News


Guest Opinion: Unhealthy racket -- Palo Alto's efforts to quiet the skies

In a series of open meetings throughout spring and summer, the Select Committee on South Bay Arrivals met with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials to consider its response to the FAA's "Initiative to Address Noise Concerns of Santa Cruz/Santa Clara/San Mateo/San Francisco Counties."

The Select Committee consists of local elected officials from three counties with cities that are affected by the recent explosion of aircraft noise and pollution. I'm grateful to Rep. Anna Eshoo who, together with Reps. Sam Farr and Jackie Speier, formed this committee. The committee's excellent chair is Supervisor Joe Simitian. While Palo Alto does not have a voting member on the committee, Vice Mayor Greg Scharff serves as a non-voting alternate.

Despite all this hopeful activity, the FAA has not yet announced any proposals that will alleviate the noise burden for Palo Alto or surrounding communities. The citizens' group Sky Posse Palo Alto and the city of Palo Alto have submitted design principles, but the FAA has not included them in any public announcement. It is time for an aviation noise recap and another call to action.

Last summer I wrote a Weekly opinion piece about the rising tide of harmful aviation noise over Palo Alto due to gradual route shifting and the March 2015 implementation of a new SFO arrival route called SERFR One. This route, which has polluted all communities living under its noisy, toxic shadow, uses the FAA's new NextGen precision navigation procedures. These procedures concentrate flight routes into narrow pathways at low altitudes, resulting in sacrificial noise corridors. The FAA claims that these changes resulted in "net noise reduction," which is ironic given that complaints to SFO went from 449 in June 2014 to 320,000 in June 2016.

Having spent almost my whole adult life as a teacher librarian advocating for literacy issues, aviation politics presented a new research challenge. However, I was determined to try to find a pathway toward a solution. Students I worked with were losing sleep. New aircraft noise now combined with existing train noise disturbing the quiet in our new classrooms and campus. I talked to multiple groups of distraught longtime residents who no longer found solace in their homes. Their complaints were backed up by extensive research documenting the detrimental effects of concentrated aircraft noise on sleep, student learning, and cardiac health.

I discovered a familiar tale of an overburdened and underfunded federal agency that is heavily influenced by the industry it is charged to regulate. The FAA's two missions are safety and efficiency. At a recent Select Committee meeting the FAA representative stated, "We do not design for noise." While the agency acknowledges its obligation to protect the health of people living under flight pathways, noise reduction becomes a serious consideration only in areas immediately adjacent to the airport runway.

Another complicating factor is that the Environmental Protection Agency has no role in regulating aviation noise because its Office of Noise Abatement and Control was defunded during the Reagan administration. Local authorities were supposed to take over noise enforcement, but the irony is that cities and counties have no authority over planes in the air. The FAA (with considerable input from industry and virtually none from environmental groups) rules the skies.

Nowhere is this undue influence illustrated more than how the FAA measures noise impacts. Aviation interests fully support the FAA's continued use of decades-old noise-averaging measures that do not reflect the harm caused by the frequent onslaught of hundreds of planes a day flying at an altitude between 3,000 and 5,000 feet over residential neighborhoods. The FAA uses noise modeling to forecast impacts when planning new routes, but no actual noise measurements are taken on the ground either before or after new route implementation.

So what does this mean for our current situation? We, as individual citizens, must continue to advocate for our communities and demand that our elected representatives persuade the FAA to fix the problem it created. We simply must use all means possible to pressure Congress to compel the FAA to prioritize public health concerns over the efficiency demands of the airlines when designing airline routes. It is unacceptable to design flight routes that leave a swath of noise and emissions filth over our cities, especially when we are fortunate to have a huge body of water nearby that could be used as the guiding path to SFO.

Citizen advocacy has accomplished a tremendous amount so far. Our City Council has declared airplane noise pollution to be an important problem and has devoted resources to tackling the issue, including engaging aviation consultants. Our congressional representatives have been successful in organizing a regional committee and persuading the FAA to participate. Supervisor Simitian and his staff have devoted countless hours working with the community, the FAA and elected officials.

