noise pollution from its airplane traffic flying overhead, claimed one local resident at Monday’s city council meeting.
And while airport noise may be an ongoing and persistent problem, the advent of the modernized NextGen system along with its new flight patterns, noise complaints from residents and groups across the country—including those residing hundreds of miles from airports, but underneath airplane routes—have jumped dramatically, as evidenced by numerous reports.
The jet noise disrupts sleep, focus, conversation and enjoyment of the outdoors, complainants say.
But does the problem really exist in the Saugatuck area?
“If you live underneath the air traffic (in the Saugatuck area), you can hear it every four to five minutes—its a constant rumble,” John Kane, who resides at 630 Pleasant St., told the council during Monday’s meeting.
“It’s noisy, it’s going to persist and it’s going to get worse,” he added.
Kane says the air traffic is directly over Saugatuck, heading towards O’Hare.
One solution among others could be to ask the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) to shift traffic routes so that airplanes’ routes traverse unpopulated areas, says Kane.
He encourages residents and officials to appeal to U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, (R-St. Joseph), for support.
He estimates there are about 100 to 150 flights per day that fly over Saugatuck.
Air traffic is overhead with a pathway width that expands from Douglas on the south to Saugatuck Township on the north side, he said.
Kane is part of Fair Allocation in Runways Coalition (FARC), a Chicago-based group highly concerned about O’hares plan to add a sixth runway in 2020.
FARC claims the increase in the air traffic (the current 850,000 in and out flights per year at O’Hare is projected to increase to 1.5 million by the year 2025) and the new takeoff and landing patterns will only exacerbate noise pollution for residents, particularly those under the air traffic path.
NextGen is Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) $29 million initiative to modernize the air traffic control system, due for implementation across the United States in stages between 2012 and 2025.
It is meant to replace the country’s World War-II-era ground radar-based system with satellite-based GPS technology.
The FAA touts NextGen as a way to shorten routes, save time and fuel, reduce carbon emissions.
However, groups and residents—including the website, nextgennoise.org— argue that NextGen is “neither clean nor environmentally friendly.”