News

Palo Alto flustered over airplane noise

With relief nowhere in sight, some urge city to take FAA to court

Watch Weekly journalists discuss this issue with Deputy City Manager Michelle Poché Flaherty on an episode of "Behind the Headlines."

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It's been nearly four years since the problem of airplane noise appeared on Palo Alto's radar and -- for residents and city officials -- relief remains well beyond the horizon.

Despite numerous studies, hundreds of citizen complaints and extensive lobbying of the Federal Aviation Administration by Palo Alto and neighboring communities, air traffic remains as high as ever. So are frustrations.

That much was clear on Tuesday night, when several residents urged a City Council committee to take a more aggressive stance toward the FAA, the agency with jurisdiction over the invisible highways in the sky. Traffic in these aerial routes has been on the rise since 2014, when the agency adopted new flight paths and procedures as part of its Next Generation initiative.

Kerry Yarkin was one of several speakers who cited the impact of the added plane noise on her quality of life and encouraged the council's Policy and Services Committee to consider litigation to solve the problem.

"I just think that at this point, after four years, to be able to sit in my backyard, do my gardening, relax, take a walk in my neighborhood ... without my noise-canceling headphones -- you need to do the legal option," Yarkin told the committee Tuesday.

The council committee had its own frustration. In 2016, a special committee chaired by Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian had compiled a report with a list of recommendations aimed at providing relief. But after some back and forth, the FAA informed participants last November that some of the report's most ambitious recommendations will not be pursued.

This includes the suggestion that the FAA attempt to reduce the concentration of flights at the MENLO waypoint, which is located near Palo Alto and which functions as a hub for planes waiting to land at San Francisco International Airport. The agency responded that it cannot shift flights around without interfering with the flight space of planes bound for Mineta San Jose International Airport.

For a similar reason, the FAA rejected a suggestion that altitude for planes at MENLO be raised to 5,000 feet. Such an action, the FAA countered in its report cannot be done "without jeopardizing the safe operation of each aircraft."

The FAA's November report noted that the higher the aircraft flies, the farther away from SFO it must travel to descend in the appropriate altitude for approach. The airspace around MENLO does not allow for the extra distance because it is "primarily responsible for aircraft landing and departing the San Jose airport."

Faced with few good options, the Policy and Services Committee agreed on Tuesday to pursue a broad strategy that includes building new alliances, increasing monitoring efforts and -- if necessary -- pursuing litigation.

Committee members and staff recognized that the problem is by no means unique to Palo Alto, though because of the convergence of various flights paths, the city's noise problems are particularly pronounced. Deputy City Manager Michelle Poche Flaherty noted that Palo Alto has had more people filing noise complaints over the past year than any other city -- a reflection of the fact that air traffic has grown significantly in recent years.

According to the most recent report from SFO's Aircraft Noise Abatement Office, Palo Alto had 213 people filing complaints in December 2017. Los Altos and Los Gatos were a distant second and third, with 169 and 147 noise reporters, respectively.

To grapple with the problem, the city has been forging new partnershps. The San Jose City Council has recently formed the Ad Hoc Committee on South Flow Arrivals to consider noise impacts from airplanes at San Jose International Airport. Palo Alto Councilwoman Lydia Kou represents the city on the committee.

Councilman Greg Scharff, meanwhile, is one of seven members on another ad hoc committee -- one that is trying to establish a permanent "Roundtable" group for Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, with a focus on noise issues relating to both San Francisco and San Jose airports. Speaking as a bloc would make it easier for local communities to express their concerns to the FAA, which is generally reluctant to deal with individual jurisdictions, Flaherty said.

Palo Alto officials have also been talking to mayors from nearby cities to communicate consistent messages to the FAA, according to a report from the Office of City Manager.

"The formation of one or more roundtable entities would provide a more effective, comprehensive and transparent means of establishing a regional position on airplane noise," the report states.

The council committee agreed that these memberships are worth pursuing, even as they also acknowledged that the city will need to do a lot more to make real progress. Councilman Tom DuBois noted that the interests of different cities in the region may not align.

"The communities that now have less noise aren't particularly eager to get it back," DuBois said.

DuBois and this three committee colleagues -- Chair Adrian Fine, Cory Wolbach and Karen Holman -- unanimously endorsed a set of recommendations presented by staff for addressing airplane noise. One was to request temporary noise monitoring from San Francisco International Airport. Another called for lobbying the FAA to implement those changes that it deemed feasible -- including making more use of the BDEGA east arrival route, which uses the Bay and largely avoids the city.

The committee also agreed, however, that the city should be prepared to sue, if needed. The council's motion included a provision that the council schedule a closed session to discuss its legal options.

If Palo Alto pursues litigation, it would join the company of cities like Newport Beach and Phoenix, which also recently challenged the FAA over "NextGen." Peter Kirsch, the attorney who worked on the Phoenix lawsuit, has been consulting with Palo Alto on its own response to the FAA, City Attorney Molly Stump told the committee Tuesday. Stump said her office is "watching and waiting," and she suggested that a lawsuit might be premature at this time.

"We do not have an actionable legal situation before us right now," Stump said.

The committee acknowledged the complexity of the problem. Wolbach, who last March was part of a delegation that traveled to Washington, D.C., to discuss airplane noise with FAA officials, noted that the council has no jurisdiction over the skies and that the best it can do is advocate for its citizens.

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Comments

16 people like this
Posted by Megan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 14, 2018 at 6:22 am

Small planes fly low over my house, (Channing/ Waverley...), neighborhood, between 3:45am-4:30am daily. Not cool. So low, so loud. I sure would appreciate flying times to be more prominent during daylight hours.


68 people like this
Posted by local guy
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 14, 2018 at 7:03 am

At the risk of making some locals angry, I can only say that I have never met a single other resident of this city who considers this a relatively important issue. We have horrible traffic (which fouls the air we all breath) that grows worse at an exponential rate, zero affordable housing, and we are saying that airplane noise is ruining our quality of life? Really? Rather than starting expensive litigation, could our city please consider spending our tax money on the real issues that are degrading the quality of life here for everyone?


7 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 14, 2018 at 7:12 am

Note that the city of Santa Monica has pursued legal action regarding the Santa Monica Airport - a regional airport and is successfully working a resolution. This is an airport that has a contingent of larger private jets related to the Beverly Hills/Bel Air and corporate/other citizens. Many are being moved to the Van Nuys Airport in the valley and the Burbank Airport has expanded their footprint to accommodate the private sector. San Jose has a newer private sector area in what used to be the parking lot on the west side.
Note another problem exists for SFO at peak traffic hours when arriving planes are directed to fly a go-around over the bay area to wait for a space in the queue of arriving jets. So any one plane at peak times can over fly more than once to wait for an assigned open gate. Staging of the traffic queue enters into the equation for resolution. Most airlines to be competitive need to arrive at peak times.


76 people like this
Posted by Health risks
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2018 at 7:31 am

"The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the first and only legitimate object of good government." --Thomas Jefferson

Thank you Council member Tom DuBois for asking about legal options and adding teeth to the City recommendation to work on airplane noise, and Karen Holman for saying that this is about Health. Council members Fine and Wolbach asked important questions about data and what more can be done to strengthen Council's ability to work on this.

Another resident speaker last night put it well - FAA has been dishonest with us. It's on those terms that we are now, surely we can do better with the billions spent on navigation technologies to route the planes over the Bay!

Web Link
Traffic Noise Linked to Increased CVD Risk

"An updated evidence review strengthens the concept that exposure to environmental noise from road traffic and aircraft may increase the risk for heart disease and gets at the potential underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms.[1]
Traffic noise has been shown in many studies to increase the risk for heart disease, but the precise mechanisms that lead to noise-induced heart disease have been unclear.

On the basis of their evidence review, Dr Thomas Münzel (Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany) and colleagues say it's becoming clear that transportation noise is associated with oxidative stress, vascular dysfunction, autonomic imbalance and metabolic abnormalities—potentially contributing to the development of cardiovascular risk factors, such as arterial hypertension and diabetes, as well as progression of atherosclerosis and increased susceptibility to cardiovascular events.

