PHOTO: Assemblyman Goldfeder is calling on the FAA to strengthen airplane noise regulations ahead of a congressional vote on the agency’s reauthorization. File Photo
By Michael V. Cusenza
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Howard Beach) is calling on the Federal Aviation Administration to strengthen airplane noise regulations to improve quality of life for borough families.
In a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, Goldfeder urged the agency to lower current average airplane noise thresholds from 65 Day-Night Average Sound Level to 55 DNL. Goldfeder explained that this would provide much-needed relief for families in southern Queens and Rockaway living under the flight path of nearby John F. Kennedy International Airport.
“Our families deserve relief from the earth-shattering airplane noise that plagues our communities night and day. Not only is airplane noise a nuisance, it also has the potential to harm our health and well-being,” Goldfeder said. “Given the bigger planes and better technology of recent years, it’s time we put in place the noise standards to match.”
According to the FAA, DNL measures the 24-hour equivalent sound level measured by FAA noise monitors that is experienced by a household living in the vicinity of an airport. This figure is an algorithmic calculation of noises generated by plane engines throughout the day and reflects the total noise exposure levels for an average day of the year. The current 65 DNL figure is considered to be the point at which airplane noise causes “significant impact” to surrounding residents.
Without proper action, Goldfeder said, noise will only grow louder as commercial airlines rely on larger planes with clamorous engines.
“Air traffic noise impacts from JFK Airport have increased to a point that they are having a serious impact on the quality of life for the thousands of residents in the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Dan Mundy, Jr., president of the Broad Channel Civic Association. “To date, the FAA has felt no need to engage these residents to seek solutions and Assemblyman Goldfeder is correct to ask that it be addressed now, at a time when this reauthorization is pending. If enacted, it would bring air traffic noise relief to thousands.”
An FAA spokesman told The Forum that the agency would respond directly to Goldfeder.
“The FAA is sensitive to public concerns about aircraft noise. We understand the interest in expediting this research, and we will complete this work as quickly as possible,” Huerta said last May as the agency announced that it is re-evaluating its method for measuring effects of aircraft noise. “This Administration takes its responsibility to be responsive to communities’ concerns over air noise seriously. Our work is intended to give the public an opportunity to provide perspective and viewpoints on a very important issue.”