Rep. Jackie Speier looks to lower airplane noise with 5 bills | News | Palo Alto Online |

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Rep. Jackie Speier looks to lower airplane noise with 5 bills

Congresswoman proposes legislation to allow airports to impose curfews, include noise-related health impacts in evaluation criteria for new flights

Responding to growing concerns about airplane noise, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier has proposed a series of bills that would allow airports to restrict flight times, require the Federal Aviation Administration to give greater primacy to noise impacts when developing flight routes and procedures and allow local communities to have a significant say in developing flight plans.

The bills, which are co-sponsored by U.S. Reps. Anna Eshoo and Jimmy Panetta, were introduced last month to address the rapid spikes in complaints about airplane noise throughout the region. The problem became acute in 2014, when the FAA rolled out its NextGen program, which created new routes and concentrated many flights in what some have referred to as aerial "super highways." Residents who live under those route paths and waypoints, including those in Palo Alto, Woodside and Portola Valley, have since reported a significant rise in airplane noise.

"The nonstop noise from flights is seriously affecting residents' sleep, mental health, and overall quality of life," Speier said in a statement. "There is a certain expectation for noise when living near an airport, but this crosses a line. Residents who are at their wits' end have used every available public channel to address this issue to no avail. Our legislation would create new pathways for change and improve overalls responsiveness by the FAA — a public agency that has a responsibility to be accountable to the people."

One of the new bills, known as the Restore Everyone's Sleep Tonight Act, would allow airports to impose access restrictions for certain hours and to assess penalties against air carriers that fail to meet the curfew. Another, called the Fairness in Airspace Includes Residents Act, would include health impacts as a priority in developing flight plans. While the safety of the aircraft would remain the primary issue, the act would establish two co-equal secondary priorities: the efficient use of airspace, and "the minimization of the impact of aviation noise, and other health impacts, on residents and communities, and other impacts of the use of airspace on the environment."

Three other bills aim to make it easier for legislators and residents to get information from the FAA and to provide feedback on new policies. The All Participating in Process Reaching Informed Solutions for Everyone Act directs the FAA administrator to ensure that aviation roundtables be allowed to appoint a representative to working groups involved in NextGen. These representatives, according to the bill, would be able to participate "on the same terms and conditions as a representative of the industry, an airport, or a participating proponent of a procedure."

The Responsive Employees Support Productive Educated Congressional Talk Act would require FAA staff to respond to members of Congress regarding flight procedures affecting their district within 90 days. The Notified Officials to Inform Fully Impel Educated Decisions Act would require the FAA to notify local governments about new or modified flight paths.

While the issue of airplane noise has been on Palo Alto's radar for years, the city is one of several in the region that has struggled to make headway with the FAA on the topic. In June, the council considered suing the FAA over its flight plans. But despite pleas from dozens of residents, some of whom argued that the city has become a "trash heap" and a "dumping ground" for FAA's noise pollution, the council ultimately opted not to move ahead with the lawsuit. Instead, much like in April 2018, when it had similarly considered litigation, the council agreed to pursue regional partnerships on the issue and to continue its lobbying efforts.

Palo Alto is one of a dozen cities that are participating in the Santa Clara/Santa Cruz Community Roundtable, an organization that aims to foster "collaboration and resolution" on aircraft noise. Other cities involved in the roundtable, which is open to any city in the two counties, are Capitola, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Monte Sereno, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Saratoga and Sunnyvale.

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Comments

7 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 27, 2019 at 4:07 pm

Everyone hates the airport until they need to fly!

Glad our congressional team is ginning up unnecessary laws with zero chance of passage or impact. Great way to show “they care”.


28 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2019 at 5:06 pm

After years of being able to simply ignore outcry from the public, the aviation industry is having a hard time making the emotional adjustment to legislation that, if passed, would require the aviation industry to consider the health and welfare of people on the ground.

If instead of ignoring public outcry, the aviation industry had made a good faith effort to address public concerns with sensible solutions suggested by aviation experts, this proposed legislation could have been avoided.


17 people like this
Posted by Stephen Wood
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 27, 2019 at 5:22 pm

Surf Air flies directly over our neighborhood as early as 7:00a.m. and as late as 11:25p.m. every day of the week. It feels as though there is a flight not every hour, but every fifteen minutes. Surf Air flies into the non commercial hub at San Carlos, how the County of San Mateo permitted this clear violation of the airport charter to happen is an as yet unanswered question. The incoming flights fly just at the specified legal height, but the roar of their turbo props is so deafening that one would think that they are on the roof of your home. This is a severe quality of life issue that is not being adequately addressed. If, in fact, the County has permitted the use of San Carlos Airport for a commercial airline then they need to go.


