Fall is here and although we are closing our windows, the roar of the jets overhead keep coming. Complaints have skyrocketed in the last three years after the city shifted traffic from the older diagonal runways to new parallel east-west runways. This has significantly concentrated more traffic over the northwest side of the city of Chicago as well as suburban communities east and west of the airport. We know this all too well.
Many of you are aware of the O’Hare “Fly Quiet” test phase. Fly Quiet is a six-month test in collaboration with the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to make greater use of diagonal runways, shifting noise away from suburbs east and west of the airport and northwest side Chicago neighborhoods. Under the plan, runways (including diagonal runway 15 / 33) are rotated on a week-to-week basis for nighttime travel (10:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.). This program is set to expire December 2016. FAiR contends that Fly Quiet in its revised form should continue into 2017 with no interruption.
FAiR is proud to initiate the Save Our Sleep (SOS) campaign. In the coming weeks, FAiR will be pushing for the permanent institution of Fly Quiet. Further, FAiR will be asking our elected representatives, CDA, FAA and O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (ONCC) to enact Fly Quiet as a mandatory (rather than voluntary) program with the utilization of diagonal runway 15 / 33 as part of the permanent rotation.
You will be receiving email updates and action alerts as part of the SOS campaign…..please keep an eye out for them.
Thanks to you all and together we are stronger!
Article Update – July 25, 2016
Dear FAiR Members and Supporters,
Joe del Balzo president and founder of JDA Aviation Technologies (and hired consultants by the Suburban O’Hare Commission) posted the article below to FAiR’s Facebook page. Once again, the voice of the people is being buried while others pat themselves on the back and put us at the back of the bus. We are not about to let this slide. Below is our response.
Regarding the post by Sandy Murdock on JDA’s website: http://jdasolutions.aero/blog/national-airport-noise-solution/
Achieving this compromise regarding night noise over residential communities surrounding O’Hare is, indeed, a collaborative achievement across groups and agencies that should rightly be acknowledged. But Sandy Murdock is incorrect to attribute the creation, development and success of this single and first step in addressing airport impacts on communities to the leadership of Rahm Emanuel, Ginger Evans, Michael Huerta, Barry Cooper, or any elected, appointed or paid official. A handful of local elected officials were early and consistent supporters of FAiR and their constituents and should be credited for their responsiveness, but that group does not include those named in JDA’s article. Let us not forget that in countless other instances in the past and in other cities even today, this kind of success has remained elusive if not impossible. What was different in Chicago this time? Simply this: a movement initiated and led by a large, informed, focused and organized group of citizens who would not go away even when the same officials now credited for having so much vision and openness to change told us to do just that. Allow us to once and for all set the timeline and the record straight:
- It was the citizens coming together as the FAiR Allocation in Runways (FAiR) Coalition–city and suburbs, east and west of O’Hare–who FIRST voiced the notion of O’Hare as a public good and that a fair allocation of runway use (north/south, east/west, day/night, city/suburb) was the only way to balance the economic benefits of O’Hare with the attendant noise and pollution impacts.
- It was the citizens via FAiR who began disseminating information among and across communities about how to file noise complaints, learn about the O’Hare Modernization Plan (OMP), contact elected officials, and appeal property taxes.
- It was a FAiR member and citizen who eventually updated and upended the City of Chicago’s antiquated and cumbersome website for filing noise complaints.
- It was the citizens who began showing up in ever larger numbers to the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (ONCC) meetings, asking detailed questions and demanding better responses from its leadership.
- It was the citizens who focused ever-increasing attention to the non-responsiveness of the former Aviation Commissioner and ONCC chair, and brought the pressure that led to each of their resignations.
- It was the citizens who made the flight path changes a campaign issue in the mayoral race in 2015 and forced Mayor Emanuel to respond.
- It was the citizens who initiated meetings with local and state elected officials to demand solutions and action from their elected representatives who, up until now, had permitted the flawed OMP to evolve without regard for impacts on the very voters and taxpayers they served.
- It was the citizens who conceived and brought the idea for state legislation to alter the OMP, which led to one bill, SB 636, being passed; and the other failed bill to result in the first ever meetings between the Chicago Department of Aviation, the mayor’s office and citizens via the Fair Allocation in Runways (FAiR) Coalition.
- It was FAiR, not Mayor Emanuel or Ginger Evans, who welcomed and invited the participation of the Suburban O’Hare Commission (SOC) and its aviation consulting firm–the very same JDA that wrote the referenced article and now enjoys an apparently friendly relationship with Chicago’s Department of Aviation–at their summer meetings in 2015 because at that time the City of Chicago preferred to maintain its historic divide-and-conquer strategy of city vs. suburbs.
- And it has ONLY been as a result of the pressure, relentlessness, and actions of FAiR and citizens from the entire O’Hare area that this Fly Quiet committee, process, vote and now test period has come to fruition. Every official involved got on board not because they were suddenly enlightened to “make O’Hare be a better neighbor,” but because citizens rightly demanded a better response and accountability from those elected and appointed to the public trust.
Collaboration yes, one that started with the citizens and one that will end when the citizens are satisfied that a portion of their quality of life has been restored. The real and necessary model here is how citizens can and must constantly engage with each other and their elected representatives to ensure that their quality of life, health, sleep and property are never again as carelessly disregarded as they were with O’Hare.
Please click to view or download any of the following articles: