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Editorial: False hopes of FAA noise legislation

Two congressional bills have little chance of changing new airplane flight patterns

A group of 14 House Democrats and one Republican introduced legislation in Congress last week that would require the Federal Aviation Administration to involve local communities as it implements a new flight-navigation system called NextGen.

It is the second of two bills that, while well-intentioned, seem more designed to appease constituents than actually solve the problem with aircraft noise that is plaguing many metropolitan areas around the country, including the Peninsula.

The independent GovTrack.us gives both bills a 2 percent chance of being enacted.

The "FAA Community Accountability Act," a five-page bill that would require greater consultation with local residents before new approach and take-off routes and protocols are established, was introduced by Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix). It would require the appointment of nine regional FAA "community ombudsmen" to serve as advocates for and liaisons to communities affected by FAA flight-routing changes. It would also require more public notice of changes and opportunities for public comment.

Most relevant for our area, it would require the FAA to reconsider flight path changes already made if the ombudsman or an airport notified it that the flight routes were "resulting in a significant adverse impact on the human environment in the vicinity of the airport." The FAA would then be required to make a public report assessing those impacts and describing changes to be made or the justification for not making any changes.

Another bill, introduced in July by New York Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens), does even less. The "Quiet Communities Act of 2015" (H.R. 3384) would re-establish a Noise Abatement Office within the Environmental Protection Agency with a broad mission to promote the development of effective state and local noise control programs, conduct noise research, develop educational materials on the effects of noise and to carry out a study of "airport noise" and the effectiveness of noise-abatement programs at airports around the country. The seven-page bill would appropriate $21 million to establish the new office, which was shut down during the Reagan Administration.

In the remote chance that either of these bills moves forward in a Congress that is getting little done on any front these days, they seek to address the problems not by legislating clear mandates but by establishing additional processes for public input. That is not nearly enough.

As has been quite clear from the work being done by concerned residents on the Peninsula and elsewhere around the nation, getting heard is not the problem. An arrogant federal agency has simply ignored the input and protests, including those from our local members of Congress.

Rep. Anna Eshoo, who is one of 14 co-sponsors of Gallego's bill and recently joined Meng's bill, issued a press release last week that gave both the bills and Eshoo's role more import than they deserve. Under the headline "Eshoo unveils legislative package to reform FAA," her office quoted her as saying "The bills I've introduced require the FAA to plan with communities when implementing NextGen, and restore the EPA's Office of Noise Abatement and Control, which was defunded more than three decades ago."

Although we're happy to see Eshoo co-sponsoring these bills, they hardly constitute a "legislative package" of reforms deserving of being heralded by a press release. We hope her primary efforts are continuing to focus on discussions directly with Administration and FAA officials and in trying to persuade Republican committee chairs to hold oversight hearings on the NextGen program.

There are only two ways residents of the Peninsula and other areas around the country might obtain relief from the excessive noise that has resulted from the FAA's new flight routing system: carefully drafted detailed legislation that has broad bipartisan support (which neither of these bills have) or political pressure from congressional Democrats brought to bear on the White House and the FAA.

Eshoo has already registered the concerns of her constituents in letters and conversations with the FAA. But rather than unlikely-to-succeed legislative efforts, we hope she works with other members of Congress to step up political pressure during the final year of the Obama administration.

Eshoo's constituents have come up with some sensible solutions of increasing the altitude at which planes cross over populated areas before reaching the bay and distributing the arrival flight paths over a larger area so the impact is shared more equally among communities.

The slow, virtually moribund legislative process isn't the answer. Hard ball politics is.

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Comments

10 people like this
Posted by No leadership here
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2015 at 8:56 am

Thank you for analyzing this proposal By Anna Eshoo. II sincerely hope that she does what you are suggesting in this editorial. The bill she has signed onto does not look like it will go anywhere. It seems that city leaders and city attorney need to start the legal process For our rights to a livable quality of life.


3 people like this
Posted by Open question
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2015 at 8:57 am

Editor,

Have you done any research as to whether the political issues relevant to addressing Palo Alto and the mid-Peninsula's situation may have to do with regional politics as well?