20 people like this
Posted by Giraffe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 27, 2019 at 5:29 pm

Giraffe is a registered user.

Bravo, I guess, but I don't see why these bills would reduce the airplane noise over Palo Alto.

- Restore Everyone's Sleep Tonight Act, would allow airports to impose access restrictions for certain hours and to assess penalties against air carriers that fail to meet the curfew
- why would SFO voluntarily do this?

- Fairness in Airspace Includes Residents Act, would include health impacts as a priority in developing flight plans
- our noisy flight plans are already in place so this is a no-op. Except maybe it would mean that a new flight plan to move our air traffic back where it came from would not be possible due to "health impacts"

- All Participating in Process Reaching Informed Solutions for Everyone Act directs the FAA administrator to ensure that aviation roundtables be allowed to appoint a representative to working groups involved in NextGen.
- are there any working groups involved in our current noise problem?
Maybe;

- The Responsive Employees Support Productive Educated Congressional Talk Act would require FAA staff to respond to members of Congress regarding flight procedures affecting their district within 90 days.
- our Congress people have known about SERFR etc since those paths came
into use. Nothing has happened.

- The Notified Officials to Inform Fully Impel Educated Decisions Act would require the FAA to notify local governments about new or modified flight paths.
- and, what could the local govs. do about it?

- The Serious Noise Reduction Efforts Act aims to establish a program at SFO to noise insulate over 200 nearby homes annually, or provide financial support to cities impacted by noise.
- Highly doubt this will make it to Palo Alto homes


29 people like this
Posted by What Will (the whiner post about) Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 27, 2019 at 5:31 pm

What's the big deal? According to one poster, it's all a joke.

===

Thank you, Rep Speier.


7 people like this
Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 27, 2019 at 8:31 pm

What Will They Do Next is a registered user.

@ What Will ....Thank you for what ??? Be specific. Nothing will come of this. When has she ever proposed any meaningful legislation ???


25 people like this
Posted by charles reilly
a resident of another community
on Dec 27, 2019 at 8:58 pm

"Surf-Air" Executive Turbo-Jets are extremely loud and extremely frequent. Descending over Middlefield Rd., they land at San Carlos every 15 minutes. Residents of the Mid Peninsula have a right to "quiet enjoyment" of their valuable property. Many residents purchased their home DECADES before Surf-Air. Why must they suffer so a privileged few can make money ?


23 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 28, 2019 at 8:46 am

> Everyone hates the airport until they need to fly!

Knock, knock .... pay attention, this is not about airports, it is about airplane noise. Every silly distracting and irrelevant comment possible is always made every time this subject is discussed to minimize or deny the fact that airplanes flying low over residential areas that shakes people's houses and waked them up in the middle of their sleep is unhealthy and a thing to work on to minimize.

Why isn't the first order of business to set up a means of monitoring noise? Then we could use our Silicon Valley technological wizardry to generate public daily reports on the spots where noise and vibration are the worst.

Superimpose whatever standards we have over that along with the number of complaints received in a citizen accessible and readable format so we can find out where the problem areas are, and then see if the standards we do have need to be adjusted?

Why isn't capitalism just as much about creating profit making businesses opportunities that meet the needs of citizens just as much as it seems to be about exploiting everything that has no protection that someone can make a buck off of by finding a group of people who can be pushed around by dumping pollution of all sorts onto them. And why are Palo Alto and other expensive cities allowing their living standards to be lowered.

We'd do a lot better to always impose these pollutions on the richest among us, and then we could be action would be taken and standards imposed and not just ignored. Route the planes over Portola Valley or Woodside, Atherton, etc ... then we might see some reasonable civic engagement, not to mention develop some standards to monitor and protect all.

This is Flint, MI only instead of lead in the water it is airplane noise at night ... and we should also be thinking about the daytime as well because it is getting to be as bad in Palo Alto as it is, or used to be in Foster City.


22 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2019 at 11:55 am

@CPA,

Actually this IS about the airports. Airports like SFO are for-profit businesses and they are major players in the aviation industry along with the airlines, the aerospace manufacturers, and the industry controlled FAA.

When the FAA implements noisy flight paths that increase airport throughput but adversely effect the health and welfare of people on the ground, SFO benefits right along with the rest of the industry through landing fees, airport taxes, fees from concessions, rent from airport tenants, etc.

"9 Ways That Airports Make Money"
Boldmethod ~ June 12, 2015 Web Link


19 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2019 at 12:48 pm

Airports are big business. Linked below is an excellent 10 minute Youtube video focused on Heathrow Airport's business model.