Unfortunately, the FAA has yet to announce any sort of solution that will relieve the Midpeninsula. The agency wants to concentrate flights rather than disperse them. There is no mention of a noise-abating up-the-bay approach. We have not seen any proposal from the FAA that would use other navigational waypoints instead of MENLO (where three SFO arrival routes converge at a 4,000-foot altitude over a residential area near the intersection of 101 and Willow Road). We have heard nothing about rebalancing the east and west legs of approaches from the north to direct flights over the bay rather than our homes and schools.

Solutions that could help all citizens, not just Palo Alto, exist. Please have a look at the recommendations listed in City Manager James Keene's letter of July 7, 2016. If you agree, please let Supervisor Simitian and Rep. Eshoo know that you would like the Select Committee to consider these recommendations carefully.

Continue to register complaints with the SFO Noise Abatement Office and through the website stop.jetnoise.net. Stay informed by attending the Select Committee meetings, which take place at Palo Alto City Hall twice a month until November. (See the schedule at eshoo.house.gov.)

We must let the Select Committee and the FAA know that we need solutions that will help Palo Alto and the Midpeninsula. If we continue to advocate for cleaner air and quieter skies, there might be better news next year.

Rachel Kellerman is a local educator who has lived in Palo Alto for 24 years.

Comments

21 people like this
Posted by Realist
a resident of another community
on Aug 26, 2016 at 1:07 pm

"Citizen advocacy has accomplished a tremendous amount so far."

No, it hasn't, because as you stated, there has been no noise reduction or the promise of any reduction. These meetings let the FAA know that people are angry, but they don't accomplish anything.

As you point out, the EPA's Office of Noise Abatement and Control was killed under Reagan. In 1990 the Congress took away the ability for local communities to control their own airports. This was all part of the aviation industry's plan for massive expansion irrespective of our health and the environment. NextGen, which is still being rolled out, is part of that expansion. The increase in general aviation is also part of it.

Keeping pressure on our representatives is good, but your local politicians have no control over the airports unless the airports start refusing federal funds. Pressure must also be kept on the aviation industry itself through a boycott and legal action - hurt their profits and they will listen.

-Demand a curfew
-Demand day-time noise limits that protect our health
-Set a minimum altitude that ensures communities are not exposed to noise, pollution, or the safety risk we currently experience
-Demand that GA use unleaded fuel
-Add a substantial tax to all types of aviation fuel that is used to fund greener modes of transportation
-Reduce numbers of flights; expansion is not sustainable
-Institute a scaling tax based on how much people fly to discourage frequent flyers


21 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 27, 2016 at 8:16 am

Great editorial! Thanks R.Kellerman!!


12 people like this
Posted by Palo ALto High SChool
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 27, 2016 at 8:22 am

I was in Milpitas the other day, and the town smelled like sewers. I found out that the sewer system has been letting out gases for the entire city to enjoy for months now.


So we have it good with this minor airplane problem. Always try to use perspective before jumping to conclusion and pushing for change. [Portion removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by besieged but hopeful
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2016 at 12:20 pm

I attended the last meeting and the FAA and the committee discussed addressing the suggestions mentioned in this article.

More accurate would be to say that they have "not yet" announced, so I give the FAA and the committee MUCH credit for not being completely deaf to our concerns.

AND they have agreed to give the meetings more time instead of suspending them with no solutions to the problem, this may sound bad (more time) but it may be good.

Best is to give all a chance. I am hopeful

And am thankful to be able to see the FAA here in Palo Alto working on this.


7 people like this
Posted by Ed Zell
a resident of another community
on Aug 27, 2016 at 3:38 pm

Thanks to Ms Kellerman for this article and her efforts in regards to the FAA's NextGen project and its impoact on Palo Alto. I live in San Diego and we have our own challenges with NextGen here. Citizens living near the San Diego have proof that departures have deviated from agreed upon take off patterns for over a year in spite of the FAA saying that no NextGen procedures have been implemented here. Be comforted and thankful; that your legal representatives have been advocated for your concerns. In san Diego we have had a very difficult time in getting active representation from City, State or federal representation. Aides to reps sit in meetings, but no leadership initiatives have been enacted and our challenge continues. Wishing you success in your efforts working with the FAA. Hopefully, San Diego can learn from our neighbors up north.