The extent to which paths are distributed over a larger area, for obvious reasons, depend on who is willing to share in the distribution. Also, on how much SFO and related stakeholders are willing to unwind the current concentration over the mid-peninsula.

The FAA should have no reason to care how noise is distributed or re-distributed, so the solutions they are able to provide may depend on politics taking place here.


2 people like this
Posted by Open question
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2015 at 9:01 am

For example,

Jackie Speier is not a sponsor of the bills.


11 people like this
Posted by Marc
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2015 at 9:26 am

What real effect do you think any of these efforts will bring?

They are not going to limit flights into SFO or SJC. I don't think anyone will shut down SurfAir. They are not going to make any flight do any hazardous maneuvers, fly higher and descend steeper.

Do you really think they are going to cancel NextGen? Or alter the routes? Or go to a more dispersed set of routes?

So other than holding some public meetings and patting you on the head, what do you really think is going to happen?

/marc


14 people like this
Posted by Flyzone
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 13, 2015 at 9:36 am

Can't you see that Eshoo et al pay only lip service to this issue? Her response is to propose re-establishing a long-disbanded government office (great, more civil servants) and requiring the FAA to listen to the public when implementing a future navigation system (as if the FAA would not otherwise)?

What a laughable pat on the head!

Apparently, others have voice and have prevailed. SF wanting more and more visitors through SFO, major airlines; the smaller airports/authorities and minor airlines such as Surfair; etc., etc. These voices influence the executive branch as much as they and others influence the legislative branch. They are what needs to be overcome for any discretion-based or more permanent legislation-based solution.





12 people like this
Posted by Just passing through
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2015 at 9:36 am

Spot on. This is an excellent editorial on the issue, calling it like it is.


23 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 13, 2015 at 10:24 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Eshoo's constituents have come up with some sensible solutions of increasing the altitude at which planes cross over populated areas before reaching the bay and distributing the arrival flight paths over a larger area so the impact is shared more equally among communities."

Yes we have and here are the two proposals that do just that - the first increases the altitude of arriving flights over most of the populated areas and the second distributes arriving flights more uniformly over all the South bay communities:

The higher altitude proposal:
1 - All SFO inbound traffic from the North and the East must use the RNAV (GPS) X RWY 28R approach and must enter that approach at the ANETE Initial Approach Fix (IAF) for which the minimum crossing altitude is 7000 ft,

Alternatively these aircraft could us the ILS or LOC RWY 28R approach and must enter at ARCHI IAF for which the minimum crossing altitude is 7000 ft,


2 - All SFO inbound traffic from the South and the West must use the RNAV (GPS) X RWY 28L approach and must enter that approach at the Faith IAF which has a minimum crossing altitude of 7000 ft.,


Entry to this approach via MENLO intersection would not be permitted.

Alternatively these aircraft could us the ILS or LOC RWY 28L approach and must enter at the FAITH IAF for which the minimum crossing altitude is 7000 ft,


Entry to this approach via MENLO intersection would not be permitted.


3 - SFO and SJC must be landing in the same direction unless the wind differential between them is greater than 1o knots.

The uniform distribution proposal:
Using the concept of a herring bone pattern and Advanced (or curved) Controlled Descent Approachs (CDA’a) here is a Draft SFO Arrivals Protocol:

1 – Establish two 25 mile plus 284 degree radials form SFO – one as an extension of Runway 28 Right and the second as an extension of Runway 28 Left.

2 – Place intercept points on each of these 284 deg radials at ½ mile intervals starting 10 miles from SFO where the 3 degree glide path interception point would be at 3000 ft and continuing out to the 25 mile point for a total of 32 interception points on both radials.

3 – ATC to randomly assign Curving CDAs to airplanes from the North and East to the 16 interception points on 28 Right radial.

4 - ATC to randomly assign Curving CDAs to airplanes from the South and West to the 16 interception points on 28 Left radial.

5 – Between 2100 (9 PM) and 0600 (6 AM) aircraft would be randomly assigned to interceptions point no closer than 20 miles from SFO.

6 - Future improvements could be made when and if steeper glide paths ( greater than 3 degrees) are approved.

*******************************

What are the specific problems with these DRAFT proposals?

How can they be improved?

Are they simple?

Are they equitable?