"How Airports Make Money"
Wendover Productions ~ July 17, 2018 Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 28, 2019 at 2:42 pm

Jetman,
> @CPA, Actually this IS about the airports.

Uh, with all due respect, it is not about airports; within the context of John from of Professorville's comment of this is about people hating airports and presumably hypocritically wanting to get rid of them until they want to fly. The statement was a distraction and an attack on those who want to do something about noise ... you for instance.

Airports are certainly the control portion of the airplanes, but so is the FAA and whatever other stakeholders as well. It is simply incorrect and unhelpful to pop off with a statement that it is airports or flying in general that people are against. Do you really disagree with that?

Don't mean to quibble, but unless you mean to refocus your civic efforts WRT airplane noise toward taking on big business, corporate and capitalist corruption which is a too large subject, I think what brought about all this problem was not the existence of airports, but the increase over the last decades in airplane noise. We had airports / SFO, for a long time going back when jets and their engines were supposedly even louder, but were somehow less noisy and bothersome.

At least that was my experience and I've lived in the area since the 70's.


17 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2019 at 3:02 pm

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park

>> > @CPA, Actually this IS about the airports.

>> Uh, with all due respect, it is not about airports;

With all due respect, Jetman is correct about this. It is about the (largest) airports. The FAA is doing a great job of serving the -largest- airports.

IF Rep Speier is serious about making things better, then, let's see if we can get language in one of the bills to specifically de-prioritize large airports schedules and revenue in favor of reduced fuel usage, reduced GHG emissions, reduced noise pollution, and safety. Right now, the FAA is managing airspace to maximize schedule density for the largest airports during peak times. This results in closer spacing at lower altitudes and therefore increased noise. The FAA could use the same tools it already has to manage to better priorities than just making the largest airports even busier and higher revenue.


11 people like this
Posted by Noise and airports
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 28, 2019 at 3:59 pm

Noise and airports is a registered user.

CPA

"Don't mean to quibble, but unless you mean to refocus your civic efforts WRT airplane noise toward taking on big business, corporate and capitalist corruption which is a too large subject, I think what brought about all this problem was not the existence of airports, but the increase over the last decades in airplane noise. We had airports / SFO, for a long time going back when jets and their engines were supposedly even louder, but were somehow less noisy and bothersome."

Just to get this on the table, louder planes from yore did not come in packs of hundreds repeatedly over unsuspecting communities.

One of the definitions of Corruption is "the process by which something, typically a word or expression, is changed from its original use or meaning to one that is regarded as erroneous or debased."

In 2014 airplane noise became Nextgen (packs of hundreds of planes descending lower and lower over communities) but Nextgen is good, right? wrong, don't know, can't decide?

at least this article didn't add the acronyms that came with the Speir bills, like REST and SNORE. Words, words, words, and no data or analysis which congressional reps could compel airports to provide.

Corruption may be "a too large subject" but how about some facts about what really caused the noise increases?


1 person likes this
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 28, 2019 at 4:07 pm

I would agree with the overall assessment of the proposed legislation as regards--even if this somehow makes it out of the House and into the Senate and passes "ubi sunt dentes?". Where is the teeth? Particularly this would lock in the flight paths instead of moving the aircraft noise upon other more less advantaged populations. Also, while I admire Spier (actually interesting personal coincidences) this seems more as a way to absorb the pressure than transmit into action. Picture people sitting in a circle, and ya know.

Beyond that-- eventually a wake up call will be heard by the world's population and fossil fuel airplane travel will need to be banned, along with other draconian and effective solutions.

The airplane noise does not bother me in the slightest. In fact I am glad it bothers one off the wall neighbor couple who complains about every dog and leaf blower (electric) and are pretty much despised by all their neighbors. When a big jet flys overhead I get a warm and fuzzy feeling and kiss the sky. (Scuze me while i..)

However I this issue has sensitized me a bit to being aware of the aircraft noise. It seems to me that, for the most part, the larger airplanes are something reasonable people can just adjust to (there may be exceptions). But the private aircraft are somewhat another thing. Now it would never occur to me in a million years to complain, but if I was, them's what it would be about.




Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 28, 2019 at 4:09 pm

What an fatuous attempt at a point.

Do you
a. want to reduce airplane noise pollution?, or do you
b. want to shut down all the airports?

Whatever your reply, I know you agree with me.


2 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 28, 2019 at 5:49 pm

The responses to my original comment only prove my point. The anti-plane people write long flowing missives comparing their “horror” to Flint, Michigan - where real environmental racism occurred. But I doubt that any of them would dare stop flying to reduce air traffic, because why not beg government to do it for you?

