By Tom Momberg
Members of Congress from Queens have called on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to address their constituents’ concerns over the potential for increased aircraft noise that would result from the elimination of the perimeter rule at LaGuardia Airport. The rule currently limits flights arriving at or departing from LaGuardia to distances of 1,500 miles or less.
U.S. Reps. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) and Steve Israel (D-Oakland Gardens), members of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus that seeks to mitigate airplane noise that affects communities surrounding airports, are part of a growing number of elected officials who fear that changes to the rule are being considered in the plan to overhaul and renovate LaGuardia.
State lawmakers, led by Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside), wrote letters to the Port Authority and to Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month, worried transcontinental flights would welcome larger planes to fly over Queens, meaning increased air traffic and higher levels of ground noise.
Meng, Crowley and Israel said the borough, along with other parts of the city and Long Island, are already burdened with a high level of aircraft noise.
“The last thing we need is more noise over our communities. It is critical that the Port Authority consider and address any noise effects that may result from lifting the perimeter rule at LaGuardia,” the trio said in a statement.
The governor’s redevelopment plan for LaGuardia calls for a new Terminal B and a new Central Hall at the airport, about 600 feet closer to the Grand Central Parkway. Cuomo and the Port Authority said between that redesign and the adoption of an “island gate system,” taxiway circulation could be more than doubled, increasing the airport’s efficiency while getting planes in and out without a substantial change to the way surrounding communities are affected.
A noise analysis conducted by the Port Authority for the new Terminal B before the governor’s proposal anticipated increased use of larger aircrafts and found that any noise increase would be too minor to merit consideration.
Reach reporter Tom Momberg by e-mail at tmomb