Tag Archives: airplane noise

Mayor asks FAA for more comment time, south end meeting

This is part of a map on the Greener Skies website labeled “Future South Flow Arrival Procedures Over Current Flight Track Density, North of Airport.” See the full map here.
The West Seattle Blog reports that Mayor Mike McGinn has sent the FAA a letter asking for an extension on the comment period for the “Greener Skies” proposal. (See earlier posts here and here.) The letter also requests that a public comment meeting be held in South Seattle, and for the FAA to set up a meeting with the mayor to brief him on the Greener Skies initiative.

Here is the full text of the mayor’s letter:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Greener Skies Environmental Assessment.

Since the public comment period on the Greener Skies Initiative was announced, I have been hearing from residents throughout Seattle about the possible impacts the proposed flight operation changes could have regarding jet engine noise over their neighborhoods.

In particular, those concerned neighborhoods are primarily from areas where flight operations are already a significant issue. While it appears that these new procedures could reduce noise overall and narrow flight paths, it is unclear whether or not these changes might direct flights disproportionately over a specific community, who could then experience greater noise impacts as a result.

The residents of many areas of Seattle are concerned that they have not had an adequate opportunity either to hear from the FAA about these proposed changes or to comment on them. I respectfully request that the FAA extend the comment period on the Greener Skies EA an additional 30 days and in that interim period schedule a public comment meeting in a south Seattle location, as the prior meeting was on the opposite side of the city. I would also like a meeting with FAA staff to receive a briefing to better understand the desired goals of the initiative and how they will be achieved.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Thanks to WSB for the heads-up!

NBHC: Better outreach needed for “Greener Skies”

Yesterday, the North Beacon Hill Council sent a letter to the FAA and to the elected officials representing Southeast Seattle in the United States Senate and House. The letter was also released to neighborhood mailing lists and other neighborhood news sources.

The deadline for public comment to the FAA is today.

Here’s the notice sent out by the NBHC yesterday:

Thank you to everyone organizing efforts to extend the FAA comment period regarding the “Greener Skies Over Seattle” proposal. We’re sending this letter by mail, addresses to follow. We encourage you to use this as a template for communicating with our elected officials. The current deadline for public comment is 9/14.

Greener Skies EA
Augustin Moses, AJV-W2
Federal Aviation Administration
1601 Lind Avenue SW
Renton, WA 98057

Senator Patty Murray
2988 Jackson Federal Building
915 2nd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98174

Senator Maria Cantwell
915 Second Avenue
Suite 3206
Seattle, WA 98174

Congressman Adam Smith
2402 Rayburn Office Building
Washington D.C. 20515

Congressman Jim McDermott
1809 7th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

Over 60 concerned neighbors attended the North Beacon Hill Community Council meeting on September 11th. Our neighborhood consensus is that the recent ‘Greener Skies’ public outreach meetings didn’t meet the needs of our community. (September 5, 2012, Federal Way Library and September 6, 2012 Ballard Branch Library)

The NBHC Board is concerned that the large populations of low-income, elderly, minority and other residents living within the 98144, 98118, and 98108 zip code areas did not have an opportunity to participate in the public process. Furthermore the meeting format made it nearly impossible to have questions answered in any kind of understandable or meaningful way.

We are requesting that you help hold the FAA accountable to:

  • Hold meetings in Southeast Seattle within the 98144, 98118 and 98108 zip codes
  • Offer translated outreach materials and simultaneous translation to at least four languages during the meeting
  • Host meetings in a wheelchair accessible facility
  • Conduct outreach by postal mail and other non-electronic methods of notification to all citizens impacted by this proposal

Southeast Seattle is affected by THREE airports; Boeing Field, Renton Airport, and Sea-Tac Airport. We are the MOST negatively affected community in the region. We need to have a better public process, with more outreach, and at a time and place which will ensure more community awareness and engagement in these important air traffic changes.

Thank you,

North Beacon Hill Council Board
Melissa Jonas, Chair
2821 Beacon Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98144

Neighbors seeing red over “Greener Skies”

Robert Bismuth of the Magnolia Community Council spoke at last night’s NBHC meeting. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.
West Seattle Blog recently captured the frustration of many South Seattle residents at a Ballard meeting regarding proposed changes in flight paths and landing patterns that may negatively affect Southeast and Southwest Seattle.

