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Port Authority to discuss JFK runway extension at meet

A southeast Queens environmental group has scheduled a meeting to discuss a plan to extend one of JFK’s runways closer to Idlewild Park.
TimesLedger Newspapers

A southeast Queens environmental group with a backyard view of John F. Kennedy International Airport has successfully lobbied Port Authority officials to hear the public’s comments on a plan to extend one of the airport’s runways closer toward protected wetlands and residential neighborhoods.

The authority is required by the Federal Aviation Administration to provide adequate safety areas on either end of JFK’s 4L/22R runway as buffer zones in the event a plane overshoots or undershoots its takeoff/landing area.

Since the southern end of the runway sticks out into Jamaica Bay and abuts the Gateway National Recreation Area, the plan calls for making improvements at the northern end, which is primarily used for departing planes taking off over Rosedale and Idlewild Park, where the Eastern Queens Alliance has its park preserve headquarters.

Alliance Chairwoman Barbara Brown started raising the red flag after the public comment period for the runway rehabilitation’s draft environmental assessment closed in June. The Port Authority had published a notice announcing the opening of the comment period in Newsday, although Brown said she believed it was inadequate. She called on the Port Authority to halt all work and reopen the comment period.

A PA spokesman said the authority would accept comments and discuss the final environmental assessment report at a public meeting Oct. 4 at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, at 224-10 147th Ave. in Springfield Gardens, at 7:30 p.m.

Brown said her main concern was that moving the runway would mean planes would fly lower over residential neighborhoods.

“Don’t wait until after everything happens and then say, ‘Why are these planes flying so low over my house?’” she said at last month’s Community Board 13 meeting, when board members approved plans for a new environmental center to be built in Idlewild Park, directly under the runway’s flight path.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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