"Our review includes new studies with respect to epidemiology, noise, and cardiovascular disease with focus on new translational studies trying to explain why noise is causing vascular damage," Münzel told theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology. "I think there is no doubt anymore that chronic noise exposure, in particular nighttime noise, can cause coronary disease, heart failure, stroke, and arterial hypertension."

"New, in particular, are studies demonstrating that even one night of aircraft noise exposure can cause vascular (endothelial) dysfunction in healthy subjects," said Münzel. Nighttime noise has also been shown to decrease sleep quality and increase stress hormone levels.

"In patients with established coronary artery disease, the adverse effects of nighttime noise on vascular function were, as expected, even stronger," Münzel said.

In addition, the authors say a transcriptome analysis of aortic tissues from animals exposed to aircraft noise revealed changes in the expression of genes responsible for the regulation of vascular function, vascular remodeling, and cell death."


18 people like this
Posted by commonsense
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 14, 2018 at 7:38 am

[Post removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by AllYouCanEat
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 14, 2018 at 8:52 am

[Post removed.]


17 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2018 at 8:55 am

TBH, seldom do large jets bother me any more. There aren't any more Stage 1 or 2 jets flying into SFO these days, even the Stage 3 aircraft are gradually being replaced by Stage 4. I've -seen- new super-jumbo A380's glide over that I could barely detect by ear, what with all the traffic noise. Smaller regional jets are still sometimes fairly noisy, but, not bad if they stay at 6000 feet.

I'm puzzled, though, by the info in the article about what the FAA said about a 5000 ft ceiling at the point, because aircraft landing at SFO fly over at 6000 feet all the time. Since the FAA is solving a 3D problem, perhaps they could produce some images showing what they are doing.

In any case, I think smaller general aviation aircraft flying into/out-of Palo Alto and San Carlos seem to be what actually annoys people. At this point in time, noisy old small aircraft seem to be grandfathered in forever, and, because the airports are close, it sure would be nice if they could stay over the bay. Presumably that isn't always possible.

The reason I posted this is that I think it is important to identify which problem you are talking about: large aircraft approaching SFO, or, small general aviation aircraft to/from Palo Alto and San Carlos.


28 people like this
Posted by @local guy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2018 at 9:53 am

For someone who has "never met a single other resident of this city who considers this a relatively important issue" you sure found it important enough to chime in

As have "Anon" "AllYouCanEat" and "commonsense"

For the big picture - check out the news about how this is not just a Palo Alto problem, it's affecting cities around as far as the Sanat Cruz mountains and around the country.

Web Link


47 people like this
Posted by Duveneck
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 14, 2018 at 10:38 am

We moved to Palo Alto in 1970. No airport/airplane problems then and for many years following. I live between Embarcadero and Channing. The planes are so low on occasion that it is frightening. I will give you that the noise is, in general, less loud, though still very noticeable. Still, our house seems to be point central for jets. It is constant. For the first couple of years, I recorded the fly overs at Jetnoise, but it became all I was doing and I needed to get on with life. Still of great concern. Fortunately, some of you have been spared luck of the draw....


47 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 14, 2018 at 11:01 am

Some people are not bothered by it because they work outside of Palo Alto during the day. I live off of N. California/Louis Road and am a stay-at-home mom and began reporting the noise 3 years ago. Seriously, it's every 2 minutes. I cannot nap without the jets waking me up. They are too low, too often, too loud. It really is like living right next to an airport. The noise affects phone calls, television. The pollution and noise are adversely affecting our health, disrupting sleep and causing stress.


53 people like this
Posted by Fairness
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 14, 2018 at 11:02 am

Notwithstanding some dismissive comments here, the City is capable of tackling multiple problems at once - and SFO (and SJC) jet noise is a serious concern. Just because some people don't hear the planes proves the point: you probably aren't under an FAA-designated superhighway (or may be going deaf). Under NextGen, the FAA moved flight paths (with the accompanying noise AND emissions) from other cities to Palo Alto. The FAA did not properly warn us this was happening, nor conduct transparent and appropriate environmental studies. And the burden is measurable and severe. THREE flight paths converge over Palo Alto, accounting for 60% of SFO arrivals. According to SFO data, that's 300 planes/day. And I have logged some as low as 2,500 feet - well below the FAA's specified minimum altitude of 4,000 feet. The FAA's November report cited in the article was a joke and deserves to be challenged. The health and well-being of many in Palo Alto (even if you don't realize it) depends on it.


53 people like this
Posted by anne
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 14, 2018 at 11:06 am

We have been woken from early morning sleep by the planes. This never happened 3-5 years ago. This is a very disturbing trend. We are happy others in our community are concerned about it as well. The planes fly fairly low and are quite loud, even frightening at times.
The pollution noise and chemical they disperse is not measured, but should be. This situation seems to increase in the summer months. We hope this is investigated by our council members.
Thank you


23 people like this
Posted by Long-time resident
a resident of Southgate
on Feb 14, 2018 at 11:17 am

Sorry, but I think this is the most ridiculous, NIMBY issue I have ever heard from this community. I grew up in Palo Alto so I am a long time resident. I am retired so I am home most of the day and all night. And, yes, there is more airplane noise but there is also more traffic noise, more train noise. We live in an urban area that is getting more crowded all the time. Where would you have the planes go? If not our over our community, then where?


36 people like this
Posted by Duveneck
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 14, 2018 at 11:26 am

To long-time resident: you prove my point. If you don't live under the approach path, you aren't bothered. Nor do you have friends who live in the North PA neighborhoods. This isn't a NIMBY issue.


36 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 14, 2018 at 11:41 am

I live in south PA and the planes are directly overhead. They are using the PA Airport as a turn point both for San Jose when the wind direction dictates and a guide point for the SFO directed traffic. The overnight planes fly a lower altitude and the vibration goes to the ground. It is not just hearing it - it is feeling it vibrate. The inbound Hawaii night flights are around 4AM. Even if you are retired and deaf you can feel it. For what it is worth I like the Railroad noise.


22 people like this
Posted by Cat Mom Leonorilda
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 14, 2018 at 11:43 am

There are worse problems in Palo Alto, far worse than infrequent airplane noise. The never-relenting noise we experience in residential neighborhoods where large, for-profit, offices, ultra exorbitant rental units, and mega mansions are under construction, is way more disturbing than intermittent planes flying over the city. This noise is ongoing between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on a daily basis (oops, we should be thankful for an hour less on Saturdays!), and in many cases, such obscene, for profit, construction also contributes to traffic snarls (we need to "share the road," for construction that is to no one's benefit except the developers). None of this construction is aimed toward providing lower-income housing, for making Palo Alto a city that is a welcome home not only to the super rich but also to regular folks who work in the area. That's the really disturbing noise permeating our neighborhoods.


22 people like this
Posted by Chip
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 14, 2018 at 11:55 am

PA isn't the sleepy suburb of the '60s & '70s. Congratulations, growthers. You got what you wanted- more business, more housing, boom & bustle that make PA a SilVal center of influence. Hoorah!!

Gosh, funny that it means grocery stores have vanished along with small retail. And lo & behold, there are more cars, trains, buses, & airplanes feeding & supplying the megalopolis, getting the wealth-earning residents of the area in & out so everything can grow more & become even more important.

Oh, you didn't notice or anticipate that this might have unwanted effects on what we used to consider a lovely quality of life? [Portion removed.]

Rethink your votes for a development-oriented City Council . How many of these constant complainers work in & for businesses (or have spouses who do) which require air travel & transport? [Portion removed.]


15 people like this
Posted by free speach
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 14, 2018 at 12:19 pm

[Post removed.]


38 people like this
Posted by Health risks
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2018 at 12:26 pm

Whoever said the planes are "infrequent" may not know there are three commercial grade highways on top of Palo Alto.Four if you count SJC traffic.I

Nobody heard these planes before Nextgen

And you don't have to hear the noise to be affected by the problem.During public comment during the Select Committee an aviation professional commented,

"Over 10 million passengers fly over Palo Alto each year. Over 1 million gallons of fuel are burned (or partially burned) over us each year. That's the equivalent of 3000 18-wheeler diesel trucks thundering across Palo Alto every day!"


19 people like this
Posted by Donster
a resident of University South
on Feb 14, 2018 at 12:40 pm

The Palo Alto Weekly is dredging up this silly nonsense again? Sounds like muckraking to me, especially given that the paper has already visited this issue many times before.

