Following years of advocacy from the communities surrounding area airports, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has signed an agreement with Environmental Science Associates to conduct a Part 150 airport noise study of the city’s two airports.
The estimated $8 million study, expected to run from October 2014 to August 2017, will analyze land-use compatibility issues, asses the viability of potential noise mitigation solutions and produce noise exposure maps of JFK and LaGuardia airports. Studies are also planned for Newark and Terboro airports.
“Working in concert with residents, elected officials, industry partners and FAA representatives, the agency’s consultant will perform the intensive, complex studies necessary at these four airports to evaluate noise levels and propose and analyze potential efforts to alleviate the problem,” said Thomas Bosco, the Port Authority’s aviation director.
Janet McEneaney, president of Queens Quiet Skies (QQS), said while she is happy to see the hard work of advocacy groups calling for more noise mitigation for residents affected by the airports is beginning to net results, the group is still pressuring the Port Authority to hire a community representative for the process.
“Hiring a noise expert to work with the first consultant would produce a more comprehensive study,” McEneaney said.
The group has also been calling for the day-night average sound level (DNL) reduction from 65 to 55 dB, as well as for a more comprehensive roundtable, which the governor called for last year.
Currently, the Port Authority is pushing for separate roundtables for JFK and LaGuardia, while McEneaney and other members of QQS would like to see on comprehensive group.
“All of these parts work together,” she explained. “It’s all part of a package, and you can’t have one without the other.”
QQS member Susan Carroll said she is “cautiously optimistic” about the news that the Part 150 study is moving forward, but hopes to see some results before the three-year timeline is up.
“I hope there are intermediate steps and we don’t have to wait three years,” Carroll said. “When you have low landings and planes flying by for hours on end, that’s just way too much for anyone to have to endure.”
Carroll said planes often fly by her Flushing home every 30 seconds to a minute for the last two years.
She said that a personal noise monitor, while not a professional tool, has often measured noise levels anywhere from the 70 to 90 decibels.
“I applaud the Port Authority, but I’m afraid it’s going to just find what we already know,” she added.