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Today’s number: 76 percent

Friday, Jul 31, 2015

* Flight noise has become a significant media/political issue in Chicago, so we’re seeing legislation

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Thursday signed legislation that will increase the number of runways allowed at O’Hare International Airport to 10 from eight, an effort designed to expand flight paths and reduce jet noise affecting some Chicago neighborhoods and western suburbs since 2013.

The Chicago Department of Aviation previously had cited the eight-runway limit as the reason for the planned Aug. 20 closure of one of four diagonal runways that runs northwest to southeast. A second closure of a diagonal runway with the same alignment was planned for November 2019.

It’s unclear whether the change will result in Chicago officials calling off the August closure and working with the Federal Aviation Administration to disperse the more than 2,400 daily flights at O’Hare across a wider number of runways pointing in a variety of directions. […]

Colleen Mulcrone, a member of Fair Allocation in Runways, said she hoped it would provide “the breathing room everyone has asked for to give the continued use of the diagonal runways full and thorough consideration.”

* More

State Sen. John Mulroe sponsored the legislation. He said it will allow the four existing diagonal runways to be preserved and, he hopes, used. That would disperse airport traffic over a larger area.

The legislation also would give the owners of more homes around the airport access a fund to pay for noise mitigation.

* And it’s not just O’Hare, either. Flight patterns have changed for Midway, and that’s stirring up some ire on the South Side

Midway noise complaints from April through June totaled 4,844, more than double the number of complaints filed in the first three months of the year, according to a report by the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Complaints from South and Southwest side residents and suburbanites have ballooned since the Federal Aviation Administration implemented a change in flight paths in February 2014 that directs planes from over Lake Michigan to a track above the Stevenson Expressway and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to land on Midway’s runway 22 Left, which runs northeast to southwest.

City officials said the big jump should be viewed from the perspective that 76 percent of the complaints about Midway jets in the second quarter came from only six addresses.

They say a similar pattern of “serial complainants'’ occurs around O’Hare International Airport, which has received 1.3 million noise complaints in the first five months of 2015. Complaints started to skyrocket after air-traffic patterns were changed at O’Hare in late 2013 when a new parallel runway came on line.

However, anti-noise activists say thousands of people who suffer from chronic jet noise over their homes simply don’t complain because they are resigned that nothing would change. [Emphasis added.]

It’s very possible that people don’t officially complain even though they are suffering. But 76 percent of the complaints came from just six addresses? Bizarre. That’s 614 per address, or about 7 calls per day per address during the second quarter.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


33 Comments
  1. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:17 am:

    There’s one in every crowd…or, in this case, six.


  2. - Stones - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:22 am:

    The majority of these residents bought homes in the area after the airports were built. If noise was a concern then why didn’t they purchase in other areas?


  3. - A Jack - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:23 am:

    The airport was already there when they moved into the area. If you don’t like jets, don’t move next to an airport. If you don’t like trains, don’t live near the tracks.


  4. - Demoralized - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:23 am:

    I feel for the people who have to deal with the noise. I really do. I can’t stand it when some goof comes by my house blaring the bass on his car radio. But, you live next to an airport. I’m not quite sure what you expected. Maybe these people live farther away from the airport than I know and they didn’t expect it. I don’t know. Either way I’m not sure what complaining will do. They aren’t going to shut down the airport.


  5. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:24 am:

    Yeah. Jet noise is no bueno. When I moved to the burbs, a plane flew right over the top of us every twenty minutes. My advice… Move downstate. The only planes you see are cropdusters….


  6. - phocion - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:25 am:

    Coming To The Nuisance - definition: Individuals who have knowledge of a foreseeable nuisance in an area, but still choose to build, operate a business, or reside in that area may not be entitled to relief from the nuisance.


  7. - Streator Curmudgeon - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:28 am:

    As a “Downstater,” I was listening to crop dusters flying over yesterday. Sometimes when they’re making their passes, they’re barely above the treetops. A bit distracting. But it’s only for a few weeks in the summer, not 24/7/365. That’s part of the price we pay for having food to eat.

    And we also don’t have to cut our air into chunks before we breathe it down here.


  8. - Not Alan Keyes - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:28 am:

    Ya man move away from the airport. That’s exactly what Ohare needs, more rules


  9. - Downstate - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:30 am:

    Ducky,
    It’s crop dusters and air ambulances.
    I’m amazed at the number of air ambulance flights that go over everyday.


  10. - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:32 am:

    I wonder if those six addresses include residents that are new to the area. I’ve lived around Midway my whole life, and barely notice the planes.


  11. - Jimmy CrackCorn - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:32 am:

    While I’m sure jet noise has been worse for some, I know my Aunt hasn’t had this little jet noise in 20 years since buying her house near O’Hare. Winners and losers, difference here is that the losers are Park Ridgers with $, time, and lawyers.

    The airport is the economic engine of the entire region and one of our biggest assets going forward. Get over it people.


  12. - State Engineer - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:35 am:

    Six sounds like a coordinated effort. I’m not saying it isn’t noisy but Six homes making that many calls seems a little too easy. I worked permits for a while we would get 50 comments on a project all of which where carbon copies of each other with the senders addresses changed. This sounds like that sort of thing.


  13. - Roolo Tamasi - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:38 am:

    Bruce need those two extra runways for his gulfstream and for his anti-union friends to be able to fly in without ever having to wait in a holding pattern.