Of course, if these cynical laws were ever enacted, resulting in fewer flights and higher airfare, you can bet that the same folks would be whining about that as well.

Welcome to NIMBY Land.


17 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 28, 2019 at 6:16 pm

Hey John, you're a little slow on the uptake, I am not anti-plane, nor anti-airport and
I doubt anyone else commenting here is either. Good try with the false narrative. I
am anti-plane-noise. Maybe your lack of focus and mean attitude might just be due
to troubled sleeping due to jet noise. That'd be ironic wouldn't it Mr. Grumpy?
Happy 2020 to ya!


7 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 29, 2019 at 9:08 am

Yes - we collectively have a major problem here. San Jose is adding flights which when the weather is weird they use southern PA as a turning point. SFO has all of the big boy planes coming in at lower altitudes. And Surf Air has to jockey in between these flights that all use different altitudes. So now we have the PA Airport with a helicopter transport like uber. So the question regarding San Carlos as to why it is now a commercial airport can be used against the PA Airport. We as a city need to look at our airport and make some decision as to why it is a commercial airport with helicopters.


8 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 29, 2019 at 1:25 pm

Noise and Airports:
> Just to get this on the table, louder planes from yore did not come in packs of hundreds repeatedly over unsuspecting communities.

That is true, but I think we are worried more about noise than the number of planes. How much noise planes generate, is a function of their design, weather conditions, could be vegetation and tree cover and the altitude they fly at, and of course like the tree falling the forest, is there anyone there to hear it.

I never once remember noting a plane that flew over Palo Alto in all my years here pre-2000 that rattled my house and constantly woke me up. I was much younger back them and out at all hours and in the middle of the night, and I can well recall many moments outside in the morning when you could hear crickets, birds ... or course the train ... sometimes noise from the highway, mostly before the sound walls, but airplanes flying way above us simply were not an issue - at least in the Professorville, Community Center and Crescent Park neighborhoods.

I remember being outside in the early morning many few times with friends and noting just how peaceful and quiet it was in Palo Alto while planes overhead at high altitude were just a low white noise.


1 person likes this
Posted by Noise and airports
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2019 at 2:05 pm

Noise and airports is a registered user.

CPA

"I never once remember noting a plane that flew over Palo Alto in all my years here pre-2000 that rattled my house and constantly woke me up. I was much younger back them and out at all hours and in the middle of the night, and I can well recall many moments outside in the morning when you could hear crickets, birds ... or course the train ... sometimes noise from the highway, mostly before the sound walls, but airplanes flying way above us simply were not an issue - at least in the Professorville, Community Center and Crescent Park neighborhoods.

I remember being outside in the early morning many few times with friends and noting just how peaceful and quiet it was in Palo Alto while planes overhead at high altitude were just a low white noise."

I'm not an expert on noise so others may have a more accurate explanation but noise is technically "unwanted sound" and FAA measures the acoustic factors of aviation "noise" using a metric that averages sound intensity (DNL).

So - it's FAA who is "more worried about noise than the number of planes"


10 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 29, 2019 at 4:45 pm

> I'm not an expert on noise so others may have a more accurate explanation but noise is technically "unwanted sound" and FAA measures the acoustic factors of aviation "noise" using a metric that averages sound intensity (DNL).

Averaging sound intensity ... that sounds pretty lame. If you set off a car alarm and average it over and hour you pretty much have nothing - no problem. I can see why the FAA would like to do that.




19 people like this
Posted by Nostalgic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2019 at 9:28 pm

I too remember the nice balmy summer nights when we could open our windows and only hear the crickets outside, in my Palo Alto neighborhood before 2000.

SFO bound airplanes used to either fly above the Bay or turn over southern San Mateo County in the early to mid (late?) nineties. They shoved them down to Palo Alto towards the end of the 90s at about the same time as southern San Mateo County cities were admitted into the SFO Roundtable. Things have never been the same since.

And if anyone wants to mention the P3s out of Moffett Field, no, they were not near as obnoxious as the SFO/SJC traffic we have now. Even though loud, the P3s were not constant. There were only short episodes of a few of them flying overhead a few times a day. I don't recall ever hearing any at night either. I moved to Palo Alto in 1990.


11 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 31, 2019 at 7:04 pm

Perceived noise does not diminish in a linear way as jets fly higher, it diminishes as the increased distance squared. Thus, a small increase (one to two thousand feet higher) dramatically changes our experience on the ground. NextGen did a number of things, but the biggest for the purposes of this discussion was planes fly lower... because thicker air saves money and greenhouse gases from lower fuel consumption. Simply pushing the traffic that now over flies Los Altos, Mountain View and Palo Alto back up to four or five thousand feet will clean up most of this mess.