Which one is the better proposal?


Like this comment
Posted by Political Observer
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 13, 2015 at 11:01 am

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by van auken
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2015 at 11:04 am

Most consistent noise offender? The Stanford helicopter.


6 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 13, 2015 at 11:14 am

Peter Carpenter is offering two proposals that seem logical and workable to me.

I favor the higher altitude proposal since, the higher the glidepath of the airliner, the less ground noise it should generate PLUS a higher altitude reduces the likelihood more power will be needed at any point on the glidepath.

Ground noise grows louder when a "heavy" applies power.


5 people like this
Posted by Vahe
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 13, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Here is a possible angle on solving this problem via quantification:

1. There are many in the area that monitor their sleep via Fitbit type devices.
2. Ask folks to participate in the crowd sourcing of their sleep data and correlate to the air traffic information.
3. If the flyovers disrupt quality sleep (we don't always wake up) then calculate the impact to productivity and health and share the results with the major political contributors who run tech companies that host all of those events.
4. Intermediate step, blah, blah, blah.
5. Problem solved.


16 people like this
Posted by enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 13, 2015 at 1:02 pm

I live in Palo Alto and the commercial air traffic doesn't bother me at all. The only planes that are loud and annoying are the private planes that fly too low, and those that are going to the small airport in San Carlos. I find it ironic that so many people complaining are newcomers to the area yet they are not worried about the overcrowding and increased traffic caused by their migration here. I'd rather the traffic be overhead than jamming the freeway. Better that these flights land safely than to alter any flight paths in any significant way. If you ignore the noise, eventually it fades into white background buzz. More than half of my years in Palo Alto I lived by the train tracks. I learned to live with the noise. After all, the tracks were there before most of those homes were built and the planes have always flown over Palo Alto, at one time, including the constant circling of the Orion P-3 out of Mountain View. I actually miss that plane. You CAN adapt, if you choose.


3 people like this
Posted by Tom Rindfleisch
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 13, 2015 at 1:28 pm

I agree that Peter Carpenter's proposals seem sensible and workable to minimize ground noise through higher altitude approaches and/or distributing the noise widely over the bay area, emphasizing where possible approaches over less populated areas. Perhaps we need a "task force" to (a) polish the proposals in terms of graphical presentations to educate the public about them more intuitively and secure their buy-in, to (b) convince and get feedback from regional stakeholders that the approach is broadly feasible and equitable, and to (c) vet the proposals more formally before local and federal regulatory groups.

Tom Rindfleisch


17 people like this
Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 13, 2015 at 1:37 pm

The Stanford helicopter? It comes right over my home, and I bless 'em every time.They land with cases on top of the hospital usually, but they come to the local airport to refuel. They are indeed 'ANGELS OF MERCY.' - and when they are not busy, they assist in the Stanford ER. Wonderful people. We know. Be grateful. Maybe this newspaper can do a story on them. It would be good reading.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 13, 2015 at 2:31 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

To provide a geographical frame of reference to the waypoints used in my first, higher altitude entry point, proposal here are maps of the three proposed entry waypoints:

ANETE
Web Link

ARCHI
Web Link

FAITH
Web Link

The biggest shortcoming of this high altitude entry proposal is that it concentrates all SFO inbound traffic through these three waypoints, albeit at 7000 ft, and there are people living in the areas beneath/near these waypoints.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 13, 2015 at 3:45 pm

I don't get why you are pointing out that there are people living under the way points. At this time the airline traffic is concentrated over one of the most heavily populated areas of the peninsula. We can assume that all areas of the bay area have people living under the air traffic. It is planned that way. At least the area designated in the way points has a less populated area overall.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 13, 2015 at 3:53 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"I don't get why you are pointing out that there are people living under the way points."

Simply because people need to realize that a change in airplane patterns WILL affect some people more than others. At least one Palo Alto poster has described the population under these waypoints as consisting of only
artichokes and cows:
Posted by senor blogger
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 9, 2015 at 1:16 pm
Pele,
"Require the planes to use the inland glide path up the valley, just like they had been doing for the last 40 years.
Then the only folks that are disturbed are the artichokes and cows."