Take a look at the December 2017 SFO Airport Director's Report. Looking at the Noise Reports section, it can bee seen that in almost every case, a tiny number of people are filing a huge number of complaints. [Portion removed.]

Web Link

Past commentary on the subject has included individuals rushing to the computer to track each and every airplane in the region. [Portion removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by Lan
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 14, 2018 at 12:42 pm

The problem of airplane noise is not new to the area. For all of the annoyance, anger, frustration, and now pending litigation focused on planes flying low over Palo Alto homes, the residents of East Palo Alto have to put up with excessive noise from airplanes taking off and landing at the Palo Alto Airport. The beautiful new Cooley Landing Park in EPA is right in the path and the airplanes are loud and persistent. If Palo Alto really wants to solve the problem of airplane noise, the City should look in its own background and make changes to the Palo Alto Airport flight patterns, factoring in the noise pollution this airport causes to the residents of East Palo Alto.


15 people like this
Posted by Donster
a resident of University South
on Feb 14, 2018 at 12:54 pm

"At the risk of making some locals angry, I can only say that I have never met a single other resident of this city who considers this a relatively important issue."

Other than here on Town Square, I have never heard anyone even mention it. Zero mentions in real life over several decades. That means it a non-issue for most people. The city should focus its time and energy dealing with more important issues.


30 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 14, 2018 at 1:10 pm

Airplane noise was a non-issue several years ago. We’ve lived here over a dozen years, so we know.
Then suddenly all these low planes were overhead. For a couple if years it was very bad.
Recently, it hasnt been that bad. I still don’t agree with the shift that occurred to place arriving aircraft square over Palo Alto before they turn up to SFO.
A definite change occurred. Someone (Southern San Mateo County like Atherton!?) pushed the route to Palo Alto. Those who mock Palo Altans for their justifiable reaction, or pretend this change didn’t occur, are flat out wrong. It is not ok, and the Palo Alto government officials should fix it. Someone powerful made this change, and it ought to be changed back to how it was previously.


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2018 at 1:15 pm

(Ambiguous name said some stuff)

I wrote:

>> The reason I posted this is that I think it is important to identify which problem you are talking about: large aircraft approaching SFO, or, small general aviation aircraft to/from Palo Alto and San Carlos.

I still think that. However, in the following discussion, people were clearly talking about SFO.

>> For someone who has "never met a single other resident of this city who considers this a relatively important issue" you sure found it important enough to chime in

>> As have "Anon" "AllYouCanEat" and "commonsense"

You are welcome!

>> For the big picture - check out the news about how this is not just a Palo Alto problem, it's affecting cities around as far as the Sanat Cruz mountains and around the country.

Thanks for the pointer. I will read it.

In the meantime, those with cell phones can download apps to both check on the altitude and flight path of monitored aircraft, and, measure their sound pressure level. In the discussion, it would be nice to know this information. For SPL, there is "Decibel X". For flight info, Flightradar24 and FlightAware have the needed info.

In my personal experience, diesel trucks (and diesel construction equipment), are the loudest and most polluting things I am exposed to. Aircraft do fly over constantly, but, they are not that noisy. Garbage trucks, for example, are extremely noisy, but then, many kinds of diesel trucks are. And, I am much more aware of their immediate pollution than the 300-500 jets that fly over every day.

P.S. An annoying small plane just flew nearby. I'm turning on the dB meter. A 777 is approaching on Flightradar24, now right over me, now peaked at a low rumble 35 dB. I now hear a diesel truck in the street nearby. The meter, which is set to dB(A) weighting, isn't perfect-- I still find small planes much more annoying at the same SPL than the rumble of jets. But, that's me. Here comes another 777 on Flightradar24, I'm waiting, now I can hear it, again at about 35 dB, altitude 4600 ft right here.

And, I am reminded again that street vehicle traffic, vehicle noise, and vehicle pollution are much more of an issue for me that these new, quiet jet transports. I would appreciate finding out from people at what dB level they really find disturbing.


11 people like this
Posted by Chip
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 14, 2018 at 1:17 pm

The residents of south Los Altos & Mountain View had it much worse during the period of active flights in & out of Moffett Field. Planes coming in from Asia routinely dumped excess fuel over that area, filled with homes, before landing.

[Portion removed.]


29 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 14, 2018 at 1:37 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

@Chip. Of course everyone can research the existing conditions. But you're missing the point. Many of the commenters clearly state that they've lived here many years. And they know exactly when the uptick in planes flying over their homes happened.

I live in Midtown. I am one of those who work during the day. I also have an air purifier on high to keep my allergies at bay. So I don't notice the noise myself. But it's not true that the only place this is discussed is on Town Square. I have friends in Midtown and other parts of Palo Alto who talk about it a lot. One friend and her husband say that they can't carry on a conversation at the dinner table in the summer when the windows are open.

I think it's a false argument to say that there are other issues for City Council to concentrate on. Of course there are other issues. There's no reason City Council can't work on this as well.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2018 at 1:58 pm

Posted by Novelera, a resident of Midtown

>> I have friends in Midtown and other parts of Palo Alto who talk about it a lot. One friend and her husband say that they can't carry on a conversation at the dinner table in the summer when the windows are open.

It would be useful to know what the sound pressure level (e.g. measured using Decibel X or another cell phone app) is that causes disruption, and, what the source is (airplanes, traffic, etc.), as well as the neighborhood or street. I, for one, would like to see specifics.


7 people like this
Posted by @ LAN Mt View
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2018 at 2:05 pm

Lan,

If you are concerned about East Palo Alto from PA airport noise, you should advocate opening up Moffet Field.

By closing Moffet, Mt View moved the noise to Palo Alto.


8 people like this
Posted by YP
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 14, 2018 at 2:17 pm

YP is a registered user.

Personally as a resident who lives across the freeway from Palo Alto airport I find the small planes and helicopters more annoying. Last night there was someone practicing touchdowns and takeoffs from 9pm to 10pm. Ugh!


25 people like this
Posted by Health Risks - no joke
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2018 at 3:28 pm

Anon, and local guy

The City must tackle both ground and air traffic issues.

See recent article (link below) about the health hazard from Transportation sources.

Unlike EIR's that are done for ground traffic, the standards for evaluating impacts from jet traffic need to be challenged because they woefully miss the target of what is an impact.

If you read to the end of the Washington Post article below

"Münzel is calling on lawmakers to change policies."

This makes sense because as is also noted in the article.

long-term noise pollution may also be linked to depression and anxiety disorders as well as problems with cognitive development in young children

This is no joke


See "Why car horns, planes and sirens might be bad for your heart"

Web Link

>>The roar of a jet plane, the rumble of a big rig, that shrill scream from the siren of a speeding emergency vehicle:

The common but loud noises that keep you awake at night and agitate you throughout the day may have a notable effect on your cardiovascular health, experts say.

Researchers say noise pollution may increase the risk of heart disease, such as coronary artery disease, hypertension and heart failure, according to a review paper published this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Why? The authors, who examined research on noise pollution and heart disease, say that loud sounds not only disrupt sleep, which can lead to health problems, but can also ignite the stress response, releasing a rush of hormones that, over time, can damage the heart.

“Ten years ago, people were saying that noise is just annoying, but now I think there’s considerable evidence that noise makes you sick, and one of the predominate diseases is cardiovascular disease,” lead author Thomas Münzel said Tuesday in a phone interview with The Washington Post.

The research does not prove that loud noises cause heart disease. But Münzel, with the cardiology center at the University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, told ABC News that noise pollution — or unwanted environmental noise — is a risk factor for heart disease in the same way that high cholesterol and obesity may increase the odds.

Those confronted with noise pollution, which causes disturbances to communication during the day and sleep at night, may have increased stress hormone levels, he said.

Over time, Münzel said, it can take a toll on the body — increasing cholesterol, blood pressure and heart rate. “If this persists for years, then you have a risk of coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure and arrhythmia,” he told The Post.

