Long Island resident Sherona Weinberg has had enough of the noise and air pollution from the constant flying of planes over her neighborhood home. She expressed her displeasure at the TVASNAC (Town-Village Aircraft Safety Noise Abatement Committee) meeting on Monday night at the Lawrence High School auditorium to members of the Port Authority and Aviation Development Council.
“I feel like I’m living on a tarmac,” said Weinberg. “From morning till night it is one plane after another flying above my head. My family can’t even spend time in our backyard anymore without constantly being interrupted by the airplane noise.”
She was not the only Long Island resident who was aggravated by the abundance of airplane traffic traveling to and from John F. Kennedy Airport on a daily basis.
Gina Fornasar of Garden City also questioned members of the panel about possible negative health effects on her children. “I have a 6-year-old with autism,” said Fornasar. “There are also three children on my block who suffer with autism related symptoms. I’m not saying there is a direct link but has anyone looked into the possible environmental effects of the increased number of planes flying above our heads?”
New Hyde Park Village representative Kurt Langjahr, who was among a group of local community officials, suggested that a no-fly zone be created during a certain period of the day to give residents a much needed rest from the airplane traffic. “I know it would be tough with over 3000 flights coming in and out of the airport,” said Langjahr. “But maybe Long Island could have a no fly zone area from say 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. I know the nation’s capital has it and Frankfurt, Germany has instituted it, maybe it could work for us?”
Assistant Director of Aviation at Port Authority, Ralph Tragale did not have solid answers for all these questions but said it was the committee member’s responsibility to collect noise complaints from both the public and public officials. “The reason we are here tonight is to collect and analyze the information and complaints from the public,” said Tragale. “We will provide this information and work with the FAA, (Federal Aviation Administration) on the noise complaint and runway use data to put procedures in place to help minimize the impact of the noise in the local communities.”
New York Terminal District Manager, Jeff Clark believed the idea was a little far fetched but said the planes’ routes could possibly be changed. “We could look at changing the routes on each of the runways at different times of the day. Maybe have a rotating runway schedule every four to five hours or so.”
Clark did say that any new implementation would take time and that there is no quick solution. “The New York metropolitan area is one of the busiest places in the world as far as airplane traffic is concerned. You’ve got two major airports here within a few miles of each other.”
A the next regularly scheduled meeting of the TVASNAC Committee members will be on Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lawrence Village Hall.