6 people like this
Posted by how about PAO?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 28, 2016 at 11:24 am

any discussion about airplane noise should include flights in and out of Palo Alto airport (PAO). Unlike flights in and out of SFO these are 90% recreational flights that only create noise pollution not to mention leaded fuel pollution. Please someone tell me what benefit accrues to the citizens of Palo Alto having this airport? And now add to it helicopter lessons from PAO everyday circling baylands and our neighborhoods


16 people like this
Posted by Traffic noise is way, way worse
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2016 at 1:17 pm

Street noise where I live is about 1,000 times worse than airplane noise:
—ordinary internal combustion engines constantly,
—loud motorcycles—especially those breaking sound laws,
—jack-rabbit starts,
—dimwits blasting their music,
—city (!!!) diesel (diesel!!!) buses stopping hourly,
—kids screaming for a couple hours a day at summer camp on the neighboring church's front lawn,
—teenagers fighting there on the sidewalk at midnight after 'prayer groups' or whatever,
—groups happily conducting long, loud, noisy conversations on the sidewalk outside my house
This is collectively way way worse than any airplanes.
What are you complainers talking about? If airplane noise is unhealthy, then what about us living on arterials? When do we get some relief? Why should anyone in the city spend one second on airplane noise when other noise is so much worse?


23 people like this
Posted by This is a problem?
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Agree a bit with "traffic noise" above about the issues. First, it's a wild exaggeration to say that airplanes flying at about 5,000 feet are causing "emissions filth over our cities" when I suspect it represents a microscopic contribution relative to the tens of thousands of cars cruising through our neighborhoods at ground level. This is a bit of a NIMBY issue, as these planes are going to have to turn base towards SFO someplace and the hope for all this is to just send it somewhere else. This is what Palo Alto, the city of absolutely unaffordable housing and gridlocked traffic really worries about?? All in all, airplane noise is a bit of a problem of the 1%.


9 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Aug 28, 2016 at 2:05 pm

@This is a problem?

The issue isn't plane noise per se, it's airplane noise that people in Palo Alto have to hear, if you look at it that way routing landings over another community solves the problem. If you want to be really objective about it, 99% of the state is nowhere near a major airport, most of it entirely empty, but people seem to want to crowd into the few parts that do, while at the same time complaining when everyone else is doing the exact same thing. I get that some people want to pretend Palo Alto is a bucolic suburb, but are they really going to deny that they live in one of the country's largest metro areas?


16 people like this
Posted by ThisIsDumb
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 28, 2016 at 5:06 pm

The crickets in my backyard are louder than the air traffic. [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language] this might be the most "Palo Alto Problem" I've ever heard.


19 people like this
Posted by Tired of Cronyism
a resident of another community
on Aug 28, 2016 at 5:34 pm

Since Congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 which ushered in the FAA NextGen program, the aviation industry has taken the gloves off throughout our entire country (aircraft of every kind are flying low over communities: commercial, GA, military, drones...).

This industry is acting like a tyrant because its been empowered to do so by our Congress. The FAA, under the control of our Congress, is also acting like a tyrant because it too has been empowered to do so. So, ultimately Congress is answerable for the 24/7 noise, air, and visual pollution. Congress allowed the FAA to redesign the airspace and to do this with no basis in reality, no real on the ground pre-implentation studies, to declare no significant impact to the human environment for these relentless nationwide low altitude flight paths. The FAA itself admits noise is not its concern in this redesign. Safety and efficiency it says, because we all know these low altitude flight paths with little to no margin for error are so safe (would anyone be able to tell if 9/11 was happening again?), and these flight paths are anything but concentrated, efficient, in the sense that they are everywhere, or "vectored" as the FAA says and only concentrated in the sense that each path will have more and more aircraft packed in them at greater and greater frequency over time because CAPACITY is the end and low altitudes the means.

In all the battles ensuing across our country over this change, in all the minor media coverage, and a little bit here and there from major media, the word ALTITUDE is conspicuously absent most of the time and yet it is THE cause of the noise misery. But if aviation doesn't get these low altitude flight paths crammed down our throats out of the gate it doesn't get its capacity goals and therefore profit goals year on year achieved.

