BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
The Port Authority’s airplane noise studies have hit the runway.
Last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed the Port Authority to conduct noise studies and establish a community roundtable to address airplane noise over residential neighborhoods. The Port Authority held its second roundtable last Wednesday alongside the Federal Aviation Administration.
The bulk of the meeting featured presentations on the logistics of the noise study, as well as an FAA announcement on airspace redesign and the construction of a new air traffic facility.
The priorities of the airspace redesign and new facility construction are efficiency and safety, not noise reduction, but FAA director of airspace service Dennis Roberts did speak to collaboration with anti-noise groups.
“They can present to us as a group with issues that are important to them. And how we handle all that, if I don’t have the feedback, I don’t really know. I commit to you that… we are committed to working with the community,” he said.
The group also discussed the structure of future roundtables, which will offer accountability to residents and allow for community input in the process. Queens Quiet Skies members argued for a single roundtable representing JFK, LGA and Newark simultaneously.
The Eastern Queens Alliance (EQA), in contrast, wants different roundtables representing each airport, with a separate coordinating committee.
EBA chair Barbara Brown noted that JFK is larger than LGA, and receives more traffic and heavier planes.
“Those are conversations that have to be dealt with, and our fear is that they’re not going to be dealt with in this kind of conglomeration of airports,” Brown said.
For Queens Quiet Skies president Janet Mceneaney, the roundtable represented a promising start to what will be a long process.
“It went very well,” she said. “I was very happy that we were able to have a give and take with the FAA over their plans, and I think that I see us moving forward together.”
Resident Clarence Beninati said he was not so optimistic. Beninati lives in Bayside, what he called “ground zero” of airplane noise.
“Regarding noise – that was to me a sham,” Beninati said, adding that he would have preferred to hear the Port Authority address residents’ complaints outright, rather than presenting the structure and requirements of the study, and then accepting questions.
The Port Authority will hold its first aviation noise roundtable for Newark Liberty airport on Monday evening.
Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JNStrawbridge.