4 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 1, 2020 at 4:17 am

Bill of Mountain View , yes, that was my thought too. When I read a bit about airplane noise the energy in the wave generally propagates in 3 dimensions and so there is less of it in any particular direction. What I thought I remembered back from previous decades when airplane noise was something I rarely had to think about was how high up the planes were. The planes now are bigger so I was not sure if they were flying at the similar altitude and just looked lower or if they actually were. They are advertised as being quieter too, but I am not sure that is true.

It has been mentioned before that there are plenty of local flights from the Palo Alto airport that choose to fly over the town, and they can really be noisy. It would be nice if there was regulation of that forcing private planes to fly over the bay or at a higher altitude. There is also the claim that the private planes use leaded fuel which now that we know the dangers of lead is so aggravating. Poison people and land so you can fly your airplane over the big city like a big shot? That's wrong.


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2020 at 10:45 am

I know this is unpleasant to hear, but, the national airspace system actually is a system that manages flight operations all over the country simultaneously. With systemwide goals. Those goals reflect down to what happens at big airports like SFO. If you want to make things better for everyone, and not just move the approach path one mile this way or that way over someone else's house, the national goals will have to change. Sorry, that is the reality.

Right now, the system is being optimized for the benefit of large airports. Not customers. Not Palo Alto residents on the ground. Not even the airlines directly. Not GHG emissions. Airports. That is why so "reduced separation" shows up so often in the program planning documents. That benefits large airports that want to pack more landings in at peak times (over Palo Alto as it happens). If you want to make things better, then, the priorities will have to change. You can make fuel efficiency/reduced GHG a priority, AND, make reduced noise at the ground a priority, at the same time. If you do, large airports won't like it. Because it will mean increased separation and reduce operations at peak times as aircraft separation increases. Customers benefit indirectly from the current priorities because multi-hop trip times are also reduced. With fuel efficiency/noise reduction the top priorities, multi-hop trip travel time will increase.

If there actually is to be a big push to get the priorities changed, expect large airports to push back hard. They all have made and are making huge investments to support higher numbers of operations at peak times, and, they are counting on those operations to pay for those investments (e.g. pay off revenue bonds). They aren't thinking about either global warming or noise over your house.


1 person likes this
Posted by Noise and Airports
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2020 at 11:53 am

Noise and Airports is a registered user.

Anon,

"If you want to make things better, then, the priorities will have to change. You can make fuel efficiency/reduced GHG a priority, AND, make reduced noise at the ground a priority, at the same time."

The Nextgen law of 2012 had a stated goal to reduce fuel burn, emissions and noise Web Link. The "aerial highways" are reducing fuel burn, emissions and noise for some communities, but burn more fuel, and cause harmful emissions and intense noise for communities not previously affected by jet noise before. Say that you re-emphasized the prioritization of reducing emissions and noise, how do you suggest handling the effects of aerial highways which like any highway are louder and dirtier?


3 people like this
Posted by Mo
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 1, 2020 at 8:33 pm

I'd like to see a bill that would reduce the amount OF PEOPLE in Palo Alto.


7 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 1, 2020 at 9:19 pm

^ Working on that with plenty of bills. All the bills I pay every month may drive me out.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2020 at 9:28 am

Posted by Noise and Airports, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> Say that you re-emphasized the prioritization of reducing emissions and noise, how do you suggest handling the effects of aerial highways which like any highway are louder and dirtier?

A bunch of FAA documents are here, and, unfortunately, approach sequencing, optimal separation, etc. sometimes seem to be the only priority, despite the fact that the technology is supposed to allow much more flexible flight paths, including on approach, to facilitate reduced fuel use.

Web Link

Since you asked ;-) , IMHO, the *same technology* could be used to facilitate a smaller number of aircraft used almost exclusively for long-distance travel (thousands of miles), with flight paths optimized to minimize fuel burn and minimize noise. Those capabilities are in the plan. They just aren't the priority today.

Of course, with a smaller number of local/regional flights, that would imply an alternate means of transportation for trips of hundreds of miles. In my view, rail is a much better alternative for short-haul.


Like this comment
Posted by Noise and Airports
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2020 at 11:09 am

Noise and Airports is a registered user.

Anon,

"Since you asked ;-) , IMHO, the *same technology* could be used to facilitate a smaller number of aircraft used almost exclusively for long-distance travel (thousands of miles), with flight paths optimized to minimize fuel burn and minimize noise. Those capabilities are in the plan. They just aren't the priority today.
care to share more about what is "in the plan" about smaller number of aircraft?"