With Congress ultimately acting as a captured agency, seizing through acts of Congress local communities' right to control their airports, with its agency the FAA doing its dirty work and equally captured by this industry, communities will have to go NIMBY. Not in my backyard is effective when people refuse to put it in another backyard.

California is blessed with many groups fighting this injustice Congress has unleashed. Unfortunately, too many in these groups argue that this area or that area is uniquely noise burdened for this or that reason. Get out more. Look around. Do some homework on the Internet. This is national, this is global. This is rural, suburban, urban. And NO ONE should go through this wherever they live.

Surf Air and the like are going to keep playing games with communities, wearing them down, discrediting groups with non-solutions if allowed. Only under pressure by citizens was a voluntary, weather permitting, blah, blah, path implemented with the FAA's blessing of course. Non-solution already. But, altitude anyone? It doesn't matter where these paths are put if the glaring, number 1 issue of altitude isn't tackled. Similarly, a committee was formed to address noise concerns in Santa Cruz County, and after much delay, after telling citizen groups to come up with solutions (Really? That right there is a red flag!), the FAA is taking three years to consider moving a flight path without any commitment to ensuring, if a path is indeed moved, that the noise, read altitude issue, will be resolved and not merely shifted or intensified elsewhere. And that is what U.S. Reps Eshoo, Farr, Speier apparently consider to be representation. Of course, while these non-solutions are being dragged out (election season playing a part too?), if citizens take legal action, complain to elected officials and the airports about the ongoing aerial assault they're impatient, ungrateful for all they're trying to do. Because now, studies are really so, so important.

Groups in California have a unique opportunity, but first they need to identify who the real enemy is and band together. Forget their grievances against each other which have been stoked on purpose by elected officials and the FAA. Band together, and be unstoppable, impossible to ignore and play games with. This industry is not playing nice. The FAA is not playing nice. Most importantly our elected officials are effectively not playing nice. Not all, but far too many. Don't let them play these games. TOO LOW, TOO LOUD, TOO MANY. Don't stop until this stops.


12 people like this
Posted by Tired of Cronyism
a resident of another community
on Aug 28, 2016 at 5:36 pm

Congress taking away communities’ ability to control their own airports – see following summaries of key legislation.

“Regulatory: When it comes to airport noise regulation, ‘Big Brother’ is watching you” by Barbara Lichman (Inside Counsel)
Web Link

“Regulatory: FAA Reauthorization Act exempts next-gen airspace redesign projects from environmental review: Claims the exemptions are to streamline and reduce waste” by Barbara Lichman (Inside Counsel)
Web Link

Airport Noise & Capacity Act 1990
Web Link


12 people like this
Posted by no you are dumber
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 28, 2016 at 8:23 pm

to "this is dumb"

you don't live near palo alto airport- come over and spend some time near 101 and embarcadero and see how you feel about airport noise.


26 people like this
Posted by Trolls
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 28, 2016 at 9:16 pm

To the trolls implying there isn't an issue with noise. Either you're shills for the NextGen initiatives or you're from someplace where noise pollution wasn't an issue so you're used to it. Because there most certainly is tremendously more traffic and noise these last few years. I've been here 15 years and it was never like this before.


1 person likes this
Posted by Noisy Skies
a resident of Los Altos
on Aug 29, 2016 at 12:54 am

All those discussions are confused by people acting like every city is suffering the same plane noise issue everywhere. Palo Alto has differing noises in different places. When you are near a noisy road with frequent traffic, that noise dominates your perception. That doesn't mean that many people are feeling the louder noises caused by these shifts of plan traffic. The long standard route was not followed closely and so it spread the noise of the planes out over a wide area. A lot of the track was over the Stanford Industrial Park (and the commercial area between California Avenue and the old train tracks that ran behind MaxiMart/Fry's). So when these changes were made to shift the track slightly to the East to have more planes closely align with the defined track, the people under the new track FEEL the difference. Bayside of Alma Street, it's different people getting all the noise in one place as the track heads toward Willow Road near the Bay (MENLO waypoint). On the other side of Alma Street, most of the noise used to pass over businesses rather than homes.

