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.