So is your answer that something in 20,30 or 50 years will solve the problem or do you have more information or links about what is "in the plan" that could qualify as solving the current situation.

Kind of scary that a new aviation "technology" experiment is the answer to this mess.


8 people like this
Posted by Noticing the noise after vacation
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 2, 2020 at 1:08 pm

Noticing the noise after vacation is a registered user.

Anyone else coming back from vacation and noticing the noise in the skies all over again? U.G.H. I've lived here since 1987, and it was not like this until the last few years, despite only incremental growth in flights at the two large local airports.


2 people like this
Posted by willows_resident
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 2, 2020 at 1:51 pm

Thank you, Reps. Spier and Eshoo! This is long overdue, and if we get action in the next adminstration that will not be too soon.

For those poo-pooing the impact on our communities, realize that a difference in half a mile from the NextGen flight path in one direction or another can have a huge impact on noise on the ground. Don't assume the complainers are being snowflakes until you've spent a night under the flight path and been woken up at 3 AM, 5 AM, etc. by low-flying planes.


4 people like this
Posted by MVresident2003
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 2, 2020 at 2:21 pm

MVresident2003 is a registered user.

@willows, I was handing out fliers in our neighborhood last year about flight noise and was amazed that some weren’t bothered at all by the planes. Then I realized that even as little as three blocks away the sound was greatly diminished. I just happen to live directly under the path and it is shocking how much louder a few blocks makes.

So yes, those of you who aren’t directly under a path, try watching flight patterns and take the time to go stand directly under one, it truly is a major difference and perhaps you’ll have more empathy for those of us who have to live with it.


22 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2020 at 3:17 pm

No one should expect "nextgen" technology to be able to fix the noise problem with a complex pattern of flight paths anytime in the near future.

The suite of technologies that make up "nextgen" are not even close to fulfilling their original promise and a string of near catastrophic failures has left the FAA scared to death of what might happen if "nextgen" failed leaving pilots and human air traffic controllers to unwind a overwhelmingly complex air traffic control problem that is beyond their cognitive processing capacity.

"LA air traffic meltdown: System simply ran out of memory"
Register ~ May 12, 2014 Web Link

"Air Traffic Control System Failure & Complex System Testing"
James Hamilton ~ May 18, 2014 Web Link

"$2 billion air traffic control system failed by running out of memory"
Computerworld ~ May 12, 2014 Web Link

The "nextgen" noise problem is way over Jackie Speier's head leaving her completely dependent on the aviation industry for solutions. Speier's proposed bills are just ineffective "feel good" legislation intended to blunt the ire of voters long enough to get Speier and Eshoo through the next election cycle.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2020 at 9:02 pm

Posted by Noise and Airports, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> So is your answer that something in 20,30 or 50 years will solve the problem or do you have more information or links about what is "in the plan" that could qualify as solving the current situation.
>> Kind of scary that a new aviation "technology" experiment is the answer to this mess.

I apologize for being unclear; I'm clearly not getting the message across. What I am saying is that the -reason-, the driving force, for the aircraft freeway right over Palo Alto into SFO is to meet the priorities of large airports (like SFO) to optimize congested traffic.. It isn't "NextGen's fault". Blaming NextGen is like blaming diesel engines for pollution. -We- have to set the priorities for proper use. Reduce the number of aircraft flying into the top 10 airports, optimize the system for reducing GHG emission and noise pollution, and make things better. This is something lawmakers can do-- reset the priorities for the FAA to reduce fuel use, reduce GHG emissions, and reduce noise. Just be aware that because the largest airports and the FAA have been working hard to maximize their rush-hour throughput, changing priorities will be costly. Now, you may not care, but, just realize that from their point of view, they've been working hard to make flying more plentiful and convenient, which is what they thought we wanted. We have to let them know that we, the public, have other priorities.


3 people like this
Posted by Noise and Airports
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2020 at 12:16 am

Noise and Airports is a registered user.

Anon,

"What I am saying is that the -reason-, the driving force, for the aircraft freeway right over Palo Alto into SFO is to meet the priorities of large airports (like SFO) to optimize congested traffic.."

Last I checked, optimization (with Nextgen) refers to a manner of flying which "optimizes" for reduced fuel burn, reduced emissions and less noise and it's not working in the Bay Area. "Optimized" descents were found to be working less than 30% of the time in 2016 and it's probably less now. Much of the noise here is not from optimized descents or "freeways" but from vectoring, which are last minute decisions to take planes "off" optimized descents if they even exist. Vectoring causes more fuel burn, emissions and noise. I doubt that legislative re-set of priorities can help the problem of aborted optimized descents.

