Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Project to Last Four Months
The New York-New Jersey Port Authority owns and manages Kennedy International Airport, along with several other area airports. In an effort to accommodate the higher volume of air traffic, wider wingspans and heavier aircrafts, the Port Authority is in the process of rehabilitating and widening Runway 13R-31L, also known as the Bay Runway, at Kennedy. The construction project is being completed in three phases. The project is currently in its first phase of completion, where the prep work for the project is being finalized. While the first and last phase will have a minimal impact on the skies above Floral Park, phase 2 involves closing the Bay Runway from March 1, 2010 to June 30, 2010. With the Bay Runway out of circulation for four months, it is anticipated that Runways 22L and 22R are likely to be utilized more frequently for arrivals. As Floral Park and its neighboring communities, such as Elmont, Franklin Square, Garden City, New Hyde Park and Stewart Manor, are located directly under the paths of planes arriving into Kennedy on Runways 22L and 22R, Western Nassau can anticipate more aircraft noise during this time period.
Floral Park Trustee Mary-Grace Tomecki, who has had several meetings with representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as the Port Authority, leading up to the reconstruction effort assures residents that there are plans for noise mitigation in place. Trustee Tomecki reveals that “first, there are alternatives to using the 22s for arrivals during phase two of the construction. Moreover, JetBlue, American and Delta, the major air carriers at Kennedy, have voluntarily agreed to fly on a winter schedule from March to June, which reduces the overall number of arriving flights and lessens the likelihood of delays that can extend flights over the village into the late evening hours. There are also financial incentives for the construction company to complete this phase of the project in three months, ensuring that the disruption to Floral Park is contained to a relatively short period of time, as opposed to the past where such projects dragged on for years. Finally, once the reconstruction is complete, Runway 13R-31L will be available for more efficient operations.”
Given the nature of the Bay Runway construction project and its potential for impact on the quality of life enjoyed in Floral Park and its neighboring villages, albeit temporary and contained, the Port Authority, along with the Federal Aviation Administration agreed to come to Floral Park and provide a detailed presentation on the project, while responding to questions from concerned residents, back in January of 2010. Trustee Mary-Grace Tomecki, along with the Floral Park Noise Abatement Committee, which is a committee of volunteers devoted to promoting a more equitable distribution of air traffic in the skies above, hosted the well-attended information session for Floral Park residents, regarding the reconstruction of Runway 13R–31L at Kennedy International Airport. According to Trustee Tomecki, “this opportunity for an open, public dialogue was rare. Mayor Kevin Greene, along with the entire Village Board including myself, remains most grateful to the Port Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration for their willingness to meet with the Village of Floral Park.”
Trustee Tomecki added that “such open dialogue has led us to understand that the impact on the quality of life enjoyed in the Village will only be temporary and that all efforts to mitigate noise have been explored. In this vein, we hope that the dialogue has inspired renewed interest in our ongoing quest to work with our federally elected representatives for more frequent rotation of runway usage and in turn, a more equitable distribution of air traffic over Western Nassau, so that the burden of living under the flight patterns is shared.”