Münzel added that long-term noise pollution may also be linked to depression and anxiety disorders as well as problems with cognitive development in young children.<<


17 people like this
Posted by Croc Dundee
a resident of another community
on Feb 14, 2018 at 5:27 pm

I live near the San Jose airport, but hear very little airplane noise. I am willing to trade houses with a homeowner in Palo Alto who finds the airplane noises to be offensive to them. I believe that it is called a "Win Win"


25 people like this
Posted by E. Preston
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Feb 14, 2018 at 5:50 pm

There have been thousands of calls over the last few years re airplane noise confirmed by SFO via a phone call to me several months ago. Commercial, commuter (and the weekend private joy-riders), flights are for-profit businesses expanding and prospering at the expense of residents. It's a fact that ever-increasing flights are flying lower (therefore louder)over residential areas vs. higher and over the bay causing human and environmental damage; savings of time and fuel are minimal in comparison. This is a huge and growing problem impacting quality of life and without recourse for the ordinary citizen under criscrossing flight paths. It needs to elicit a regional response. Other cities have sued and won a reprieve. The FAA uses delaying tactics so those impacted will just give up over time. There's a large group of Palo Altans actively engaged in combating this growing assault.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2018 at 6:36 pm

Posted by E. Preston, a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove

>> There have been thousands of calls over the last few years re airplane noise confirmed by SFO via a phone call to me several months ago. ... It's a fact that ever-increasing flights are flying lower (therefore louder) ... This is a huge and growing problem impacting quality of life ... The FAA ...

Specifics?

Just this afternoon, while I was waiting for an appt I measured a gas-powered leaf blower at 75 dB about 150 ft away (I didn't stand that close or stay the whole time.) It lasted at least 20 minutes (and blew up a huge cloud of dust also).

Here is the ordinance, but, I don't know what the ambient SPL was, since the leaf blower was going the whole time. You couldn't hear the jets flying overhead.

Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by C Moor Butz
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 14, 2018 at 8:47 pm

[Post removed.]


59 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2018 at 10:12 pm

Our local elected representatives have been pretending to care about SFO bound aircraft noise for nearly four years now, while slow-walking concerned residents down a long garden path into a dark cave full of vampiric FFA bureaucrats.

The Democratic Party is not a democracy. The Party is an almost military like hierarchy where Party rank is determined by the ability to raise money and dole out endorsements. On the Peninsula the politicians with the real money and power to are in San Francisco, and they like the low-loud flight paths right where they are... over Los Altos, Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, and Union City.


14 people like this
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 15, 2018 at 3:35 am

And just where do you propose the planes fly over? If one looks at a map both the SF Airport and SJ Airport are surrounded by populated areas. If this NIMBY campaign is successful I guess the flights will go over other people's homes. Of course that will be fine with the Palo Alto complainers. Geez, get a life!


21 people like this
Posted by Health Risks - no joke
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2018 at 8:29 am

Congressional Anna Eshoo advises to report any excessive aircraft noise
Web Link

"As we work to resolve this issue, I first and foremost encourage you to report any excessive aircraft noise complaints to the SFO, SJC and OAK Noise Abatement Offices to ensure that your report is officially documented. The SFO Noise Abatement Office can be reached at (650) 821-4736, or via email at sfo.noise@flysfo.com. You can file an online complaint to the SJC Noise Abatement Office here. You can file a complaint to the OAK Noise Abatement Office here, or by calling (510) 563-6463. Your call will become part of the official record and official documentation."


A Noun Ea Mus,

" Of course that will be fine with the Palo Alto complainers. Geez, get a life!"

This issue is unfortunately not a mere annoyance problem, so when you say "get a life" for many of us - your neighbors this issue is real, it's about life itself.

Sleep deprivation from can cause serious damage. See "Why car horns, planes and sirens might be bad for your heart" Web Link

San Jose Airport enjoys a curfew at night from a grandfathered agreement so (in theory) the traffic in San Jose should not be a conflict to put the SFO planes over the Bay.


12 people like this
Posted by mphillips0310
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2018 at 9:51 am

mphillips0310 is a registered user.

It is absolutely ridiculous (and totally indicative of the complete and total lack of competency of our elected officials) that this issue has been going on as long as it has and has cost so much $ to research, examine, study blah blah blah.

JUST PUT IT BACK THE WAY IT WAS BEFORE NEXTGEN.


13 people like this
Posted by Cassidy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 15, 2018 at 10:23 am

Palo Alto residents chose to live near two major airports ( 3 if you count Oakland), multiple smaller regional airports, two widely used freeways (101 & 280), a choo choo train that cuts through the middle of the city, streets congested with traffic because senior city management and city council seem to think more housing and closing off streets is a good idea, compulsive residents who feel it's necessary to keep the appearance up and hire folks to blow leafs around their property and mow their lawns every 3 days, not to mention the dang neighbor dog who barks all day and night because someone thought it would be a great to add that into the mix.
Golly, so many things to complain about and so little time.


13 people like this
Posted by commonsense
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 15, 2018 at 10:44 am

Cassidy
I totally agree but be prepared to have your post removed because it docent adequately sympathize with the fragile needs of the few who have little concern for the needs of many ....

In reality the traffic on Embarcadero is a far larger concern than ANY AIR Traffic.
Oh and by the way most if not all of the decision makers and politicians are flying weekly on both commercial and private air !

Like or comment quickly because the overly sensitive moderator is on the prowl ;-)


6 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2018 at 10:46 am

Posted by Cassidy, a resident of Old Palo Alto

>> a choo choo train that cuts through the middle of the city

Hi Cassidy, maybe you can answer a question I've had for a while. For the last decade or so, right-wing folks have referred to trains as "choo-choo trains". Do you know who popularized this usage and when? Back in the day, "choo-choo train" was affectionate, but, now it is used in a derogatory way. Is there a reason why right-wing folks particularly like to deprecate rail transportation?

--

Back on topic: several people have pointed out inconsistencies in what the FAA apparently has said about NextGen:

For example, the San Jose airport seems to have been operating just fine before NextGen routing, so why is it now unsafe to return to the previous flight paths?

Previous flight paths had aircraft gradually descending in idle over the Santa Cruz mountains and approaching SFO on a generally steeper descent (according to one article), so, how can NextGen be both faster and more fuel efficient if descents are sooner and then there is more powered flight at lower altitudes closer to SFO? It doesn't seem to add up.

Does anyone have a web link for some kind of FAA or other report which illustrates how the new NextGen routing works?


38 people like this
Posted by It is real
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 15, 2018 at 10:50 am

This impacts many people, probably mostly those under the narrow flight paths.

Even three blocks away, the impact is far less; and beyond that, often almost negligible.

I am trying to grasp the perspective of those who do not experience this problem, and seek to belittle the issue and berate those who are trying to do something about it.

My house is 20 miles from sfo. It’s about as far away from an airport as one can be on the peninsula. Any other place will be closer to one major airport or another. I bought it because it was quiet.

Is there an argument that says everyone who lives on the peninsula should expect no quiet mornings or afternoons? Quiet nights? Or a constant increase in jet fuel pollution and resulting cancer risks?


8 people like this
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 15, 2018 at 12:38 pm

[Post removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by bemused
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 15, 2018 at 12:45 pm

To Anon of another palo alto neighborhood who recommended Decibel X:

I've just installed it. I live in the Gardens neighborhood in East Palo Alto and the jets over my house are registering in the 60-80 DB range, as measured outside. The planes are often below 4000 ft. During peak hours they are easily every 2-5 minutes. Without the jets, the outdoor noise level is around 45 DB. I just got the app, though, so it's possible I don't have something set correctly.


24 people like this
Posted by MVresident2003
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2018 at 12:52 pm

MVresident2003 is a registered user.

I too live directly under the flight path and while lately it has not been much of an issue, over the past several years there have been times that it's unbearable. Unable to keep windows/doors open, can't hear TV/radio let along have a phone conversation. It truly is awful and I really don't understand those of you who are belittling this issue.

And as others have said repeatedly, this is NEW noise, it wasn't this way prior to the NEXTGEN change. If it had been this way since we moved here we wouldn't be complaining but this is new and it's affecting lives.