Hadn't heard of "optimizing congested traffic" before but noise problems here erupted when SFO operations were down from the year prior, so noise didn't have much to do with "optimization of congested traffic" either.

And hey - how about that KE 214 that just now roared over Palo Alto in no traffic congestion - what's the excuse for that?


1 person likes this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2020 at 10:19 am

Posted by Noise and Airports, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

Noise, I apologize once again that I don't seem to be able to get the message across, but

>> I doubt that legislative re-set of priorities can help

Well, actually, a legislative re-set of priorities (with an administrative push to actually implement) would help a great deal. Right now, it is just a few homeowners like you right underneath an approach path that actually is working very well for SFO. (Same situation at the other busiest airports.). Right now, the largest airports are "Self-licking ice cream cones" Web Link that are maximizing their own traffic at peak times. They, and the FAA, think they are doing a good job making air travel more convenient (at your expense, and, at the expense of the environment). When jet fuel is $20/gallon and temperatures are 4F higher than now, and the SFO runways are flooded, it will change on its own. If you want it to change faster than that, it will require a re-set of priorities.


16 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2020 at 11:53 am

@Anon,

Actually rising sea levels will have no effect on SFO operations. City of San Francisco owned and operated SFO is going to spend $1 billion to build a enormous sea wall so SFO can continue to contribute to GHGs even as sea levels rise and flood the airport.

The environmental hypocrisy of the San Francisco political establishment is off the charts.

"SFO to spend more than $1 billion to hold back the bay"
SF Gate ~ October 15, 2019 Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2020 at 12:22 pm

Posted by Jetman, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> @Anon, Actually rising sea levels will have no effect on SFO operations

"for now".

BTW, note this from the article: "Current plans call for the construction to be funded with a bond issue that would be repaid with higher fees on airlines that operate at SFO" -- these are so-called "revenue bonds" which give SFO additional political leverage -- if SFO becomes a less-desirable, schedule-wise, airport to fly through, compared to other, currently smaller airports, then the bond-holders investment is endangered. This is another reason why these "no cost to the public" bond issues are more dangerous than they look at first blush. The bond holders will be depending on you to sit quietly underneath their tightly orchestrated approach path.


5 people like this
Posted by Noise and Airports
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2020 at 3:50 pm

Noise and Airports is a registered user.

Anon,

"The bond holders will be depending on you to sit quietly underneath their tightly orchestrated approach path."

Lot of opinions for not being affected or is "you" just a way of saying you as in "you" and not just Jetman. Are you near a path or not?

I agree with Jetman

"If instead of ignoring public outcry, the aviation industry had made a good faith effort to address public concerns with sensible solutions suggested by aviation experts, this proposed legislation could have been avoided."

Sensible is sensible and not reinventing the wheel or the engines or whatever.


10 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 4, 2020 at 11:45 am

Article in paper about San Jose Airport looking to add another terminal, another runway, and huge parking garage. And the issue of pollution is on the table. Article discussed the types of pollution that airplanes spread so SJCC has to make a decision regarding the size of that airport and if they are signing up for more pollution. So pollution is on the table and who is signing up for more of it. Have to see what happens there as those flights are at the lower end of our city. Depending on which way the wind is moving they have to adjust the flight path accordingly. So recognized pollution at this time is weighed against added income for the city.


8 people like this
Posted by Noise and Airports
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2020 at 2:01 pm

Noise and Airports is a registered user.

the article about San Jose Airport, Mercury News
Web Link

"That explosion of service, which federal law says the airport and city cannot regulate or limit, will cause significant emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide and particulate matter of 10 micrometers or less in diameter, according to the environmental report.

Particulates — the air pollutant most harmful to the health of Bay Area residents — can cause a wide range of respiratory and cardiovascular problems, including strokes, heart attacks and premature deaths. Both greenhouse gases and particulates can contribute to global warming and climate change."

A Noun Ea Mus

"The airplane noise does not bother me in the slightest. In fact I am glad it bothers one off the wall neighbor couple who complains about every dog and leaf blower (electric) and are pretty much despised by all their neighbors. When a big jet flys overhead I get a warm and fuzzy feeling and kiss the sky. (Scuze me while i..)"

After you kiss the sky, you may want to turn on your air purifier.


15 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2020 at 5:24 pm

From the San Jose Spotlight:

"Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren is a reliable champion for Silicon Valley’s Airport, and we greatly appreciate her leadership encouraging investment in critical public infrastructure,” said John Aitken, director of aviation for SJC"

"San Jose airport receives $10 million to kickstart plans for expansion"
San Jose Spotlight ~ November 22, 2019

The environmental hypocrisy of these congressional representative is jaw dropping.

