Airplane Noise:South End Forum to Meet With Congressman Capuano

By Seth Daniel

Airplane noise early in the morning in the South End has been generating a lot of talk recently, and the South End Forum has confirmed a meeting on the subject with Congressman Michael Capuano on Jan. 26.

“We have confirmed Thursday, January 26, at 6 p.m. for a meeting with Congressman Michael Capuano specifically to discuss our concerns and possible resolution to persistent early morning – starting at 5 a.m. – overflights across the South End neighborhood from Runway 27,” wrote Fox in an announcement this week.

Capuano said this week he agrees that airplane noise shouldn’t be targeted only over a few neighborhoods.

“Airplane noise is a persistent and widespread problem in the Greater Boston area,” said Capuano in a statement to the Sun. “I have talked with constituents throughout my district about this, and participated in many meetings exploring ways to ease the burden. While we recognize that the airport isn’t going anywhere, its impact should not disproportionally burden some neighborhoods over others.”

Of the many runways at Logan Airport, Runway 27 is the one that most impacts the South End – frequently being the runway of choice for early morning and mid-morning departures out of Logan for destinations to the south and west.

Runway 27 has a long history, but residents of the South End have indicated repeatedly over the last year or so that something definitely changed in the flight pattern or flight mapping within the last two years – especially in the early morning hours. Flights from the runway tend to come over downtown and turn at Washington Street or even as far as Columbus Avenue as they travel to Franklin Park and make their turn over Dorchester to go west or south.

Fox has long talked about the issue, but others joined in over the summer as the jet noise was described as being constant most of the day – but particularly in the morning hours.

Bob Minnocchi of the Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association (WSANA) made a presentation at the outset of the November South End Forum about the airplane noise in order to see if it were a problem for others. An agreement was made to try to schedule a meeting with Capuano and to go back to the various Associations to see if they experienced the same problems.

“It’s horrible, really horrible,” said Minnocchi.

At the Nov. 21 WSANA meeting, President George Stergios and the rest of WSANA found that it is either a major problem for residents, or goes completely unnoticed by residents. Some reported not even noticing any noise in their homes, while others said it was a constant disruption about every 45 seconds.

“One thing I learned was that in the past they would make their paths by eye and it was very differentiated,” said Stergios. “Because of GPS systems, if you’re on the flight path, they hit you every time rather than every few times. That’s why I think a few years ago it was just a little bothersome. Now, it has become extremely bothersome because its over and over and over.”

Stergios also pointed out to WSANA that complaints seemed to get action.

He said that Milton has received quite a lot of publicity and action regarding their airplane noise problems, and that’s likely because they logged around 19,000 complaints to the MassPort Noise Complaint Line in 2015. Meanwhile, the South End only logged 230 complaints.

“You can see why something is getting done for Milton,” he said. “If we’re going to get things changed, we probably need to do some grass-roots complaining.”

In December, the Chester Square Area Neighborhood Association (CSANA) also discussed the topic, and like WSANA, some residents never heard the noise and others constantly hear it.

Those who do hear it said MassPort needs to correct the situation, and residents shouldn’t have to complain daily in order to get relief at such an early hour.

A consistent thread across the neighborhood is the disruption by flights starting at the 5 a.m. hour.

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told the Sun they are looking into the matter of Runway 27 and the South End, but didn’t have any information immediately.

A spokesperson from MassPort indicated the same thing.

Fox indicated the meeting on Jan. 26 would be tightly focused around airplane noise from Runway 27, and possible solutions that could be found.

“Rather than hold a general public meeting where we would likely face a range of topics, we have agreed to focus this meeting on our Runway 27 concerns and invite any interested representatives from neighborhood associations, South End businesses, South End service providers, institutions, and abutting neighborhood associations and any others that have been adversely impacted or can contribute to a focused conversation about this now persistent Logan Airport takeoff pattern,” he wrote.

A venue for the meeting has not yet been secured, but details on that will be coming in the next few weeks.

2 comments for “Airplane Noise:South End Forum to Meet With Congressman Capuano

  1. Kyle Szary
    January 14, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Air traffic controllers in the tower (not in Merrimack — not Manchester) choose arrival and departure runways solely based on atmospheric conditions…prevailing wind. If you don’t believe me, schedule a visit to the tower. You pay for that facility; I encourage you to visit.

    This is an honest question: there has been a lot of complaining from this group, with very little suggestion for reasonable change.

    So is the position of this group of constituents that the controllers should defy what is in the safest interest of airplanes departing Boston Logan International Airport and choose a runway that is not aligned with the wind, or force airplanes to make dangerous turns at low altitudes and slow speeds simply to avoid flying over our neighborhood?

    Or are we advocating that Logan should reduce the number of departures when Runway 27 is required, to the economic and financial detriment of the businesses and communities that depend on the service of the airport?

    I would encourage everyone to think about how long the airport has been where it is, and how long Runway 27 departures have been there specifically. For many of you, most of you, this predates your arrival into the South End by years or decades.

    I would also encourage each of you to read the final report of the Boston Logan Area Noise Study, BLANS, which clearly defines the actual noise impact of airplanes taking off and landing around our city, which many times is less than a city bus. This report was a function of a court order many years ago and cost millions of taxpayer dollars to produce.

    Lastly, I would encourage many of you to think about the financial impact of aviation in and around New England and the Northeast, and how that is impacted by having an airport that is so conveniently located to such a dense residential population. There is a reason why we talk about things such as the Olympics coming to our city. Whether you agree with that specific issue or not, the proximity of the airport and the number of airplanes it can manage are key factors.

    Kyle T. Szary
    South End resident directly under Runway 27

  2. Comment
    January 15, 2017 at 3:14 am

    This is a repost as it was initially posted on the wrong page. Several months ago there was a meeting at Milton High School on this
    very issue, 3 congresspersons were there, the FAA was there, Massport
    was there, the press was there. We left thinking there were going to be
    improvements but there have not been any improvements. The following
    needs to be done 1) the airlines should be required to provide
    soundproofing to all homes whose quiet enjoyment is interfered with by
    the airlines, airlines make billions or trillions of dollars, the
    airline officers have salaries of 12 million dollars, they should be
    required to spend some of their profits on soundproofing 2) the GPS
    system must go, the flights should be spread about so all homes are
    equally affected 3)There should be restrictions on when airplanes are
    allowed to fly over residential areas 4)There should be restrictions on
    how often airlines can fly over any particular area. Massport and the
    FAA are only concerned with safety and efficiency of the airlines, there
    should be an agency concerned with quality of life of the people on the
    ground, prevent nuisance by the airlines, and prevent noise pollution
    and air pollution of those on the ground.

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