3 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 13, 2015 at 5:41 pm

Hi,

Thanks Peter Carpenter. It sounds like you gave this a lot of thought and did your homework on the issue, and then gave us input/insight on the possible plans/solutions. It was a little more detail than my brain could absorb, however. I get the gist of your proposals but runway numbers and some of the acronyms don't mean a thing to me. In order to educate residents who are more sensitive to noise and have a low tolerance for it, an animated video should be made available or a graphical representation done to illustrate how these proposals would really work.

And @enough! I live in SPA also, near the Louis Rd/Ross Rd intersection and I have to agree, I am not particularly bothered by the air traffic noise. I guess I hear it but I've adapted to it and tune it out. We have noises of all kinds around us in our daily lives. You don't hear uproars about those. I too remember the P3's, the sub-chasers, noisy prop jets flying around and the wind tunnel roaring away late at night. I never called a congressman/woman to complain about those. It was just part of life.

Street noise on Louis Rd, traffic on Bayshore Freeway just 1/2-3/4 mile away
from where I live, train noise (I hear freight trains at night, going thru and blowing their horns), leaf blowers,lawn mowers, motorcyles, jackhammers, crows cawing, those screeching parrots that used to inhabit the belfry in the Saint something church in Midtown, people talking loudly and rudely on their cellphones. If you live in an area like ours then you'd better expect noise and get used to it.

When we first moved to PA in 1961 we lived in a duplex on Alma St. And, oh yes, we heard trains just across the street from us. Did we contact our congressmen/women to demand a stop to it? No, of course not, because we weren't stupid or suffering from dementia then. When people were shopping for rentals they knew those on Alma were going to have trains passing by.

Anna's efforts? Well, I think the editorial and some of the posts said it very well. She had to make a good showing to her constituents for their future votes. But signing on to these weak bills...with no chance of passing just puts the spotlight on her and her political views. Nuff said!

Let's spend our taxpayer dollars more wisely and on better things than bringing back a past agency that was shut down decades ago. We don't need more civil servants to study this issue. Let's feed our hungry, provide shelter to those homeless in our communities, and provide education and the right kind of health care to all of our citizens. How about that Anna? How much are you bothered by aircraft noise back in DC? I would be totally shocked if I get an answer from her.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 13, 2015 at 6:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Gale - I appreciate the problem with aviation jargon - sorry.

First, here is a diagram of the SFO airport:

Web Link

Lots of "stuff" but note the two runways numbered 28R and 28L - given the prevailing winds over 95% of all arriving flights land on these two runways. This means that these airplanes must approach SFO from the South.

Second, here is an approach plate which shows the location of both the ARCHI and FAITH waypoints:

Web Link

Again there is lots of "stuff" on this chart but it gives you a rough idea of where the ARCHI and FAITH waypoints are relative to the outline of the Bay.

Please let me know what other information I can provide to help you and others understand what I have proposed.


2 people like this
Posted by joe giraffe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 13, 2015 at 6:46 pm

I stumbled upon this document
Web Link

which seems to be a link in the chain of things that concluded with the adoption of the new flight paths. It seems to give several objectives, e.g. reduce the airlines' fuel cost by(at least) $6.5 million to $15.5 million, enhance safety, etc. I don't understand much of what this document says, but as far as I can tell, it says nothing at all about sound, noise, affect on 'groundlings', environmental impact, etc. But I suppose it is possible that other links in the chain addressed those issues.

This document appears to contain the plans for all the area's routes. Search for 'serfr' to see the one that seems to affect Palo Alto the most. But I don't see anything in it about planes coming from the north U-turning over Palo Alto.


5 people like this
Posted by from sf yearsAgo
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 13, 2015 at 6:51 pm

If anyone wants no to hear any airplane noise move to San Francisco. The city of San francisco is protected by all low altitude flying. that is more to it but essentially that is it. all plains either cross around east bay or peninsula


4 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 13, 2015 at 11:23 pm

This is all about more than NOISE. Reducing the problem to noise and whether it bothers you or not is almost beside the point. It has to do with the federal government exercising bad judgement and lack of accountability to the taxpaying populace by ignoring all of the complaints and law suites across the country concerning this matter. It has to do with the basic security of the people when you fly planes overhead at low altitude in a continuous manner. And it is a health issue - that is a proven fact.