Many of the 60+ attendees at last night’s North Beacon Hill Council (NBHC) meeting were there to discuss their concerns with the proposed FAA changes—and especially the confusion and frustration about location and tone of the FAA outreach meetings.

The lively discussion included a succinct yet thorough history by Magnolia Community Council Chair Robert Bismuth of how Magnolia successfully defended airspace above their neighborhood from changes that would have have “exponentially” increased noise and pollution.

NBHC Board member Ticiang Diangson is working with community activists from Beacon Hill and other neighborhoods to form a task force to address concerns regarding the “Greener Skies Over Seattle” proposal. (See the FAA’s website about the project here.)

If that FAA link seemed confusing or overly technical to you, you’re not alone. The NBHC voted unanimously last night to support efforts by the task force regarding “Greener Skies” to extend the public comment period on the FAA Environmental Assessment until the FAA has given residents of potentially-impacted communities the opportunity to learn more about the project. The current comment period ends on September 14. (Addresses to submit comments are here.)

The NBHC is asking Maria Cantwell, Patty Murray, Congressman Jim McDermott and Adam Smith to request the FAA hold public outreach meetings regarding “Greener Skies Over Seattle” in Southeast Seattle (of course, we’d prefer Beacon Hill), and also to extend the comment period beyond September 14 to give the FAA an opportunity to correct problems with outreach—and give our communities the opportunity to understand this proposal. Outreach materials need to be offered in the languages read by our communities and translation must be offered during the meetings.

(Melissa Jonas is the current chair of the North Beacon Hill Council.)

Tonight: Flight noise, more on agenda at North Beacon Hill Council meeting

Sound familiar? Photo by Helen Cook via Creative Commons/Flickr.
The North Beacon Hill Council meets tonight (September 11) at 7 p.m. at the Beacon Hill Library, 2821 Beacon Ave. S. While there are several topics on the agenda including updates on public safety and Internet connectivity, one topic expected to draw a crowd is that of airplane noise and the Greener Skies project to adjust flight patterns into SeaTac, and what sort of impact the project may have on the residents of Southeast Seattle.

There has been a fair amount of worry on Beacon Hill about the potential changes. The materials produced by the FAA to explain the project are somewhat opaque to non-pilots, and conflicting information on whether it will negatively affect the Hill at all has come in from various sources. Community meetings to discuss the plans have been located in Ballard and Federal Way, but none of them near Southeast Seattle.

Some neighbors were able to attend the meeting in Ballard, and will report back at tonight’s NBHC meeting. West Seattle Blog recorded video of the meeting. The Ballard News-Tribune was also there. According to neighbor Tina Ray, part of tonight’s plan is to set a date and agenda to meet with the Port of Seattle and the FAA about the Greener Skies plan.

Here’s the complete agenda for the evening:

  • 7:00-7:05 Introductions
  • 7:05-7:20 Public Safety Update: Reports about an increase in street burglaries and updates on recent shootings in the Beacon Hill area
  • 7:20-7:35 Airplane noise/Greener Skies: updates from FAA meetings 7:35-7:50 New Project Updates: Proposed developments in the neighborhood including El Centro, Holgate property, and McClellan project
  • 7:50-8:05 Opportunity Fund “speed dating”: brief presentations from Friends of Lewis Park, Beacon BIKES, El Centro, Cheasty Greenspace, etc.
  • 8:05-8:15 Neighborhood calendar and group updates, DON news
  • 8:15-8:30 Update on Internet connectivity in Beacon Hill: Representatives from UPTUN (Upping Technology for Underserved Neighbors) will be presenting with invited representatives from Comcast, Wave (formerly Broadstripe) and CenturyLink

As always, all interested neighbors are welcome to attend.

It’s Blue Angels time again

Photo by Joshua Davis via Creative Commons/Flickr.
It’s that time of year again. The Blue Angels are returning for their annual Seafair air show performance, which means they’ll be buzzing Beacon Hill for a few days later this week. Blue Angel #7 arrives today, the team arrives tomorrow, and the practices and shows start on Thursday, August 2.

During the Blue Angels’ performances and practices, I-90 will be completely closed to everyone—vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists, in both directions, between I-5 and Island Crest Way on Mercer Island.

