Park Slopers who are convinced that the skies over their neighborhood have become a highway for noisy airplanes are actually right, new data shows.
Since 2006, low-altitude traffic over the Slope has increased by 52 percent, according to Federal Aviation Administration documents obtained by one local anti-noise activist.
The FAA has long said it is focused on landing aircraft in the most-efficient way possible, but locals are desperate to know why their neighborhood has been singled out.
“Even inside my house, with doors and windows closed, I still wear earplugs,” said Josie Williams, who bought a $600 sound meter. “I play loud music in the house or otherwise I’ll go insane.”
Williams’s decibel contraption records the aircraft noise at Prospect Park West and Fifth Street. Her readings show that the noise level exceeds 70 decibels on a daily basis — the equivalent of a vacuum cleaner or noisy traffic, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Her fellow noise activist, Jeffery Starin, filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FAA for flight data in Brooklyn over the last four years.
The data revealed that airplanes aren’t the only craft passing right over the neighborhood. Helicopters also have a flight path that slices directly over Park Slope and Prospect Park, according to Starin, himself a private pilot.
“There is not a lot of oversight of the FAA because of how technical it is — they pull the wool over people’s eyes. But I’m a pilot, they can’t do that to me.”
Starin said that the drastic change in air traffic is a result of the “airspace redesign” initiated by the FAA in 2007 as a way to alleviate the chronic delays at LaGuardia and other airports.
Planes bound for LaGuardia that once arrived in what Starin described as a “fan pattern” now are consolidated into one corridor stretching from Bay Ridge, through Park Slope, and then to the Long Island Expressway.
Indeed, the air traffic monitoring site, Passur, confirms that roughly every couple of minutes airplanes are using the same flight path that passes over the Slope.
A call to representatives of the FAA’s northeast branch was not returned on Wednesday, though a possible excuse was the blizzard.
©2010 Community News Group
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