So the author is wrong in the one sense. Below Alma Street, switching back to the old track would center the noise over businesses rather than homes. It's the historical route of the old rail spur that once served Los Altos and Santa Cruz. That proposal was made and recognized by the committee. It would address much of Palo Alto's noise, particularly that over Barron Park and points closer to Los Altos Hills.


10 people like this
Posted by besieged but hopeful
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2016 at 1:50 am

Noisy from Los Altos,

Over here the Menlo way point ends AFTER North Palo Alto, not where "Fry's" was. See Page 4 of the complaints map Web Link

Does it look like the noise ends at Fry's?

Tired of Cronyism,"

Altitude is no doubt the #1 issue,

If the altitudes have been lowered to compensate for the reduced safety (from more planes shuffled together), it can't exactly be called increased safety.

Two United pilots were fired today for trying to fly a plane from Glasgow to NEWARK! Web Link. Same guys who have probably barreled into SFO with massive planes over our families.



1 person likes this
Posted by besieged but hopeful
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2016 at 2:29 am

Arrested for trying to fly a plane from Glasgow to Newark, ***under the influence of alcohol***

Two of them (two United pilots)




3 people like this
Posted by Paul Osborn
a resident of Mayfield
on Aug 29, 2016 at 11:59 am

"The FAA, under the control of our Congress..." The FAA reports to the Executive Branch, not to Congress.

This issue invokes a measure of passion given the hyperbole in this editorial and comments: "toxic", "trolls", "tyrant", "reacting without thinking", etc.

As a local resident, I also hear heightened noise levels from just a few years ago. [BTW, it's odd that Caltrain or the HSR hasn't been mentioned.]

PA lies under the flight paths of 4 airports: SFO, San Carlos, Palo Alto and Moffet. It will experience additional aviation noise in line with with the local economy, as every important meeting/summit/decision involves an aircraft movement.

Unfortunately, increased noise from all types of vehicles (cars, planes, trains, trucks, motorcycles, etc.) is the reality of this economic dynamo that we choose to live in. Palo Alto is becoming increasingly urbanized, and noise pollution is part of that equation.

I enjoy the serenity when visiting my friends in La Honda, and they enjoy the proximity to services when visiting me.

Choose accordingly.


3 people like this
Posted by Cid Young
a resident of another community
on Aug 29, 2016 at 12:27 pm

[Post removed. Please don't write in all capital letters.]


17 people like this
Posted by Resident1
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 29, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Resident1 is a registered user.

@Paul

You mention: "PA lies under the flight paths of 4 airports: SFO, San Carlos, Palo Alto and Moffet. It will experience additional aviation noise in line with with the local economy."

You hit on a key point. The flight traffic/noise we are experiencing due to lower and more concentrated SFO inbound flights is not proportional to the change in traffic at the SFO airport. It is much, much greater. It is the pattern of traffic that has changed, not the volume.

Again, consider a highway being built over your home. The same number of planes still traverse the region. They are just all lined up over your home now.


9 people like this
Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 29, 2016 at 1:08 pm

Let's close all the airports then we won't suffer any airplane e noise. Take the bus.


21 people like this
Posted by Janet Dafoe
a resident of University South
on Aug 29, 2016 at 1:39 pm

To those who say this is just Palo Alto snobbery, I want to respond. This is an issue that has disrupted our lives. It doesn't matter how fancy a house one lives in, if one can't sleep or even have a conversation in their yard, it's very disturbing. The air lanes used to be distributed more. I understand that we all have to hear airplane noise sometimes. We share this as a cost to having airplanes.