19 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 15, 2018 at 12:56 pm

The FAA in early February started a short trial of a new flight path for planes coming from the east and south so that they enter the SFO flight path near Big Sur, over Monterey Bay. This was a change advocated by residents of the southern Santa Cruz communities such as Aptos. I'm sure it gives them some relief, but for residents near the MENLO waypoint it has zero effect. I track overflights most evenings. The typical flight elevation near the Menlo Park/Palo Alto border near 101 is 3,500 to 5,000 feet. The noise is incessant and is bad at all hours. Even enforcing the 5,000 lower elevation would be an improvement, but dispersing the incoming flights and raising the elevation is the only solution that will help.


28 people like this
Posted by Fairness
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 15, 2018 at 2:33 pm

To *commonsense* (and others belittling the jet noise problem) -- it's interesting how little regard you have for the real suffering of many of your neighbors (assuming you in fact live in Palo Alto). It is a fact that the FAA concentrated and moved flight paths over our heads. We do not expect to do away with all noise, we just ask for a fair and reasonable solution. I actually agree with your point about Embarcadero traffic; so what are you doing about it other than just playing the 'what about' game in this forum? I myself recently spoke at Supervisor Simitian's hearing re my concerns with Stanford's latest growth plan, and specifically about increased traffic on Embarcadero. Again, the point is there are a number of health/quality of life issues in this City that can be addressed concurrently. And no, I don't need to move out of the Bay Area if I don't like it (especially since I grew up and have family here).


24 people like this
Posted by Karen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2018 at 3:43 pm

It always give me a chuckle when those who are not bothered by the noise feel such a need to chime in. If you are not bothered by the topic of the article, then perhaps you could find an article somewhere else worthy of commenting on.


31 people like this
Posted by AppreciativeCitizen
a resident of University South
on Feb 15, 2018 at 4:47 pm

Thank you to Palo Alto online for the airplane noise article and monitoring this important topic negatively impacting not just Palo Alto but the bay area region as well as across the United States such as Phoenix, Baltimore, Newport Beach, and more. This has been going on for years and we appreciate your continuing coverage of what matters to citizens. Kudos!


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2018 at 10:49 am

The FAA website for NextGen is here:

Web Link

The FAA description seems to suggest that NextGen would result in more dispersed approach paths, rather than the more concentrated paths that people here are describing. From what we are reading in this thread, it sounds like almost every plane on approach to SFO converges on a path over the Gardens neighborhood in EPA.

Does anyone know of an analysis available online that explains the discrepancy?


6 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 16, 2018 at 5:06 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

This might be the main issue to people on the ground:

THE FAA IS DESIGNED TO HELP PROMOTE AVIATION; The only time the FAA gets involved with people on the ground is when an aircraft falls to the ground. An example of this is the TESLA Engineers lost when their aircraft hit the power lines and literally fell into my former backyard in EPA.

You might have better luck by talking to the NTSB which can order the FAA to make changes.

" The Sound of Freedom " was an issue when we bought a house near Moffett Field. I understand that a plane actually crashed near the location of our present day house in Mountain View. Many much noisier aircraft were tested there as part of the work done by NASA. I could identify older warbirds from the sound their engines made when they flew over our house in Mtn. View.

When I went to Aviation Ground School ( back in my day, ultralight aircraft needed no pilot's license to fly an ultralight ), I quickly learned how all the airports had the " inverted wedding cake ATC controlled air space. Flight Control is handed to the Oakland Air Traffic Control Center that controls the " Highway in the Sky " . Again, these people are responsible for higher flying airplanes. I got to tour the SFO tower and both the Oakland and Longmont ATCCs. ( this was before 9/11 changed the rules )

Remember that the FAA's job is to promote aviation, NOT LISTEN TO NOISE COMPLAINTS!!! Anything that hinders their goal of promoting flying MAY NOT BE HEARD. Since the NTSB deals with SAFETY issues, you might have a better audience.

NEXTGEN is removing the over the bay option for landing the " heavies " that used to fly over the bay to land at SFO. One of the landing beacons was atop the San Mateo bridge. Flying below 1500' over residential areas was strictly forbidden. the only way you could do this Landing Part is by an ATC in their controlled airspace. NEXTGEN is to streamline the SFBA airspace.

The real problem is someone wants to keep the way things are being done, that may mean the NTSB must get involved. The NTSB has broad powers and are called into actionat any railroad or flying accident; ultimately, the NTSB CAN make changes the FAA MUST follow. This is what I was taught in Aviation Ground School.

One thing I am certain of; if a drone is flying at 1500 feet and it gets into a turbofan engine, the first question asked by the NTSB on the accident scene is " Who told the pilot to fly so low? " THEN there would be changes in the NEXTGEN system. Four years is a long time for our government to ignore the people they are supposed to serve.


7 people like this
Posted by HitTheMoney
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2018 at 6:30 pm

Don't fly or ship by air unless your back is to the wall - funeral, boss says you're fired if you Skype rather than flap your jaws face to face, etc. This industry will do "the right thing" - fly like it used to - if those running it get the message, the MONEY message, that doing this to us will have financial consequences. Our "elected" officials (come on, what are our ballot choices really? this isn't democracy, it's a plutocracy) have overall sold their constituents down the river on this. We don't need them to get the message. HIT THE MONEY PEOPLE! Do you care about flying and shipping by air on demand more than living a long healthy life? Your choice.


4 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 16, 2018 at 8:06 pm

@Karen said

"It always give me a chuckle when those who are not bothered by the noise feel such a need to chime in. If you are not bothered by the topic of the article, then perhaps you could find an article somewhere else worthy of commenting on."

So only those who agree with your point of view are allowed to comment here? Those who are intolerant of dissent would do well to avoid Town Square, where dissent seems to be the order of the day.

Hey everyone, we live in the heart of Silicon Valley, the largest scientific-industrial complex in the world. It has been so for 40 years. Does anyone seriously expect that there will not be a high demand for air travel and plenty of planes in our skies? If so, that would be a very unreasonable expectation. [Portion removed.]

The jetliners currently flying over Palo Alto are much, much quieter than aircraft that were flying overhead 40 years ago. Even way back then, nobody mentioned anything about airplane noise in Palo Alto. If it really is an issue, I would expect to have heard complaints about it in the real life. I have not heard even one. That tells me most people in town could not care less about the issue. [Portion removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by priorites count
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 16, 2018 at 8:28 pm

In reply to Karen (a half dozen posts above).

It's a matter of priorities for our community. If you start talking about litigation (not just private citizens lobbying the FAA) paid for by our tax dollars, then anyone (bothered or not by the airplane noise) is allowed to chime in on the topic, not just those who are bothered by it. When I drive to work in the morning I routinely see homeless people who have spent the night on our streets freezing at this time of year. Is their welfare (in this city of overpriced housing with limited resources) less important than the noise put out by the jets that are headed into SFO? Well, if we are headed to court on this matter, that's the kind of question you have to think about this evening when you go to bed in your comfy Palo Alto home.


15 people like this
Posted by Health risks - no joke
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2018 at 11:48 pm

priorities,

It's not a competition. Someone suffering from health issues aggravated by SFO noise will care about homelessness and other serious problems and priorities, possibly work on these issues. We have generous and engaged people in Palo Alto who lead on local, national, and world issues.

Something as simple as getting sleep matters for productivity, especially in a knowledge economy. There are youth, and children and elderly affected.

Noise pollution being imposed on Palo Alto and neighbors with the new Nextgen system is not a minor inconvenience.

See news from other communities - and concerns about air quality

Web Link

"Face to Face with the FAA"

"AIR QUALITY

It has long been recognized that air quality is significantly better in the mountains than in the cities and suburbs extending from the Pacific Ocean to the foothills. The mountain air does contain ozone, but has been notably free of particulate matter – until recently. With low-flying airplanes, the air is now affected by the presence of nitric oxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter from jet engine pollution.

The microscopic particles in particular are carcinogenic. They can’t get out of the lungs and, subsequently, pass into the blood stream, circulating throughout the body. They threaten to cause cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, while exacerbating existing conditions such as asthma.

Larry Reider is a professional engineer who focuses on chemical engineering, health risk issues and air emissions. He estimated that, eventually, the numerous planes per day over Lake Arrowhead will burn 3,400 tons of fuel and will create 1/4 ton of carcinogenic soot that will descend upon the mountain below.

Jerry Maloney, Ph.D., emphasized that the particulates contribute to premature death in people with heart or lung disease; nonfatal heart attacks and irregular heartbeats; aggravated asthma and decreased lung function; increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficultly breathing; skin rashes and tumors."


