* 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.”
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.