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A group of activists in northeast Queens have banded together to coordinate efforts against the rising volume of airline noise affecting their area.
As lawmakers continue to press the Federal Aviation Administration to curb the amount of airplane traffic flying over the heads of residents in Little Neck, Bayside, Whitestone and beyond, Community Board 11 member Janet McEneaney helped bring together as many as 40 neighbors to solidify their opposition to the increasing noise.
“Our goal is to raise consciousness in our area about what’s really happening because we have had no notification by the FAA or Port Authority,” McEneaney said.
The group first assembled last month with a makeshift meeting at the Bay Terrace Diner. Since then, they have increased in numbers and hit the streets to distribute fliers and information as the group branches out to collaborate with neighboring counties.
“We have been getting a big response,” McEneaney said. “People are sending us messages and asking what they can do to help.”
According to one FAA spokesman, the agency has been testing out a new satellite navigation system on a departure path that runs over Whitestone and Bayside. Homeowners throughout northeast Queens joined over the summer with elected officials, including state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and state Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside), to ask the FAA for answers on a change in flight patterns that resulted in an increase in noise pollution.
Len Schier, of the Long Island group Quiet Skies, has been advocating against airline expansion, which drew McEneaney and the Bayside group to work with them. Schier has been working with homeowners from both Queens and Brooklyn through recent weeks to organize their calls for more FAA insight.
“We need to build up some steam because the need for flight capacity keeps going up,” Schier said. “The FAA says there is no noise. But people do not wake up in the morning and decide this would be the year they are bothered by planes.”
Since the volume became unbearable for some northeast Queens residents over the summer, both Avella and Braunstein’s offices said they were reaching out to the FAA for more information on the test period, which they said should be finishing up within weeks. No updates have since transpired.
A departure path known as the Tnnis Climb has been used more frequently over a six-month test period from February to August, the FAA said. But McEneaney and her neighbors said they were kept in the dark over any change in flight plans at LaGuardia Airport.
“We would like our senators and other elected officials to think about the impact that this has on our community,” McEneaney said. “If we don’t see any movement, we will explore some other action, including possibly legal action.”
McEneaney has set up an email account, firstname.lastname@example.org, for northeast Queens residents to contact if they are looking to become involved with the movement.
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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