2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 17, 2018 at 12:31 am

Boeing has been my best investment over the past 12 months. Up 100 percent!
How else can I keep up with cost of living here?


29 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2018 at 5:21 am

Does anyone remember when the Democratic Party was the Party that protected people from polluting industries? Now the Democratic Party IS the polluting industry.

SFO is a for-profit industrial facility owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco that contributes $45+ Million per year into the City and County of San Francisco's general fund. The low-flying aircraft spraying the communities of East Palo Alto, Palo Alto, Los Altos and Union City with noise and un-burned hydrocarbons are a byproduct of the operation of the industrial facility also known as SFO.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is essentially the board of directors of the industrial facility also known as SFO and the Mayor of San Francisco is the chairman of SFO's board. San Francisco's board of supervisors are all Democrats and they are the only local politicians that can do anything about SFO arrival pollution because they ARE the industry the FAA was chartered to serve.

In the the nearly four years since the noise pollution started with the implementation of the FAA's airport friendly "nextgen" scheme, has perennial Democratic Party functionary and current Palo Alto Mayor Liz Kniss ever called the Mayor of San Francisco (or any SF Supervisor) to see what they could do end the polluting of Palo Alto and other Santa Clara County cities by SFO?

Why not?


11 people like this
Posted by Professorville Resident
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 17, 2018 at 9:28 am

For those claiming folks who are impacted are NIMBYs.

You're missing the point-- the issue is not the number of planes.
The issue is where and how they've changed their routes.

They fly much lower (this has a *squared* effect on noise and vibration).
They fly in a much more concentrated path (the planes used to be spread out across Palo Alto, now they repeatedly fly over the same homes most every time).

Whereas before you'd get a loud jet once every hour or so, now you get the, once every 5 minutes.

It isn't about the number of jets (hint: it didn't change). It is about how they've changed where they're flying


8 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 17, 2018 at 10:15 am

The change in the aircraft jet noise affecting Palo Alto is actually worse than Professorville Resident says. The approach pattern to SFO used to be spread out not only in Palo Alto, but even more significantly, across the entire north Peninsula. Years ago, San Mateo County residents and cities (including most prominently Atherton). The various lobbying, political agreements and San Mateo city efforts resulted in the air traffic that used to be spread out over the entire San Mateo and north Santa Clara County area to be concentrated in the first city south of the SMC/SCC line: our Palo Alto.

Professorville Resident is correct that the nextGen system concentrates flights over a smaller subset of residents, but it's not only the traffic that used to be spread out over Palo Alto that we get here; it's also most of the traffic that used to bother politically powerful and richer Atherton and other San Mateo county cities.

That's why those here who complain that we who are objecting to jet noise are trying to stop flights into SFO, or etc are wrong. The proper solution to this vexing issue is to dilute the impact of SFO now destroying Palo Alto's peace and quiet by re-spreading some of it back over San Mateo County from whence it came.


26 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2018 at 12:34 pm

@Mary.

The FAA is never going to spread the planes out all over the Peninsula because that would defeat the whole purpose of the FAA's "nextgen" scheme.

The whole reason the "nextgen" scheme exists is to increase airport throughput and profits by organizing aircraft into nice orderly, evenly, and closely packed lines before the planes even enter the Bay Area airspace managed by SFO based air traffic controllers. The FAA believes "nextgen" will eventually let air traffic control reduce the minimum spacing between SFO bound aircraft from 6 miles to 2 miles.

The City and County of San Francisco collects a landing fee from every commercial plane that lands at SFO and an airport tax from every passenger.

Cha-ching!


2 people like this
Posted by Donster
a resident of University South
on Feb 17, 2018 at 1:11 pm

If it's a slow news day, just dump an airplane noise article in the paper...

"You're missing the point-- the issue is not the number of planes.
The issue is where and how they've changed their routes."

No, you're missing the point. Why should everyone's tax dollars be wasted on a lawsuit for an issue of importance only to a tiny handful? The money and spending priorities should be aligned towards things that impact large numbers of community members. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few - or the one.

That link you posted was from a San Bernardino newspaper. Let them deal with their own problems, Palo Alto has enough on its plate as it is.

"The FAA description seems to suggest that NextGen would result in more dispersed approach paths, rather than the more concentrated paths that people here are describing."

True, but if the anti-airplane folks here were to admit that, then they wouldn't have anything to complain about. I think that you are quite correct in asking for real world data on airplane noise.

"There are youth, and children and elderly affected."

Can you quantify that? How many people are affected? Two? Three? 50,000? From what study was this data gathered? A few people going bananas on a forum somewhere does not constitute a valid study.

[Portion removed.]


13 people like this
Posted by Health Risks - no joke
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2018 at 2:44 pm

Donster,

Pollution is usually weighed against economic interests or the "greater good."

A few people suffering may not be worth the trouble to you. Nobody can show a majority affected by SFO noise because SFO/Nextgen pollutes selectively.

A well funded aviation lobby that is all powerful stands with the majority.

If Palo Alto goes to court, it won't be for the majority, it will be if it stands to protect lives.


1 person likes this
Posted by HitTheMoney
a resident of another community
on Feb 17, 2018 at 3:29 pm

There’s no hope when this far into NextGen people are still saying the same things (nationwide problem people).

Pro unfettered aviation expansion:
Move if you don’t like it
NIMBY
The airport was here first
First world problem
Buy earplugs
Turn up the TV
It doesn’t bother me…

Con noise and air pollution from unfettered aviation:
Our street, neighborhood, community is unfairly burdened
Spread the burden
Spread the pain
Spread the suffering
Spread the noise and air pollution more fairly

So far we’ve got no problem with what’s proven to be a detriment to human health or those who want that detriment spread around more.

NextGen trashed abatement procedures like humane altitudes and ascent/descent angles, curfews, capacity limits and so on. Politicians are mainly in the pockets of industry. And too many people want to fly and ship by air on demand and suffer none of the consequences. Our skies are packed throughout our country will low altitude aircraft because flying ultimately matters more than human health.

At least for now… But we keep hearing our politicians talking on and on about climate change, and flying all over the globe to drone on about it.
Lawsuits where the FAA uses public money to fight the public on behalf of a private industry is not going to solve this. Planes don’t fly without passengers. No lawsuit required.


38 people like this
Posted by Fairness
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 17, 2018 at 3:45 pm

To *anon* and *donster* -- where exactly on the FAA website does it say NextGen is intended to result in more dispersed flight paths? The only relevant reference I find is: "Satellites enable the FAA to create optimum routes anywhere in the NAS for departure, cruising altitude, approach and arrival operations" -- that's federal agency-speak for the "optimum routes" are now right over our heads, at increasingly lower altitudes. And if this issue is only important to "a few, or one" -- why was "airplane noise" by far the most oft-cited concern noted in the online survey conducted before the City Council's annual priorities meeting? If you had attended any of the Select Committee's hearings, or even read its report, you would have seen the "real world data" on jet noise. [Portion removed.]


9 people like this
Posted by Fairness
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 17, 2018 at 7:06 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Donster
a resident of University South
on Feb 18, 2018 at 12:20 am

[Post removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2018 at 12:37 am

resident3 is a registered user.

Palo Alto is not intolerable, the SFO and airport noise noise dump is.

Not a waste to make Palo Alto skies quiter and cleaner.

If Newport Beach sued, Palo Alto is worth it too.


Like this comment
Posted by Donster
a resident of University South
on Feb 18, 2018 at 1:02 am

"Not a waste to make Palo Alto skies quiter and cleaner."

They are already quiet and clean.

"If Newport Beach sued, Palo Alto is worth it too."

[Portion removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2018 at 1:29 am

resident3 is a registered user.

Donster,

No monkey business, just pointing out that other cities have found it not wasteful to sue.

Is your worry about cost?

First it was the majority are not affected, now it’s denial of a problem (which does not affect you), you need “world data” to prove that others hear what you don’t.

That’s a lot of time you are spending on this.



Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 18, 2018 at 2:18 am

@Professorville Resident, re: altitude *squared* effect on noise and vibration --

May be technically true regarding an idealized point-source, but a flyover is more like a line-source, where the noise integrated along the entire path falls off as 1/R rather than 1/R-squared. Light intensity will do the same thing as you move away from a long fluorescent tube rather than a discrete lightbulb.