So let's look at Paris France - any opportunity can be taken when poor judgement is repetitive and predictable. We cannot fly planes overhead at a very low altitude over the most populous section of the valley. That is the worst judgement possible. And that is not just occurring here - it is occurring at other locations across the country.

Yes - the airlines are making money. But if that is the bottom line then we are in trouble.


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 14, 2015 at 7:54 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" over the most populous section of the valley."

The continued use of hyperbole to describe Palo Alto as a unique location does not advance the argument for change. There are many more populous and more densely populated areas impacted by airplane traffic than is Palo Alto.

Web Link

Web Link


3 people like this
Posted by Mark
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 14, 2015 at 8:11 am


Eschoo voted for the 2012 FAA legislation that included the "Categorical Exemption" from environmental reviews that enabled the new routes. The Obama administration implemented them. I totally agree that Eschoo needs to stop waiving never to happen legislative pixie dust, and get serious about pressuring the administration to reverse there destructive and unnecessary route changes that are at much lower altitudes and go through our back yards. The FAA needs to return to the previous noise abatement routes.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 14, 2015 at 8:23 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" The FAA needs to return to the previous noise abatement routes."

There never have been "noise abatement routes" in the Bay Area. There were routings that caused less ground level noise in Palo Alto but they also caused more ground level noise elsewhere.

NextGen is currently being used to improve aircraft and ATC efficiency.

The critical issue is pressuring the FAA to include ground level noise as a NextGen performance parameter.


2 people like this
Posted by Sandy Murdock
a resident of another community
on Nov 14, 2015 at 8:31 am

The issue of designing airspace is complex and to get to a win/win solution, if possible, the communities need more help-- here are some thoughts from someone who knows ATC. its jargon, realistic options and tactics to deal with the FAA. Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 14, 2015 at 8:33 am

Let's assume that Atherton, Menlo Park, Portola Valley and Woodside are not considered highly populated areas of the peninsula. And San Jose is in a different congressional district - they have to take that on themselves. So if we stick to the congressional district then the complainers from Santa Cruz coming into the valley and onward through the peninsula are under the flight path.
Enough said on that topic.

The issue we are now coming upon is that posters do not feel that Ms. Eshoo has any teeth to take this on. So if she is perceived as just following the party line so she can occupy a seat at the table then we have a different problem. It is up to Ms. Eshoo to prove she can take on big issues which may be contrary to her big money supporters who conveniently live in the less populated areas of the congressional district.

So all of you hopeful contenders who want to enter the next set of elections
should understand that we expect our representatives to have some teeth to occupy a place at the table.


22 people like this
Posted by Owl
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2015 at 8:44 am

Well I find ot ironic that the editorial board is only now waking up to the need for teeth in the relationship between aggrieved citizenry and government (re: school district and the most recent Measure A which turned out to be unnecessary and all the dire warnings false, and power of the citizenry re: schools in general).

Having been involved as a citizen in passing federal and state legislation, I think the editorial board forgot to admonish the citizenry not to be wimps, but to keep working. I could offer advice, but rather than wasting my time typing to the wind, I would just say, get help and advice. Once you have what you need, hire a lobbyist. (Doesn't have to be someone expensive, just some retired person in DC who knows what's needed.) Develop community networks locally and nationally to call and write at the appropriate times. Learn from the initial defeat that is coming and try again.

IMO, the 2nd proposal above is actually the more powerful. By a lot. From the data within the government that comes from it, and the working relationship, then push for other measures. (The blanket condemnation of civil servants is not helpful. Our men and women in uniform and everyone who supports them are civil servants and memorial day was just this week. Our judges are civil servants and they get paid less than all kinds of unnecessary assistant this and that's in PAUSD, even in the Bay Area. My experience with the EPA is that it's an overly lean and beleaguered agency full of people who really care about what they do, who have been slammed by an idealogical Congress for political purposes over and over again. Today's civil service is a tough job, even in boom times, and the many men and women doing hard and necessary work for the public are relentlessly maligned or tarred with a broad brush by a few bad examples, and zero appreciation. Much like our military after Vietnam.)

