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While they said constituent complaints were not doing the trick to silence the booming planes zipping over their homes, Bayside elected officials took to the streets Friday to make some noise of their own.
With noisy planes flying overhead, concerned residents and community leaders called on the Federal Aviation Administration to reconsider a departure route causing airline noise passing over the area.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) joined with state Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) and Community Board 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece to protest a sudden increase in air traffic coming from nearby LaGuardia Airport affecting neighborhoods in Bayside, Bay Terrace and Flushing.
“My office has been inundated with phone calls from homeowners who are irate at this abrupt increase in air traffic over their homes, which is causing an intolerable amount of noise pollution,” Avella said. “Residents are unable to open their windows and enjoy these summer months.”
The Federal Aviation Administration said the agency is evaluating the departure path, known as the Flushing, for planes taking off from LaGuardia and turning toward the northeast part of the borough.
“The FAA is evaluating a NextGen procedure for flights departing from Runway 13 at LaGuardia Airport. The procedure follows an existing departure path over Queens,” the FAA said in a statement. “The FAA evaluation will identify the potential benefits and impacts of the NextGen procedure. It also will indicate if additional environmental analysis is necessary before the agency decides whether to permanently implement the procedure.”
According to an administrator at the FAA, the departure procedure was being tested before a public comment period opens to consider its permanent approval.
Avella and Braunstein said their offices reached out to the FAA, which notified them about a six-month departure procedure being tested out of LaGuardia. The elected officials said they did not receive definitive time frames as to when the trials would conclude after hearing constituent complaints as early as June.
The FAA sent a letter to Avella in June outlining the trial run, explaining that the departure procedure had airplane traffic turning left to the north off Runway 13 at LaGuardia — a pattern that would not exceed six months. The start date for the trial, however, was not specified.
“It is outrageous that our community was not notified prior to the start of the FAA’s flight departure testing and that we have still not been informed of its end date,” Braunstein said. “It is clear to me, Sen. Avella and my constituents that this testing has been a failure and we call on the FAA to conclude it as soon as possible.”
Iannece said he had been a longtime opponent of any airport expansion plans resulting in more noise and air pollution for northeast Queens residents.
“This is not just in Bayside,” Iannece said. “We are not a landing strip here. We were here first. We live here.”
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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