We are caring for our very sick, bedridden son, age 32. For several years airplane noise was sporadic and mostly confined to daytime. In the past year it has become horrendous. Whitney is awakened at all hours, especially at all hours of the night, sometimes every 15-30 minutes, with such loud airplanes flying over our home that we can't sleep. It is overwhelming. It is significantly affecting his ability to cope or heal. It is so distressing for him, and he is so sick already. This makes it so much worse. Sleep is crucial for everyone, but is certainly necessary for healing. After caring for him until well after midnight, I am so tired. I finally get into my nice cozy bed and then am unable to sleep because there are very loud airplanes flying overhead, sometimes many in a row for hours. This has made our lives much more difficult, and I'm sure that's true for many others besides me. If you think all those other noises in the city are worse (I agree, they can be bad, especially leaf blowers), then you clearly do not live in the path of these airplanes. Yes, we hear noise from the daycare center next door, fights outside of cars in their parking lot, cars revving as they drive by, trucks, construction, etc. This is orders of magnitude louder. It is difficult to enjoy our yard because we can't hear each other when the planes fly overhead. It's hard to find any very long periods of peace in our home or yard. Being in a state of stress like this for long periods of time has been clearly demonstrated to affect one's health. This is not disputable. The problem is serious.

I don't think it matters what community this occurs in. It is wrong wherever. It's basically unfair. I'm willing to share the cost of having airplanes, but I do not think it is right to concentrate it over one small path and just sacrifice those folks' health and peace, whomever they are and wherever they live. Please try to have some compassion for your neighbors and fellow humans. We are all related.


31 people like this
Posted by Going Crazy
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 29, 2016 at 2:22 pm

I resent the implied insults of Palo Alto snobbery. Those who are slinging those insults clearly do not live directly under the new airplane superhighway. The difference from before the FAA change to now is a major quality of life change that is much much bigger than dismissing the noise as a function of growth in an urban area. The planes used to be dispersed and we all shared the noise over many towns and neighborhoods. Now the planes fly at much lower altitudes and fly one after the other after the other throughout the day and night over a narrow path affecting those underneath disproportionately. I often lose track after counting 10-12 planes in a row in a half hour timeframe. And this goes on and on. There are days when I can barely think and I am saddened that we worked so hard to save and buy a house here only to have the ability to enjoy it taken away from us. If you attended the meeting in Mountain View, you would have heard resident after resident (100's of people) saying the same thing. It's just not fair for those of us directly under the new route, no matter what town we live in.


17 people like this
Posted by Kerry Yarkin
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 29, 2016 at 3:03 pm

Thank you Rachel for such an excellent guest opinion on the Palo Alto weekly. I also agree with many of the other comments here basically that there should be no more sacrificial noise Corridors. I live directly under three main air routes into SFO. They fly directly over my house. I am unable to get any sustained peace and quiet. This means I cannot sit outside in my backyard, unable to do gardening , Unable to enjoy the natural surroundings, and stressful taking walks in the neighborhood. This is a big change from what it was two years ago. Also let's not forget sleep disruption. Being awakened every morning at 4:30 AM by 2 United flights from Hawaii flying into SFO is beyond ridiculous.
I I am cautiously optimistic that the select committee, the FAA, are three congressional districts will find solutions to Solve the problems, so we can get back to enjoying our wonderful and (used to be) peaceful environment. NO MORE SACRIFICIAL NOISE CORRIDORS.


8 people like this
Posted by Stan
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 29, 2016 at 9:50 pm

I thought leaded fuel was an unfortunate product outlawed for nearly 20 years. I was wrong, I did not know that aircraft piston engines still used leaded fuel. Hopefully i't a matter of time before this is addresses as well. In the mean time, Civil Aviation, including Surf Air, which is only concerned with profits, may want to take note.

From: Web Link

Unfriendly Skies: Piston Engine Aircraft Pose a Significant Health Threat

They may seem innocuous enough, those small planes used for weekend getaways, flight training, small freight deliveries, and other civilian purposes. But collectively, the more than 167,000 piston-engine aircraft that comprise the majority of the U.S. general aviation (GA) fleet may pose a significant health threat. That’s because these vehicles, which rely on leaded fuel to operate safely, constitute the nation’s largest remaining source of lead emissions. Those exposed to low levels of lead, especially children, have been shown to suffer neurological and cognitive impairment, including IQ loss.


5 people like this
Posted by Cross Purposes
a resident of Los Altos
on Aug 30, 2016 at 12:48 am

Some people in Sky Posse are determined to undermine worthwhile potential improvements for the sake of making their point. Their point is that the changes in disturbance level are not ALL due to the changes to procedures in the Nexgen rollout. I don't disagree with their point but I think that it is a key factor that so many people saw so much worse noise disruption rates due to Nexgen as implemented. There were routes before NEXGEN and over Palo Alto Bayside of Alma on up to MENLO, the ground tracks were nearly identical. There was no dispersion over this segment. It was just a much a concentrated corridor before. So why did the noise get worse?

