PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) — Bay Area neighborhoods are fed up with planes constantly flying over their homes.
Now there are some new ideas to fix the noise, but not everyone’s going to like what they hear.
There have been millions of noise complaints since the Federal Aviation Administration changed up its flight path into San Francisco International Airport.
The FAA’s NextGen program narrowed the flight paths in and out of the Bay Area’s airports and it was meant to be more efficient. Instead, it created a nightmare for some South Bay and Peninsula neighborhoods.
There are three different flight paths that merge over the Peninsula, in what is described as a super highway in the sky.
Now, the Select Committee for South Bay Arrivals, a regional organization dedicated to reducing the impact of jet noise on residents’ lives, has come up with a list of recommendations.
The goal is to reduce the non-stop noise from the planes flying overhead.
Some are uncontroversial, like shifting some flights from populated areas over the peninsula to open water on the east side of the bay.
But the real challenge is finding a solution for communities from Santa Cruz to San Mateo that doesn’t create a problem for someone else.
Select Committee for South Bay Arrivals member Larry Moody said, “We don’t want our issue today to be someone’s problem tomorrow.”
But other recommendations help one community while potentially hurting another.
Consider a plan by the committee that would require planes to fly at higher altitudes over the city of Woodside. That would reduce noise until those same planes dive down to a lower altitude as they approach the airport, meaning more noise for someone else.
Sky Posse Palo Alto spokesperson Marie-Jo Fremont said, “You’re hammering some people with an amazing amount of noisy planes every day.”
Residents living under those flight paths have complained by the thousands and are searching for a solution that spares both them and their neighbors from non-stop noise.
Moody said, “The flight traffic is at levels today as never before and as a result, just like we’re dealing with the traffic on the ground on the 101 and on our highways, we’re also trying to have a better understanding of how to mitigate the issues in the skies.”
Over the next month the public will be able to weigh in on the Select Committee’s draft report before the final version is submitted to local representatives. The FAA will have the final say on changes.