What's more, if the entire sky were filled with aircraft paths over a prolonged time interval, it becomes an area-source, where the integral is mathematically independent of R. Of course other attenuation effects will always make higher altitudes quieter, but improvement may not be all that's expected.


Like this comment
Posted by Donster
a resident of University South
on Feb 18, 2018 at 5:15 pm

"First it was the majority are not affected, now it’s denial of a problem (which does not affect you), you need “world data” to prove that others hear what you don’t."

I simply said that the skies are quiet and clean. I am not the one making the claim that a problem exists. Since those who claim there is a noise problem have yet to provide any hard evidence, their claims remain unfounded. And yet people are expected to believe such claims. They could always commission a study (on their own dime, not ours) if they want this proof.

Yes, for me it is about the money. More than that it is about draining time and resources from solving more pressing issues.

You say I am spending a lot of time on this, but it is a try fraction of the time that a select few spend trying to clear airplanes from our skies. Is there something more to all of this than airplane noise? It seems that way to me. What is this really all about?


15 people like this
Posted by bemused
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 18, 2018 at 6:04 pm

@Donster,

"I simply said that the skies are quiet and clean."

We have numerous spare the air days every year. I don't think that would be necessary if the 'skies' were clean.

I posted that I get readings of 60-80 dB when SFO jets fly over my house. Why does that not count as hard evidence?

@Anon, why after saying you would consider measurements with Decibel X to be close enough, do you ignore my results? I went to the trouble of paying $5 for the app and taking measurements, but because you don't like my results and are determined to insist there is no problem, you then pivot the conversation by putting words in my mouth that 'every' SFO plane flies over my house. You have no credibility at this point, at all, whatsoever.


23 people like this
Posted by MeThink
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 18, 2018 at 6:33 pm

Just like there are Russian trolls on social media, I believe that we might have FAA/airline industry trolls on this discussion thread.


26 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2018 at 7:00 pm

@Donster,

You are lucky you cannot hear the jet noise (for whatever reason), but for the people who who have a commercial jet whining or rumbling over their home every 5-10 minutes, it is all about the noise.

You seem to be unaware of the fact that local scientists have proven the shifting of flight paths from southern San Mateo County to Palo Alto and the shift from higher to lower altitudes through the analysis of over a decade of digitized radar flight data obtained from the FAA through a FOIA request. Yes, the FAA continuously records and stores the flight path and altitude of every commercial flight entering bay area airspace.

The noise has also been measured by a team of local volunteer scientists with advanced degrees and professional equipment, and the measurements proved the noise is real, frequent, and in many cases well in excess of 65dB.

You don't seem to get it. You are the one that is isolated, ill informed, and making claims unsupported by scientific data.

If you have an alternate theory to explain the noise, what is it? Do you think the people reading your posts can also read your mind?


15 people like this
Posted by 80 DB in East Palo Alto
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2018 at 8:07 pm

bemused in East Palo Alto,

"I posted that I get readings of 60-80 dB when SFO jets fly over my house."

the app STOP JET NOISE at stop.jetnoise.net will show what overflights are causing the raucus, at what altitudes

With over 300 planes going over the same area, this is neither quiet or clean or fair!


13 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 19, 2018 at 11:00 am

Which part of town is experiencing this problem? I see planes flying (large commercial jets and small prop planes); however, I haven't felt that the noise is a big problem. I hear the traffic and train more than anything flying overhead (other than the occasional helicopter).

Are people saying that they can hear the planes inside of their homes? At night?

I live in Midtown close to Alma. The noise from CalTrain, the freight trains and morning/evening commute is loud (particularly from those driving 55-60mph on Alma's 35mph speed limit). Yes, I can hear a plane every once in a while. However, it isn't even remotely as loud as other noises that are much more frequent.


7 people like this
Posted by @ Nayeli
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2018 at 1:52 pm

Nayeli,

"the problem" which may not affect you is something that has been debated hotly on these threads since "the problem" began in 2014. After some investigation, the "problem" has been acknowledged by the Federal Aviation Administration and they are working on it.

Because select paths affect select areas in multiple cities in several counties and several congressional districts, there is another sort of "problem" about how to go about fixing the problem. The City of Palo Alto is in a ground zero situation (with three paths) so it can't exactly bury their head in the sand. It's not a simple problem to resolve, it takes time. Someone in a part of East Palo Alto, may have more in common with someone in Old Palo Alto than someone in Midtown with someone in Old Palo Alto - just depends where you are.

The particulate matter pollution has not been studied enough yet, could be that you get particulate pollution (when the wind blows it affects different people differently) or not.

If you consider some of the problems that are out there - achievement gap, russian interference (no offense to russian friends), fake stories on social media attracting young minds with garbage, guns, sexual harassment, they are not a problem for everyone, but they are taken up as a problem as a society and HOW we deal with the problem says much about who we are and what we care about.

Denial is not an option with some problems and one that is in your ears and in your face day in and day out is not simple to ignore. For many people - elderly, youth, and sick people you can't even just pick up and move.




Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2018 at 2:51 pm

SFO has a noise abatement section on the website. (I don't know how useful it is, just noting it.)

Web Link


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 19, 2018 at 8:14 pm

@Anon, the "Live Flight Tracking" at that SFO link appears to be 16 minutes delayed. I prefer the Flightradar24 site which is practically real-time so you can find the airplane going overhead "right now".


Like this comment
Posted by Donster
a resident of University South
on Feb 19, 2018 at 9:18 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Donster
a resident of University South
on Feb 19, 2018 at 9:22 pm

Here is the link to the SFO Airport Director's Report, which is also above:

Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 19, 2018 at 10:00 pm

@Donster, misplaced virgule in that web address, try Web Link

Yes I have way too much time on my hands...


18 people like this
Posted by Wasting my breath?
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 19, 2018 at 10:15 pm

Wasting my breath? is a registered user.

I know it's been said many times, but the noise is real. Folks who think we report one plane every two hours obviously don't get it. Folks who think we have too much time on our hands also don't get it. And folks who think we enjoy moving the phone from the kitchen to the nightstand so we can report the late-night ones -- also don't get it.

It would be so nice if people who don't experience the noise would quit insisting that no one else is either. I report just a small fraction of the planes that bug me, because it is such a pita. Consider that.


9 people like this
Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2018 at 10:42 pm

resident3 is a registered user.


The rule is that less than 1% of affected people complain.

Complaints are required for FAA to identify problems and elected representatives ask for complaints as well.

If laws are broken, or abused, our federal government is better for it if challenged. Lawsuits are not a waste if it makes government better.

I don’t want my taxes to support law breaking.


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Posted by Donster
a resident of University South
on Feb 19, 2018 at 11:32 pm

[Post removed.]


15 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 19, 2018 at 11:49 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Wait until it warms up and you have your windows open again to say it's nonsense. The late night / early morning flights are particularly annoying.


5 people like this
Posted by Donster
a resident of University South
on Feb 20, 2018 at 9:36 am

"The rule is that less than 1% of affected people complain."

That "rule" is known to be the case where? So few people complain therefore a lot of people are affected?

Look, you guys make assertions unsupported by facts. You have been given the means to back up those assertions with real world sound measurements. Why would you not do so? If you could demonstrate that plane noise is at problematic sound levels, then of course I would support spending money and doing whatever it takes to fix the problem.

"Wait until it warms up and you have your windows open again to say it's nonsense. The late night / early morning flights are particularly annoying."

I nearly always sleep with my windows open in the summer. The most noticable noise is the AC from surrounding residences and housing towers. The planes only make the occasional whoosh as they throttle down their engines.

@Wasting my breath?, yes you are wasting your breath, and I am wasting mine. There is no point in debating this further until you come back with the Decibel X measurements.


10 people like this
Posted by MVresident2003
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 20, 2018 at 9:42 am

MVresident2003 is a registered user.

Donster, come on over to my neighborhood where you can look straight up and see the belly of the plane. I'd be glad to stand with you and explain the detailed logistics of the new flights paths however it would be difficult to have the conversation over the noise.