The other reason the 2nd proposal has more teeth is that it elevates the priority of noise abatement within government from the current zilch. This makes future legislation with teeth possible. It is a very real crack in an otherwise impenetrable door. It's not enough, but since those pushing for change clearly have a big learning curve, it gives them something to cut their teeth on, too.

The beauty of our system is the power of the people. But it's not as easy as just petitioning loudly.


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 14, 2015 at 8:46 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Sandy - Great reference document - thanks.


What this issue needs is someone like Pete McCloskey who, on behalf of Woodside, forced the Department of Energy to use aesthetically acceptable power poles on the high energy electrical line over the summit to SLAC.


Like this comment
Posted by Open question
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2015 at 10:50 am

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 14, 2015 at 11:13 am

The population maps provided are for the periods 2010 and 1990 - 2007.
I think a lot has changed since then as we now come up on 2016. But the topic of this stream is the SFO flight path through the congressional district which Ms. Eshoo has some input on. That includes Palo Alto but is not specific to Palo Alto - it is the whole congressional district. So that is what the focus is here as the people inputting are located in this specific congressional district.

Hyperbole aside I think the assumption of higher population in the valley is correct. That is what the real estate people would like us to believe.


3 people like this
Posted by Open Question
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2015 at 11:47 am

Peter Carpenter,

"There never have been "noise abatement routes" in the Bay Area."

Noise abatement routes in the Bay Area are unfortunately called Palo Alto.

It appears that after noise was shifted to the mid-Peninsula in the late 90's, there was an effort to use the Bay to help the mid-Peninsula in 2000 The late 90's is when the press reported increasing complaints about planes no longer using the Bay (instead going overland), and also reported that a 3-month pilot, to shift a route from Woodside farther South, became official.

The 2000 proposal to help reduce noise over the mid-peninsula was rejected by the then Mayor of San Jose, and reported in this article Web Link.

The route was to enter the Bay over San Jose, at a higher altitude. Is this what is referred to as the "Quiet Bay Approach"?. I can't tell if the route was designed in 2000 or it was in existence before.

"The proposed new flight pattern would increase noise by less than one-tenth of a decibel, according to a study conducted by SFO's noise monitoring system."


Like this comment
Posted by Open Question
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2015 at 11:57 am

This might be a better link to the article about San Jose Mayor rejecting the Bay approach in 2000.

Web Link



3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 14, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Thanks for the link to the article about San Jose Mayor rejecting the Bay approach in 2000.

It is exactly this response from San Jose that should remind us that any change in flight paths will impact other people - not just "artichokes and cows".

My proposal, using ANETE, FAITH and ARCHI waypoints at the entry points for all SFO flights would move the flight paths slightly further South and slightly more to the East than the 2000 proposal and those interceptions would be at a higher altitude.

And remember that communities to the South of Palo Alto are both more densely populated and have larger total populations and hence greater congressional representation. This is why I also offred the second proposal which more equitably distributes all flights over the entire South Bay.


5 people like this
Posted by Mark Landesmann
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 14, 2015 at 12:15 pm


The FAA has clearly said that it will reconfigure the SFO landing and arrival procedures to correct the problems, and has also said that it now looks to the towns and Cities, which have been left out the previous process, to register their concerns directly to them. They have been under huge pressure from Congress, and that pressure comes, as it clearly appears, from the airline lobbies. But the many lawsuits and city protests across the Country now also exert a significant amount pressure. Until recently, the FAA's way of gathering input on the community impact of proposed routes was to rely on the Roundtable System, which was in turn managed by the airports. SFO did not do us the favor of including us in this process, excluding Palo Alto from the contrary, despite multiple pleas to the contrary. In fact, there does not appear to be ANY noise information that was used by the FAA for the most recent route re-design, except that which was provided by SFO on behalf of cities North of Palo Alto (from Redwood City and beyond).

City governments, and their advocacy, have been, the primary actors in shifting noise to Palo Alto from other areas of the Bay Area, which offer routes that are, by all appearances, equally or more profitable to the airlines, and our City government, and the quality and strength of our City's advocacy is therefore the primary actor in advocating with the FAA, as forcefully and credibly as it can, to show that these noise shifts have indeed happened, and that singling out a small set of communities (some with minority populations and/or significant ecological habitats) for all the noise and pollution pain of SFO arrivals and departures is contrary to the public interest and to Federal law. The City must assert our rights; that's their job, and they are putting a strong emphasis it to make up for lost time. We need to continue to encourage them to continue to do so, and so should our city's publications.

FAA officials, although pressured, are not devious scheming airline cronies, but rather people, who do not make empty promises, and in fact care about the public interest. Let's take them at their word.

Please go to www.skypossepaloalto.org for more information.


Like this comment
Posted by Open question
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2015 at 1:14 pm

Peter Carpenter,

"remember that communities to the South of Palo Alto are both more densely populated and have larger total populations and hence greater congressional representation. "

If helping out the mid-peninsula rests on an "increase noise by less than one-tenth of a decibel" in San Jose, should that be left to be negotiated by congressional representation?


6 people like this
Posted by Emerson
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 14, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Excess noise is a public health concern AND an economic issue. Read Valuing Quiet... Web Link All our elected officials need to step up and work to find balanced transportation solutions to safeguard our quality of life. When one industry, the airlines, is the only voice guiding FAA route redesign, drone implementation etc. the needs of communities on the ground are ignored.

The air transport industry has spent over $60,000,000 already in 2015 to influence laws Web Link . Almost 70% of the people who work in this industry "revolve" back and forth from air transport concerns to the FAA and related departments. Ordinary citizens NEED their cities and their Congressional representatives and Senators to look out for their interests. Even if aircraft noise doesn't personally bother you, an airline-industry dominated FAA should.

Support Palo Alto's efforts to protect our city with a comprehensive investigation of regional aviation issues and push all our political leaders to actually LEAD on this issue.


Like this comment
Posted by Emerson
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 14, 2015 at 1:20 pm

Corrected website link for OpenSecrets.org air transport lobbying Web Link


3 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 14, 2015 at 4:19 pm

[Portion removed.]

I like the article about the mayor of San Jose - he is in your face and "agitated". He gets right in and attacks the problem head on. He correctly identified the problem and moves fast to resolve it. So if the rest of the PA population keeps vacillating and wavering under political pressure then take a hint from the major city to the south as to how problems are solved.


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Posted by Open question
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2015 at 4:51 pm

Peter Carpenter,

I don't know who all has taken a self-centered approach on this issue. As far as I can tell, the suggestions from the community are to do a few obvious things like fly higher and spread out.

It does not appear that you have data for the impacts of your solutions, however harmless they may be - impacts still need to be measured right?

Whoever suggested to have a "task force" to better illustrate your suggestions makes a lot of sense. That could include some calculations like SFO did about the noise impacts of the 2000 route. If we would find out that in fact some of these proposed changes mean "less than one-tenth of a decibel" increase for others, that's a better way to talk about sharing impacts.

Please feel free to use my post as a vote to NOT simply "solve my problem by giving it to someone/anyone else."

I'm looking for the options to better share the impacts.


1 person likes this
Posted by Open question
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2015 at 5:07 pm

resident 1,

"What about the impact on us"

I agree that since this is a Palo Alto Weekly, discussing the impacts on us is not "self-centered."

Clearly we need better ways to assess how changes would impact us and others, but if the issue is politics, nobody stands a chance for getting any changes, if one doesn't look out for even one's own situation.

The Gonzales stand did not even involve federal issues. The rejection of that route (which could have helped the mid-peninsula) was purely about looking out for his city's interests.

And we also may not know the half that was going on behind his decision.


20 people like this
Posted by House of Cards
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2015 at 5:58 pm

I think it is a well known fact that Anna Eshoo does not command any respect in the House of Representatives.

Her proposal is as good as dead.

As Peter Carpenter stated previously, we need a McCloskey-esque person to get the ear of the House.


2 people like this
Posted by Open question
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2015 at 6:40 pm

Is there anyone who commands respect when standing up for FAA reform? Not many public figures even speak about it. The cards stacked against the pubic have been mentioned already (aviation money and city/airport interests control this issue).

If there is a mythical figure who can save the day, why not mention a few names.


4 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 15, 2015 at 6:55 pm

I am concerned about the whole tone of this stream. I do not understand why it has a title of "False Hopes". It sounds like a set-up for failure. It appears to me that there is more to why this is set-up this way - someone is trying to dumb down the whole concept. It is not complimentary to our legislative representation or the people who have worked so hard on this.


5 people like this
Posted by Johnny
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 15, 2015 at 9:31 pm

Just save yourself the trouble and stress and learn to live with it. Even in the best case scenario, what result do you expect to realistically achieve? 90% reduction in noise? 50%? No way that's going to happen - so lets say you get a slightly higher altitude or slightly different flight path You'll likely reduce the noise by some barely quantifiable amount, if at all.

Try some breathing, relaxation and healthy distractions. It will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.


1 person likes this
Posted by Reality
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2015 at 11:01 pm

This editorial shines a bright light on the democratic representatives' behavior of pandering to their constituents only for appearances' sake. They aren't really trying to solve the problem, just getting their name attached to news articles.

Are there any elected officials who actually care about their constituents more than their political careers?


2 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 16, 2015 at 3:28 am

The WSJ had a major article about this issue 11/12/15 "Sound and Fury Over New Routes". This problem is not specific to Silicon Valley. The FAA and ATC organizations are fully aware of the problem and are dismissing any concerns about it.

That is telling you that the federal government is disregarding the people
under the flight paths. That is the major problem here - that should be a concern to every one. It is a universal problem across the United States.




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Posted by Bunyip
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 16, 2015 at 7:42 am

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Eddie Munster
a resident of Mayfield
on Nov 16, 2015 at 12:39 pm

No way a Dem bill gets passed in this House, even with Ryan (the Eddie Munster clone)


2 people like this
Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 16, 2015 at 12:43 pm

You may not be able to do much about the jets, but you can certainly fix the inceasant noise from the heillicoper training at the airport!


2 people like this
Posted by Fran
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 16, 2015 at 3:08 pm

Looks like the FAA has released a plan of action to tackle the noise!

Web Link

Still early in the process but its very encouraging that they're willing to work with the communities affected!


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Nov 16, 2015 at 3:20 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is a superb plan of action from the FAA.

Thanks.


3 people like this
Posted by Ken Miles
a resident of another community
on Dec 1, 2015 at 7:05 pm

One way to resolve all the airplane problems we have here in the Bay Area is to build a Regional Airport somewhere near the Central Valley, where it is flat and land is inexpensive, and connect the Regional Airport to the East Bay, South Bay, San Francisco, Sacramento and Fresno by a high speed train system. All across the globe modern regional airports were built away of urban centers such as Hong Kong, Denver CO, Washington DC Dulles,etc.

Why have 3 local airports here in the Bay Area (SFO, San Jose, Oakland) that can not expand with time, sit on valuable land that could be utilized for industry or housing. SFO is 88 years old; it cannot expand further to accommodate greater airplane traffic or larger planes. All 3 airports are a few feet above the current sea level, and will eventually be flooded due to the rising sea level. Close down the local airports. They are a liability.

Start planning for the Regional Airport now, and perhaps we'll have a finished product in 10-12 years from now.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 1, 2015 at 7:44 pm

Ken - I agree - if you fly to Europe - CDG says Paris - but it is a giant hub in a field away from the city. When you fly in all you see is green fields - right time of year. It's purpose is to link major airline carriers with the regional carriers and keep all of the travelers who are going on in a central location so that Visas and Passports can be processed and cleared.

Some thoughts on Livermore area for a regional airport. All of the foreign visitors are bussed out there to the outlets.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 1, 2015 at 7:49 pm

Helicopters - those are not for life saving actions - it is a helicopter school - the red ones. It should be move to the San Jose Airport so that all commercial airline activities are located in one county location.


4 people like this
Posted by Open question
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2015 at 9:49 pm

Ken Miles,

Brilliant plan - agree 100%,

Airports should have been investing in their own real estate (to make noise in the reliable and predictable ways that Nextgen allows) but airports and airlines were too busy counting on our real estate for free.

If only they would have to pay market rates to use our back yards, that would make them get creative really fast.

A brilliant plan like this will not come from the airports or airlines, so not sure who could make it happen.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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