November 12, 2018
Chicago’s 41st Ward borders O’Hare airport, and is home to 56,000 residents. Located on Chicago’s far northwest side, the 41st Ward encompasses the community areas of Edison Park, Edgebrook, O’Hare, and Norwood Park. For five years, the 41st Ward has endured the worst jet noise and air pollution of all Chicago wards.
Chicago’s 41st Ward is affected by four flight paths (black broken lines illustrated below): parallels (1) Lawrence 10L/28R, (2) Thorndale (9R/27L), (3) Pratt/Belle Plaine (9L/27R); and one of the two remaining northeast to southwest diagonal runways (4R/22L). A fifth runway (red broken lines illustrated below) aligned with Granville one block south of Devon (9R/27L) will be open in 2020, and contribute further traffic. Also, the Thorndale runway (9R/27L) will be extended to 11,260 feet and fully activated in 2021. Both runways are expected to take 60% of the overnight cargo traffic once they are activated. Well over 55% of all commercial and cargo arrivals and departures will use the three northernmost parallel runways once the final build-out of OMP is complete. Countless schools, parks and the main commercial districts are directly affected by these flight paths.
41st Ward residents currently experience jet noise in the range of 90 - 110 decibels on a 24/7 basis. (65 decibels is considered ‘unhealthy’, while 120 decibels is considered physically damaging to the human body.) As a result, 41st Ward residents experience consistent and sustained general annoyance, stress, and sleep disturbance. Being within the 5-mile red-zone for jet air pollution and ultrafine particulates, 41st Ward residents inhale and have skin-contact with a daily dose of toxins. The highest concentration of ultrafine particulates, black carbon, and nitrogen oxides (roughly 10 times above normal) are within a few miles of O’Hare. Schools and homes within the 41st Ward are being inundated with an overwhelming source of air pollution. The long-term impact on 41st Ward residents’ health will be catastrophic, particularly for school children and the elderly.
41st Ward residents logged 504,060 noise complaints for calendar year 2017 (compared to 12,844 annual complaints five years earlier). For the month January 2017, residents logged their greatest number of complaints at 73,017. In comparison, there were 4.839 noise complaints in January 2012.