  14. - A guy - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:40 am:

    As unpleasant as it can be, you really do get used to the ambient noise of the airport. I live in northern DuPage and it just seems like it’s always there every 30 seconds or so. Far worse for the folks in Bensenville and Franklin Park east of me. During September 11 when all air travel stopped, the quiet was no noticeable as to be deafening. When air traffic started again, it was amazing how disruptive it was…until we yet again got used to it.

    The folks around the airport mostly know that’s part of the gig. Every house that didn’t have Central Air was provided with it, in addition to other noise abatement improvements, i.e. windows, etc.

    The new runway put more traffic over Edison Park on the NW side and 9/11 changed the approach patterns coming in. For many of us, the thought was “let’s see how they like it”. Over time you realize that alternating is the fairest and most equitable way to deal with the downside of the noise. The airport provides a ton of economic opportunity as well.

    At some point you just realize, this is the way it is.


  15. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:43 am:

    @Downstate

    I don’t get a whole lot of air ambulances. But you probably live closer to a hospital. The nearest hospital to me is about 25 miles.


  16. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:44 am:

    I can’t give an argument for the Midway folks, and I understand comments about people living next to airports needing to understand where they bought.

    That said, I live 1.5 miles from the lake and 11 miles from O’Hare on the north side of the city. Prior to the runway opening in 2013, we had near zero air traffic over our neighborhood. Since that time, during the day, we have a plane overhead about every couple of minutes between 6 AM and 10 PM. Some, especially the older regional jets as well as the jumbos (747s are on our flight path apparently) come in low and very loud.

    I live 11 miles from O’Hare, my home wasn’t in a flight path when it was purchased, and I have to say that the change has really impacted the quality of life. I can’t say it’s affected my property value - I live in a nice neighborhood with an exceptional school - but I can say it’s a huge nuisance.


  17. - Century Club - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:48 am:

    Not defending the serial complainers, but on the flip side, over 1,000 complaints in those 3 months came from other addresses.


  18. - Wordslinger - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:51 am:

    I’m having a hard time following the Trib story. They were going to close four of eight runways at O’Hare? How could that be possible?


  19. - Not it - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:51 am:

    I bought a home next to a railroad crossing, where can I complain that there are too many trains?

    I bought a home next to Wrigley Field, where can I complain about the noise and traffic during Cubs games?

    I bought an hugely expensive home just off Millenium Park, which means I’m more important than anyone else, where can I complain about all the tourists everywhere?

    I bought a home next to a fire station, where can I complain about too many sirens?

    I bought a home next to Navy Pier, where can I complain about too much traffic congestion?


  20. - Streator Curmudgeon - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:51 am:

    This story reminds me of Elwood’s apartment near the EL tracks, in the Blues Brothers movie. I agree with the others. The airport has been there a LONG time. If you don’t like noise, you shouldn’t have bought a house there.


  21. - Wordslinger - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:52 am:

    never mind, I misread.


  22. - Skeptic - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:54 am:

    Jake: “How often do the trains run?”
    Elwood: “So often you’ll never notice it.”


  23. - Politix - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:54 am:

    I’m pretty impressed by the creative solutions they’ve identified to deal with the noise. Took awhile. Hope it works.


  24. - Not Alan Keyes - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 9:55 am:

    Wait. My realtor didn’t tell me the was an Ohare here!!!!


  25. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 10:02 am:

    ==They say a similar pattern of “serial complainants’’ occurs around O’Hare==

    Interesting that they release the numbers for those who serially complain around Midway, but not for those who allegedly do it around O’Hare, despite the allegation that the patterns are similar.


  26. - Bogey Golfer - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 10:04 am:

    @Not it -
    I bought a home next to the sewage treatment plant. Can I complain about the burrito restaurant?


  27. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 10:08 am:

    Roolo, I hope your post was a joke.


  28. - liberal muse - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 10:10 am:

    Like Joe B said, the flight patterns did not affect a large majority of those living in the Northwest suburbs prior to 2013. In addition to the constant noise they now endure, homes are literally shaking from the reverberations. Doors are becoming misaligned. Windows have broken. Particulates are covering people’s back yard furniture, making them wonder if it is safe for their children to play outside. People with asthma and other breathing conditions are finding those conditions significantly worsened. It is far more than just noise. And in most cases, was not an issue when they purchased their homes.


  29. - walker - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 10:15 am:

    For 30 years traffic went over my house from the NW/SE runways. I deliberately bought not too far from O’Hare because my business depended on air travel. The new runways are more E/W, so different houses are more impacted. It makes sense to spread it around. I won’t mind going back to previous noise levels.


  30. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 10:21 am:

    Jake: “How often do the trains run?”
    Elwood: “So often you’ll never notice it.”

    http://i.imgur.com/vbr8Psz.gif

    – MrJM


  31. - Huh? What? - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 11:03 am:

    Gotta get me some of that free FAA noise abatement money….if there isn’t a fund maybe they will make one.


  32. - A guy - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 11:23 am:

    Huh, there is. It’s large. It grows with every airline ticket sold.


  33. - Amalia - Friday, Jul 31, 15 @ 12:07 pm:

    issues with O’Hare have been in play with groups complaining and solutions offered since the late 60s. and into the 80s. it’s an airport, so complicated, and like many things, in need of an update. updates affect areas in different ways. the topic makes me want to get on a plane and head off somewhere!


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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