Arguing for dispersion is ignoring the elephant in the room. The noise corridors are wide. There isn't enough room to disperse this very many ways. The noise events are so frequent that even if cut in 1/4 they are too many. And they were there before but not bothering anybody. So Sky Posse goes ahead and wastes effort arguing that something other than reverting to a noise profile like before NEXGEN rolled out is called for.
Why?


16 people like this
Posted by Nextgen roll out
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2016 at 12:24 pm

Cross purposes,

You have crossed up so many things, it's not even funny.

Nextgen was rolled out here BEFORE March 2015. Per the confirmation from the FAA, the altitudes at Menlo were lowered due to Nextgen design.

Separate problems, Nextgen 2014 and the "other" noise shifts to our area.

THANKS to Sky Posse for having the first complaint app, Spacefrog, and for educating the public about Nextgen roll out during 2014, those who caught on the change on March 2015 already knew how to complain and had methods to do so easily and knew what was going on.

As we speak, there is plenty to be clarified by the authorities, and until then the public has to suffer the volumes of propaganda to coerce the sick DAVYJ idea which is as sick as SERFR.

Please check your dates for when Nextgen was rolled out in the Bay Area.

NOT March 2015


9 people like this
Posted by Airplane Fanatic
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 31, 2016 at 10:58 am

The airplanes fly directly over my house in midtown Palo Alto. May we suggest that they fly lower so it is like an airshow at all times of the day?

I love to watch and sit in the backyard as they fly overhead. I hope they lower and continue this new NexGen system.

As a pilot, NexGen is saving money and making flights more efficient for all. I hope nothing changes. Palo Altans need to grow a thicker skin and stop complaining so much.


6 people like this
Posted by Nextgen rollout
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Airplane fanatic,

You fly and you got your air show.

Unclear what the efficiencies are because the number of airplanes going to SFO is the same (or fewer) than before. If you have some numbers to support your claims of saving money do share.

As a pilot, you should be more aware, and not so dismissive of the environmental issues.


6 people like this
Posted by Nextgen rollout
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2016 at 12:37 pm

Airplane Fanatic,

In case the "fewer planes" reference is confusing. What it means is that the overall number of planes that SFO is handling is less than years past. What has changed is that planes which used to fly to SFO, using other routes are now flying over your house, and lower. You probably knew that.


4 people like this
Posted by Cross Purposes
a resident of Los Altos
on Aug 31, 2016 at 10:46 pm

To: Nextgen rollout

Your criticism of my points illustrate them very well. It's just not true that
the Nextgen rollout materially affected the peninsula skies before March 2015 in any
material way. The SERFR TWO STAR was launched in action at that time along with
several other changes. This is not to say that the skies weren't getting louder before then, but to say that Palo Alto led the charge in complaints against Nextgen totally overlooks the many other areas that were affected, each somewhat differently. See Web Link for a summary of what went on as written by staff in San Jose (and posted on the Phoenix Sky Harbor web site).

Among other factors which affected the skies over Palo Alto but had nothing to do with Nextgen was the July 2013 crash of Asiana 214 at SFO. This affects the Bodega and the Pt Reyes arrivals which fork and have two options to circle around and head into SFO from the southeast. After the Asiana debacle, the ATC began directing more of the aforementioned arrivals to the loop passing over Woodside, Los Altos and Palo Alto to reach SFO whereas previously they had been more evenly split. Nothing to do with Nextgen.

Planes land two at a time at SFO so it should still work to have a more even split for the Bodega and Pt Reyes arrivals with fewer such planes passing over Palo Alto. THIS began before March 2015, but as I said it has nothing to do with Nextgen.


3 people like this
Posted by Cross Purposes
a resident of Los Altos
on Aug 31, 2016 at 10:55 pm

In the last post I said the SERFR TWO STAR was launched in March 2015 whereas I meant that it's predecessor SERFR was launched at that time. Yes it was DEVELOPED before it was launched but it didn't change the noise situation until it launched.