Here’s the schedule of this week’s shows and practices, including the Blue Angels and other aircraft involved in the celebration events:

Thursday, 8/2: Air show/practice, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (I-90 closed 9:45 a.m. – noon and 1:15 – 2:30 p.m.)

Friday, 8/3: Air show, 11:20 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (I-90 closed 12:45 p.m. – 2:40 p.m.)

Saturday, 8/4: Air show, 10:50 a.m. – 12:40 p.m., 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (I-90 closed 12:45 p.m. – 2:40 p.m.)

Sunday, 8/5: Air show, 10:05 a.m. – noon, 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., 3:15-4:05 p.m. (I-90 closed 12:45 p.m. – 2:40 p.m.)

Be aware that the Angels fly very low over North Beacon Hill — it can be a pretty good show, but also startling if you’re not used to it. Your pets may be frightened, so be careful and keep them safe.

FAA trial project to change some flight paths over Beacon Hill

Dominic Gates of The Seattle Times reports that a new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) trial project may change flight paths over Seattle for planes landing at Sea-Tac Airport, with possible impacts to Beacon Hill. Under the proposed new procedures, incoming planes that currently pass over the airport and turn over Edmonds or North Seattle to head south to the airport would instead turn over Elliott Bay, rejoining the normal southbound flight path right over Beacon Hill. (See the Times’ flight map.) This will reduce noise over the northern neighborhoods, but the effect on Beacon Hill is, as yet, unknown.

Jets participating in the trial will use satellite signals for guidance to the airport runway, keeping engines on idle as long as possible. This will save fuel as well as reducing polluting emissions.

According to Gates (in an email forwarded to the Beacon Hill mailing list), it is unclear at this point whether the new flight paths will cause more noise over Beacon Hill, or whether the engines will still be in idle at the point where they pass over us. An environmental assessment (including assessment of noise impacts) will be performed later this year, after the completion of the flight trial project.

(Thanks to Capitol Hill Seattle for drawing our attention to this!)

Vintage airplanes may be loud

Will we see this sight overhead next week? Photo by Marshall Astor via Creative Commons/Flickr.
Kiersten Throndsen at KOMO Communities (Beacon Hill Blog news partners) reports that things may be getting loud on some parts of Beacon Hill starting on Monday:

Starting May 21 through Memorial Day weekend, the Museum of Flight is hosting B-17 Bomber tours and rides on a variety of vintage military aircraft.

According to the notice from the city, these aircraft are sanctioned by permits from the FAA and are used for enjoyment.

King County International Airport is not authorized to restrict aircraft usage 24/7.

The city says you can file a noise complaint online or by calling 206-205-5242.

Though it may be loud, it sounds like there will be some interesting sights for fans of vintage aircraft.

Blue Angels to buzz Beacon this week

Blue Angels flying directly over 17th Ave. S. Photo by Wendi.
The Blue Angels are back in town for Seafair, which means that Beacon Hill residents can expect the usual close-up view of the Angels as they practice and perform their choreographed aerial acrobatics directly over our neighborhood.

The squadron will practice on Thursday, August 4 from 10 a.m. until noon and again from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Actual performances will be on Friday, August 5, through Sunday, August 7, each day from 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Practices and performances will force complete closures of I-90 due to Federal Aviation Administration safety rules, so be aware that there will be congestion. If you need to drive across the lake using I-90 on Thursday – Sunday mornings, you should drive at least one hour before the closure times.

On Thursday, I-90 will be closed twice. The express lanes will close at 9 a.m. and reopen by 3:30 p.m., and the mainline will close from 9:45 a.m. until noon, and then again from 1:15-2:30 p.m.

On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the express lanes will close at least two hours before the shows and reopen by 3:30 p.m., and the mainline will be closed from 12:45 – 2:40 p.m. each day.

There will be loud noise from the jets during the practices and performances, so take special care of your pets. As on the Fourth of July, some pets react negatively to the loud noise from the Blue Angels and may run away.

For further information about this year’s air show, see the Seafair website.

Airport noise study open house on Saturday

A familiar sight on Beacon Hill. Photo by Helen Cook via Creative Commons.
Though it’s a bit distant from the Hill, the Part 150 Noise Study Open House on Saturday may be of interest to the many Beaconians who are irritated by noise from the overhead flight path in and out of Sea-Tac Airport.

