JFK NYCAR grapples with area issues

JFK NYCAR grapples with area issues
Photoby Jeff Yapalater

NYCAR is the New York Community Airport Roundtable which was established by Governor Cuomo in response to the surrounding communities issues with airport related operation disturbances affecting the nearby communities.

NYCAR is broken up into two committees; one for JFK and one for LGA airports. The recent JFK Committee met on December 5th and the next one is scheduled for the end of January 2019.

Items on the agenda included an update of the $13 Billion JFK Redevelopment Program presented by Jim Steven, Program Director, FAA Guidelines for Altitudes of Flights over JFK Impacted communities, and Night Restriction discussion,

One of the opening remarks by Chair Barbara Brown was the submission of a letter to the Aviation Director of JFK, Huntley Lawrence. This letter requested a 14 CFR Part 161 Study for a curfew and/or restrictions on night time flights over residential communities out of the JFK Airport. However, it was noted by a Port representative that this cannot be done until he Part 150 study has been completed. So, the matter was tabled until such time.

The Night flying restrictions question was brought up asked why LGA had night restrictions and JFK does not. It was surmised that JFK is not subject to these restrictions since it is an international airport. Philippa Karteron of the JFK Chamber of Commerce asked if Port could provide a more substantive answer.

Jim Stevens presented a detailed report on the state of the redevelopment calling it a “ huge game changing development” referring to the complexity of reconstructions such an important airport while continuing to provide current airline and ground operations. He said that the first phase of the program was complete with the approval of developers Carlyle Group team for Terminal 1 and RXR team for Terminal 5.Yjese developers will move forward implement the next steps in the request for proposal and RFQs for the many steps in beginning the pre-construction program. Steven explained that this is the beginning and that nothing is final yet. I=Even the leases for this development are still being negotiated with a fine tooth comb. He wanted the audience to know that the interactions, bids and construction opportunities are very much open. He referred to the Redevelopment Advisory Council as the body that will represent the community in all phases of development and interact with the Port Authority on all matters. This council is made up of dozens of community leaders, elected officials community board members, religious leaders and chaired by Congressman Meeks and Queens Boro President Melinda Katz. In fact, he pointed to an upcoming first public meeting of the Council to be held on November 13 at York College.

He said there are still plans under development such as the central mall which may be open to Port working with other developers or terminal operators already at the airport. According to Steven, the redevelopment will also include a major improvement of the Van Wyck Expressway with the addition of an another lane with modified ramps to allow for better traffic flow in and out of the airport area.

The issue of aircraft altitude and noise was also brought up. A representative from Suozzi’s office remarked that it seemed clear that may flights are much below FAA standard guidelines when approaching the airport. He repeatedly asked that the FAA consider alternate paths or higher altitudes to minimize the disruptive noise that occurs when this happens. An FAA representative promised to look into this.

Gloria Boyce-Charles chair operations subcommittee and gave her report on discussions with JFK General Manager Everett who gave her assurances that he would include stakeholders in noise and cargo issues affecting the community. Boyce-Charles asked if here was land within the airport to accommodate the large number of freight trailers that overwhelm the adjoining neighborhoods with their presence. She was referred to Mike Bednarz of the Cargo area to follow up.

Brown closed the meetings stating that the Committee needs prioritize issues and to share concerns with the Advisory Council which will be the interface between the communities and the JFK development in all areas.