As for the cross purposes, the issue is that the Select Committee was launched specifically to address the March 2015 NextGen changes, regardless of the fact that a lot of the noise in Palo Alto is caused by other factors like Surfair and the changes in utilization of the Bodega and Pt Reyes STAR's. By yammering that reverting the ground track to where BIG SUR was won't help these other factors, Palo Alto is gumming up the works and delaying a realization of improvements to the NextGen problems. These are tough enough. Obviously, it can be asked to help Woodside and the other affected cities with the problem of excess use by Bodega and Pt Reyes arrivals of our skies, but
it's NOT at odds with fixing the SERFR problems.


2 people like this
Posted by Cross Purposes
a resident of Los Altos
on Aug 31, 2016 at 10:58 pm

The select committee was chartered with making recommendations to address NextGen which began to be felt March 2015. There were OTHER NextGen changes made subequent to that and more are in the pipeline. I didn't mean to say that the committee isn't also chartered to address them. It's just that it's not in the charter of the select committee to address anything EARLIER, or anything else not related to NextGen. It may choose to expand its charter and it has that option.

For some excellent slides showing issues with routes other than SERFR, see: Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by Nextgen rollout
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2016 at 12:38 am

Cross,

OK so don't believe our ears,

This is a 2013 article with the "ground breaking" of Nextgen in the Bay Area

"FAA Plan Seeks More Direct Air Routes in Bay Area"
SF Gate ~ Tuesday, January 15, 2013 Web Link

Web Link

"In the aviation business, our highways are in the sky, and much of our infrastructure is invisible to people," Huerta said. "This is our version of a groundbreaking...."

"...The Bay Area is one of seven regions - all with multiple airports - where the FAA is starting the modernization program, which aims to create coordinated and simplified ways of sharing airspace. The program is expected to save 2.3 million gallons of fuel, cut 23,000 metric tons of carbon emissions and cut flight distances by 1.5 million nautical miles annually. Strategies to be used in the Bay Area include:

-- Changing the way planes land at Northern California airports so that instead of the current method of descending in steps while gradually leveling off, planes nearly idle their engines and glide to the runway on a smooth, precise approach. Huerta likened it to sliding down the bannister instead of walking down the stairs. He said it should also reduce noise."

For a picture of some of the concerns in February 2015 (which again is BEFORE March 2015) see "Brutal Air Traffic" February 22, 2015

Web Link

If you look at the video, I notice planes which are probably already also SERFR. They come in from the South in a very straight line.


7 people like this
Posted by Nextgen rollout
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2016 at 12:54 am

PS: How did the committee decided to address the problems which "began to be felt" in March 2015, as opposed to the problems which "began to felt" in 2014?

They are the same problems.

And no, the problems in Palo Alto are not just Surf Air related.

Where do you get your information?


2 people like this
Posted by Cross Purposes
a resident of Los Altos
on Sep 1, 2016 at 1:25 pm

There was airplane noise all along, and at one point Palo Alto got an agreement
to keep planes above 5000 feet with Anna Eshoo's help. But the decay of adherence
to that agreement was not a NextGen issue.

The 2013 article is in the midst of the FAA's lumbering process which made no
changes aside from planing over a 3-4 year period before launching all the changes
in March 2015.

The video most shows small planes not related to NextGen AT ALL.


5 people like this
Posted by Nextgen rollout
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2016 at 5:52 pm

Cross,

Before 2014, the noise was not brutal like Nextgen. Before 2014, what I knew about planes was how to buckle my seat belt.

Sometime in 2014 I was getting woken up by noisy flights, and by the end of 2014 I was complaining to SFO for day and night, planes. That was my first time to file a complaint. It's not something I would have chosen to do if it was not a problem then. And clearly it was not a problem before....

The planes in the video shooting up from the bottom up in a precise line FOR SURE look like Nextgen which trust me I know what it is now.

What is Nextgen? It's brutal noise.

I recalled that video and the term "brutal" because that is how it felt then (before 2015) but NOT before 2014.

So what happened to the plan to reduce noise with the sliding down the bannister changes?



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