Seriously. Until you come stand at the Dell/Victory intersection in Monta Loma during a busy flight time you have no right to post another word


3 people like this
Posted by HitTheMoney
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2018 at 10:07 am

After 3 years serving time filing complaints, 1 per day for my household because if you don’t complain then there’s no problem, right?, and if you complain for every low and loud flight that passes over your roof it’d be a 24/7 job and you’d be a "whiner" and a "loony" etc.--well, not at the beginning would you be mad but you’d go mad if you did this, and if you do your bit, the 1 per day per household then there really isn’t much of a problem right because the numbers don’t lie. Is anybody seeing how you can’t win here? The airport says the FAA controls the skies, but you’re supposed to complain to the airport... You complain to the FAA and they say their responsibility is safety and efficiency in airspace use and design. Elected officials say they need you to file complaints with the airport so they know there’s a problem or to complain to the FAA. Round and round they make you go as they cater to the aviation industry at the expense of human health and the environment. Don’t even get me started on these time-wasting roundtables and committees, another eat up constituents time and energy and call for endless studies.

Bombard your elected officials if you bother complaining at all; the veneer of representation is very thin you’ll find. Did that for 3 years too. This is the United States or Industry of by and for profit. Engage your “reps” long enough on this serious nationwide issue and it’ll get harder and harder to delude yourself that we’re represented, that this is democratic rather than plutocratic government.

While posters want to point out how few people complain, how about the shamefully low voter turnout? Because people don’t care or because they see that the vote in itself is meaningless, is in itself powerless, if it doesn’t translate to representation for the greater good of society as a whole?

From personal experience, I will not waste anymore of what little energy and time I’ve got after sleep is trashed as well as concentration and relaxation from this endless pummeling above from aircraft. And oh, don’t you love the talk of insulation and shutting your windows and running a fan/AC etc. as a solution like we have no right to any kind of quality of life except to be shut-ins. Home, car, office, car, home shut-ins. Work and consume products is your sole destiny.

Don’t fly or ship by air unless your back is to the wall. Hit this industry's profits, the only thing it cares about, and see how fast you get results. A little sacrifice can go a long way. They don't like to lose a dime, but millions of Americans can lose their quality of life and health so they can make more and more money.

Flood elected officials with complaints if you bother at all. And if you’ve got the resources, or pulled resources, sue the airlines and flight schools and chartered flight companies etc. It’s their money and influence pushing this endless hell. And its their poodles in Congress that have legislated so we're powerless to stop it unless that same Congress finally legislates for us instead of this industry and turns this around.


8 people like this
Posted by Health Risks - no joke
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2018 at 10:49 am

Donster,

"Look, you guys make assertions unsupported by facts. You have been given the means to back up those assertions with real world sound measurements. Why would you not do so? If you could demonstrate that plane noise is at problematic sound levels, then of course I would support spending money and doing whatever it takes to fix the problem."

Ditto for FAA.

FAA does not measure noise
FAA does not have real world metrics
FAA does not have facts to support a 65 DNL threshold for noise harm while the rest of the world uses 55 DNL. See World Health Organization
FAA looks only at "annoyance" impacts, not health, not sleep, not impacts on children

With this backdrop, FAA/airlines/airports plopped a "modern" system which had people noticing that somethings was foul right away.

In 2014-2015 when noise complaints shot up in Palo Alto, it was a year when SFO operations were down. You should do this research yourself. Go to the SFO Noise Abatement website you are posting about (do you work there?)and look for SFO Arrivals Operations.

The increase in noise was not explained by increase in traffic.

Don't let this knowledge go to waste, keep getting more informed. You won't find any Health Info on the SFO noise abatement office though.



8 people like this
Posted by HitTheMoney
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2018 at 11:28 am

BTW, I'm not knocking the sue FAA approach. Just saying people need to recognize that this agency is captured, it's a tool, but if that's the only way to get members of Congress to respond, to legislate to right the wrong they unleashed then so be it. Those complaining about wasting public money need to do a little spreadsheet and calculate public money spent suing the FAA vs. public money propping up the aviation industry. This industry is subsidized to the gills. Or, as is said about the common person, it's been riding the welfare gravy train a LONG time...

So, lawsuits against the FAA pale in comparison. Those frequent flyer programs? You think you're getting a deal? Only on the surface.

Congress is floating your billions to the FAA which in turn floats those billions to this industry. What a deal! And your seats get smaller and smaller, your "leg room"--what's that?, people with animal allergies too bad, while airlines are designing hotel rooms on planes for the 1% or anyone in the 99% foolish enough to drop that kind a cash on this ostentatious nonsense.

Anyway, seeing Phoenix sue and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agree with the city's claims, ruling the FAA’s changes to flight paths and procedures, as part of the nationwide NextGen program, arbitrary and capricious was the first satisfying taste of what can happen when people stand up. Yes, a minority. But then wasn't it a minority that has made up every significant movement in history, civil right's and the environmental movement that resulted in the establishment of the EPA in the 1970s that's being eviscerated. So here we go, the most polluting form of transportation is running amok. The court in the Phoenix case also held that the FAA violated the National Historic Preservation Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Transportation Act, its own rules under the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 by categorically excluding the procedures from environmental review, even though the actions were likely to be highly controversial on environmental grounds. Instead, the FAA found the NextGen procedure were not likely to be highly controversial for the environment and therefore did not merit an environmental review. The court rightly found the determination arbitrary and capricious, and noted that the idea that a change with these effects would not be highly controversial was so implausible it could not reflect reasoned decision making. And when the FAA argued the Phoenix sites were not generally recognized as quiet settings because of their urban location, the court disagreed. "That isn't enough. Even in the heart of a city, some neighborhoods might be recognized as quiet zones," the judges wrote.

The FAA's budget having to be spent on fighting us is a hell of a lot better than it subsidizing this industry's flagrant abuse of our health and the environment.

Still waiting for Maryland's Attorney General to get busy suing the FAA as requested by the state's governor. And for Georgetown's lawsuit results... Whatever it takes, this industry and Congress members need to know we're not going away. The fight will continue. So stop this injustice sooner rather than later.


Like this comment
Posted by HitTheMoney
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2018 at 3:56 pm

The fight is global against NextGen procedures under different names in different countries (pushed by ICAO, International Civil Aviation Organization, captured agency on worldwide scale), but people are fighting this global industry's abuse backed by too many holding political office legislating for the industry rather than the common good. A recent example, not in major media outlets (too much ad money from aviation and fear of political backlash maybe):

Web Link
Les pollués de Montréal-Trudeau announce the date of the hearing of the application for authorization to proceed with a class action.
The hearing of the application to institute a class action on the issue of aircraft noise pollution will be heard before the Honourable Chantal Tremblay, Judge of the Superior Court of Quebec, November 20 and 21, at the Montreal Courthouse, Room 14.07, at 9:30. Les pollués de Montréal-Trudeau are represented by Gérard Samet.
The judge must determine whether the request meets the criteria provided by law to declare the class action admissible.
The Court, after the hearing of the application, has a maximum period of 6 months to decide on the admissibility of the application.

Web Link

Aircraft Noise and Air Pollution over Montreal: citizens ask for an epidemiological study by the Public Health Department of Montréal Français
________________________________________
NEWS PROVIDED BY
Les Pollués de Montréal-Trudeau
Feb 22, 2018, 07:00 ET

MONTREAL, Feb. 22, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ - On the initiative of the Les Pollués de Montreal-Trudeau Citizens Committee (LPDMT), 70 citizens have signed personal letters to Dr. Richard Massé, Director of Public Health (DSP) of Montreal. These letters are delivered today to the DSP of Montreal.
These citizens state in their letter: "In order to ensure my health, I must know the facts. Facts will also raise awareness of the entire population and elected officials. To achieve this goal, scientific data is needed. Citizens demand that the impact of aircraft noise and air pollution on health be documented by the DSP: which part of the population is affected, by which intensity, and with which consequences for health.
About us:
LPDMT is a citizens group incorporated as a non-profit organization in the Summer of 2013. Les Pollués de Montréal-Trudeau calls for transparency in airport management in Canada, exemplary and modern management of environmental impacts resulting from airport activities and a substantial improvement of the soundscape, which includes a strict curfew between 11 pm and 7 am, among other things. More information at www.lpdmt.org


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