The Daily Parker

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People living near airports might hear airplanes

The Chicago Tribune reported this morning that, 8 years into the O'Hare Modernization Project, some nearby residents are horrified to learn they might get more noise:

Residents of Edgebrook, Sauganash, Forest Glen, North Park and other Northwest Side Chicago communities are up in arms over the impending increases in noise pollution, which were forecast in Chicago Department of Aviation environmental impact documents in 2005, the same year the Federal Aviation Administration approved the city's O'Hare runway expansion plan.

In addition to the impact on city residents, some suburban neighborhoods that have been spared from low-altitude jet noise are in store for louder environs.

A major shift in airplane noise patterns, known as noise contours, will take place beginning Oct. 17 when the next new runway — 10 Center/28 Center, located south of the passenger terminals — opens as part of the O'Hare Modernization Program. The addition of the runway will trigger a shift to a mostly eastbound and westbound flow of planes approaching and departing O'Hare, accompanied by reduced use of three diagonally aligned crosswind runways, the FAA said.

Uh, yeah. Airplanes will fly over houses 3 km from O'Hare, just as they have for, oh, 70 years. However, airplanes today are much quieter than even 10 years ago, so the noise footprints have gotten a lot smaller since the environmental study came out in 2005.

Still, airport noise complaints baffle me. No one living under the runway 28 departure path at O'Hare suffers more noise pollution now than in 2003, when the O'Hare Modernization Program kicked off. Why are they just complaining now?

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