I guess it is OK for a business to pollute, harm the health and welfare of residents, and destroy the world for future generations, if it is owned and operated by a city government?


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2020 at 6:02 pm

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow (and "Noise" and "Jetman")

>> Article in paper about San Jose Airport looking to add another terminal, another runway, and huge parking garage.
>> So recognized pollution at this time is weighed against added income for the city.

Sometimes it could be aggrandizement (the "Edifice Complex" etc.). But, it could merely be an "good-intentioned" response to perceived demand. But, of course, once they are committed to the expansion and issue the revenue bonds, then the additional traffic becomes a necessity to pay off the bonds, and, we are all committed to the additional traffic. It becomes a trap. An "unvirtuous cycle" of traffic growth for its own sake.


7 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 6, 2020 at 7:51 am

So last night I had planes directly over the house on their way to SFO. And the altitude level was very low. They did not have any excuses like fog to justify the low altitude. I tried to go to a flight tracker but the programs have changed that allow you to track the planes. It looks to me like SFO and SJX are busy changing up the game of accountability. They are dealing with these issues in their own ways. I am trying to figure out why they are over a residential zone vs the bay. Why aren't they east of Moffat Field over the bay vs west which is over residential. Is Hanger One at Moffat an impediment that shifts the flights. Also we have new development east of 101 - a hotel - is that shifting the arrival paths? Maybe you all know why the path of arrival is not over the bay - they could reduce aggravation and further law suits if they can shift the path.


11 people like this
Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2020 at 11:29 pm

"(California) state air regulators are laying long-term plans to phase out gasoline-powered devices like leaf blowers and lawn mowers, saying they can produce more noxious emissions than cars"

How about a ban on diesel-powered flying leaf blowers in residential areas? The flying leaf blowers produce much more noxious emissions (and noise) than their land bound brethren.

California’s latest pollution push: Banning gas-powered mowers & blowers
SF Gate ~ January 6, 2020 Web Link



10 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2020 at 8:31 am

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow

>> So last night I had planes directly over the house on their way to SFO. And the altitude level was very low. They did not have any excuses like fog to justify the low altitude.

>>Maybe you all know why the path of arrival is not over the bay - they could reduce aggravation and further law suits if they can shift the path.

It isn't a secret or a mystery. The answer is right there in the online documents. "They" want to land as many aircraft as close together as possible during busy times.


Like this comment
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jan 8, 2020 at 9:47 am

Palo Alto has always had lots of plane traffic. Especially during the cold war. None of you noticed this when you moved to PA?

Maybe the realtors need to be forced to disclose this information. It would stop alot of childish whining due to someones lack of research


3 people like this
Posted by Noise and Airports
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2020 at 10:26 am

Noise and Airports is a registered user.

HUTCH 7.62 @ Portola Valley

"Palo Alto has always had lots of plane traffic"

Traffic is different from noise

Portola Valley should know that a slight change in altitudes matters in quiet communities which Palo Alto is. Ever been in Palo Alto when there are no jets flying low?

It's very quiet. We moved here after the cold war, over 20 years ago and there wasn't any airplane noise until "Nextgen"


Like this comment
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jan 8, 2020 at 11:10 am

^ Grew up and lived in Palo Alto for over 30 years. I remember when P-3’s took off like swams Day and night chasing Soviet Subs off our coast. Read the book Blind Man’s Bluff if you need proof


Got out in 2011-12 when Palo Alto started getting overbuilt with High Density housing. Thanks to the Tech late comers like Zuck and Brin I made a pretty profit when most of the housing market sucked and bought more for less in Portola Valley


1 person likes this
Posted by Noise and Airports
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2020 at 11:52 am

Noise and Airports is a registered user.

HUTCH 7.62 @ Portola Valley

"Got out in 2011-12"

then you don't understand the changes that happened around 2014 but some were noticed as early 2013 and there is research comparing changes from 2008 to 2015, the before and after is not at all "the same." Anyway, as far as I know nobody had problems during the 20+ years I have lived here total quiet.

P3's? how many how often and what airports? Was that Moffet?

If you have data for the P3's noise then that should be easy to compare with today


3 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 9, 2020 at 1:42 pm

Watching the planes a different times during the evening of high traffic time I noted that the transition point from land to water/bay is occurring lower and lower - south of the San Mateo county lines. Is all of the legislation from a San Mateo legislator facilitating a change in traffic path that avoids San Mateo County residential property? It is over the bay - over water - not over houses in the SM County. Will our Santa Clara County legislators please get in this mix or are they too busy helping San Jose Airport increase it's business base with more planes? We are out of balance here - the bigger San Jose gets then we are being hit from the south vs hit from the north.


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