The open house is the fourth in a series of public events related to the Part 150 Study, which is looking at ways to reduce aircraft noise impacts on communities around Sea-Tac Airport.

Topics at the open house will include:

  • The new, still in draft form, noise remedy boundary, which determines insulation eligibility
  • Discussion of noise abatement programs
  • Potential new sound insulation programs
  • An update on the Hush House, designed to suppress aircraft engine testing noise

The open house will be held on Saturday, April 9 at Sea-Tac Airport’s Arrivals Hall, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The Arrivals Hall is at the south end of the main terminal, baggage claim level. From Beacon Hill, an easy way to get there is to take Link to the Airport Station. If you drive instead, park at the south end of the airport garage, on floors 5 through 8, near the yellow or green elevators, rows N through U. Take the elevator to floor 4 of the garage and walk across skybridge 1 to the main terminal. Look for signs directing you to the Arrivals Hall, next to baggage claim carousel 1. Parking will be validated.

Mayor follows up on town hall questions

Mayor McGinn at the Beacon Hill Town Hall at Jefferson Community Center on February 15. Photo courtesy City of Seattle.
Mayor Mike McGinn this week sent out a follow-up email addressing unanswered questions that were brought up at the February 15 town hall meeting at Jefferson Community Center. Topics addressed include broadband access, future use of the closed Neighborhood Service Center, a possible Alcohol Impact Area on North Beacon Hill, and the SeaTac flight paths overhead.

There were some questions raised that we weren’t able to address that night; here they are, along with our answers:

1. What power does the City have to regulate Broadstripe and other broadband providers? The City of Seattle regulates cable television service for Seattle residents, and we also own the physical conduits through which the cables that provide that service travel, but the Federal Communications Commission has restricted the ability of cities like ours to regulate internet service providers. Where we do have power is in our contract negotiations with these companies. Our next opportunity to renegotiate our cable contract with Broadstripe will be in 2017. They have little capacity for significant service improvements, as they are now in bankruptcy (although still complying with the contract). The last contract renewal led the Department of Information Technology to look into creating a city-wide fiber-optic network in the first place. We know that there’s a huge need for faster and more reliable Internet access across the city, and that’s why we’re working on a business plan for municipal broadband.

2. Can members of the community use the old Neighborhood Service Center site as a volunteer-run community information center? The different departments involved are still discussing how to use the space going forward, and no decisions have been made so far. In the meantime, Department of Neighborhoods staff are using the space on a drop-in basis, and community groups can also make use of other meeting rooms in the library.

3. What will it take to make Beacon Hill an Alcohol Impact Area? As Captain Nolan and I mentioned on the 15th, the designation of an Alcohol Impact Area is something that’s done by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. More information about the designation process can be found here; links to studies of the effectiveness of AIA’s are here; and information about the processes that the City went through specifically in 2004-2006 are available here.

4. Is there anything that the City can do about flight paths going into and out of SeaTac? The Federal Aviation Administration regulates flight paths; the City, County, and Port don’t have direct regulatory authority over the airspace around the airport, but the FAA has been receptive to community input in the past. The Magnolia Community Club, for example, had a recent success when the FAA decided not to lower the level at which aircraft would be allowed to fly over Seattle neighborhoods. There will be an opportunity for the public to comment on the FAA’s Next Gen initiative, which will include re-evaluating flight plans that affect SeaTac and Boeing Field. Please E-mail me directly with your comments and concerns regarding flight paths over Beacon Hill, and I’ll be sure that we pass them along to the FAA. For more information about the Magnolia Community Club’s efforts, please contact Robert Bismuth at AirportNorth@gmail.com or 206-941-1923.

I hope the information in this E-mail is helpful; if you have input on how to improve our Town Hall follow-up going forward, feel free to contact Sol Villarreal in my office at sol.villarreal@seattle.gov or 206-427-3062.

For other opportunities to talk to myself or other City staff in your community please see our Public Outreach and Engagement Calendar at http://seattle.gov/engage/access.htm, and as always, please write to me with any questions, comments, or concerns that you have at mike.mcginn@seattle.gov.

It’s an honor to be able to serve as your Mayor; I’ll look forward to seeing you again soon.

Mike McGinn

(You can read a compilation of the February 15 town hall discussion here and see complete video of the event here.)