It’ll be sleepless in Canarsie if John F. Kennedy Airport goes through with plans to add three more runways and up to 70 flights per hour.
Canarsie residents have long complained that the noise from JFK planes keep them up at night, especially in the summer when they keep their windows open. A Port Authority proposal to expand the airport’s capacity in the next 10 years may make the commotion even more cumbersome.
“That’s a real concern because we’ve had some really noisy summers here,” said local Neal Duncan. “The sounds are tolerable during the day, but at night people just can’t sleep.”
Duncan and his neighbors say that the sleepless nights have persisted despite Canarsie’s 1964 victory over JFK planes’ roaring engines. That year, angry residents protested to force pilots to land according to what has been dubbed the Canarsie Approach. The route requires aviators to avoid getting too close to their neighborhood by flying over the Rockaway Peninsula, across Jamaica Bay.
“At that time, the noise became so bad that we got 80 people together in their cars to jam up JFK Airport so they’d listen to our noise complaint,” said Lenny Fogel, who has lived in Canarsie for 49 years. “But Canarsie residents who live closer to Jamaica Bay — including myself — can still hear the planes.”
The Port Authority has four different proposals for where to place additional runways. Two of the suggestions would extend the runway used by planes that land according to the Canarsie Approach. The remaining two proposals would build up to three runways that extend thousands of feet into Jamaica Bay, perpendicular to the Canarsie Approach runways — which would require a different flight path. The new flight paths have not yet been released, but the Port Authority says it will consider the impact of noise when deciding on an expansion plan, according to Jeffrey Zupan, spokesman for the Regional Plan Association, which released an analysis of the proposals.
The Port Authority maintains that the expansion is necessary to accommodate the roughly 50 million more passengers that are expected to travel through JFK annually in the next 20 years.
The precise expansion plan will be selected in a few years by a combination of the Port Authority, Federal Aviation Authority and elected officials.