Thank you for Anastasia Lyman’s letter about noise from airplanes taking off of Logan Airport Runway 27 that fly over southwest Boston. As leader of the Runway 27 Coalition, she worked hard for Boston residents to force Massport and the FAA to reduce the problems created by use of the runway.
Anastasia correctly stated that increased noise this year is largely due to runway work. However, the problem will not go away. While R27 use increased 18% by August over 2016 due to the repairs it increased 14% between 2014 and 2016. Logan traffic has grown annually nearly 2% since 2009. Much of the growth is international flights that leave late at night. Massport, a public entity, is recruiting more airlines without doing enough to decrease the negative consequences.
While the 1996 court ordered flight path (a corridor running from the South End over Roxbury and JP to Forest Hills) has not changed, the 2013 RNAV (GPS) implementation concentrated the traffic. In 2010, 54% of jets stayed within the corridor; by 2015, 77% did. This concentration along with more traffic worsened the situation. For Roslindale, Hyde Park, and West Roxbury the destination turns of jets after leaving the corridor results in much noise. The worst is when jets depart late at night and then start again at 5AM. This is not a normal we should accept.
There are things that can be done. Representatives Lynch and Capuano made Massport engage experts at MIT to study flight modifications. Two would provide relief: lower and slower departures promises to reduce noise; and an open departure procedure would allow pilots to spread the impact over a larger area. This may require examination of whether the Record of Decision initial conditions have changed.
The problem is being experienced all over the Boston area and around the country. Legislative action in Washington and on Beacon Hill may help. Rep Lynch introduced a bill to require study of the health effects of overflights. Both Reps are members of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus. On Beacon Hill the Fair Skies Caucus has formed (ask your legislators to join). Residents of Phoenix won a legal challenge against the FAA requiring it to roll back RNAV changes. Boston should consider a legal challenge.
The state legislature established the Massport Citizens Advisory Committee (bit.ly/2yGDXFq) to advise Massport on the environmental effects of its operations. There are six Boston representatives of which I am one. The MCAC and Massport hold regular meetings where citizens may speak.
There are Facebook groups about the problem – the local page is “Boston South Fair Skies.” Roslindale, JP, and West Roxbury residents are holding an organizing meeting Wednesday, November 15th at 6:30 at the Roslindale Community Center. Please join.
PLEASE register your noise complaints at: bit.ly/2i07suc. Complaint data is important for creating solutions.
There is much the FAA and Massport could do to reduce airplane noise but they are captive to the airline industry. By organizing and creating political pressure we can change that.
Lamartine Street construction
There have been now four community meetings which include
at least one representative from Boston Mayor’s Office
of Neighborhood Services, discussing the proposed development
at 279 and 281 Lamartine Street. I was able to attend the third
meeting on June 6th, but not the fourth meeting, which just
took place on October 19. Here are some of my thoughts
about this location and the approach that the new owner
has attempted to take:
Any construction for more than four units at this
address is too many. A change from six units (that was the original
proposal, at 3 or 4 stories tall, depending on your definition
of where the “first floor” begins) down to five, is simply
not enough of a change.
Parking UNDER the first floor is itself “the first floor”.
The most recent presentation did NOT count that as one
of the three floors proposed at that time.
The trees in the back of the lot are in danger, unless the
developer signs a legally binding promise to not take them
down at all. Having been an abutter to the
rear (at 244 Chestnut Avenue) since 1985, I have seen
too many houses “legally” built where they crowd everyone’s
sense of space. I have seen many hawks in those trees, and many
other birds as well. Someone once spotted an eagle there.
So many trees have come down along Lamartine and nearby streets,
that the sound on the MBTA trains has become almost
as loud as the Logan jet parade.
Lamartine is being treated like a mini-speedway,
and its pedestrians are not safe, along with their dogs and
babies in strollers. Its too-tight intersection at Green Street
and the nearby 3-way-stop intersection at Seaverns,
are dangerously overcrowded with cars, trucks, buses,
bikes, pedestrians, skateboarders, joggers, dog-walkers,
parents with babies in strollers. Many of these people
are naked without their ears plugged into a phone device,
and when buildings that are too big for the little remaining
space, bring in yet more people into this mixture of impatience
and hyper noisy behavior, then every person’s quality of
life will suffer more…unless they don’t happen to live here.
Please do NOT permit any building to go up that has
more than four units and two stories in its design.
Jamaica Plain resident
I applaud athletes who take the opportunity to express their concerns over the plight of many of our citizens who are stopped for simply being black. Men and women who are exercising their right to free speech despite the scorn. During the second invasion of Iraq when I knew that we were in there unnecessarily, I and my youngest son would wait out the 7th inning singing of “God Bless America” under Fenway Park’s stands out of protest. I am one of the disenchanted who believes that we are too often at the mercy of the military-industrial complex and the private corporations who gain increased profits from warfare despite the risk to our young men and women.
As has been so clearly presented in the PBS series on Vietnam, too many lives were lost on both sides to justify what turned out to be a fruitless and nasty experience – a nightmare. I do not subscribe to the adage, My country right or wrong. I applaud those who bravely went up against fire hoses and tear gas as an act of civil disobedience in order to break down Jim Crow in the south: People like Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges and her teacher, Barbara Henry, James Meredith, and the young black men and women who sat at segregated Woolworth counters in protest, not to mention the Freedom Bus Riders and the activists who lost their lives trying to help the disenfranchised simply cast their vote.
I respect greatly those who went over to Nam, to Korea, to the Middle East, but I don’t agree with the policies that routinely get us into such quagmires, senseless engagements committed to by Chickenhawks such as the sitting president and his VP. It’s baffling to me how any citizen of this country can support trump when he criticizes McCain for having been a POW especially since he, trump, received any number of deferments for a fake injury that didn’t prevent him from playing sports. it’s equally perplexing when I hear people singing his praises when, in fact, trump’s entire history demonstrates that the only thing he’s devoted to ( besides young and vulnerable women) is the almighty dollar. He, to me, is nothing more than a self-serving coward of the first order, and Pence is right up there with him.
We love to worship heroes in this country, but too often we forget that many of our bravest men and women walk among us without guns or combat ribbons. They are the ones on the front line of protest when injustices and foolish policies need to be called out.
Michel L. Spitzer
Jamaica Plain resident
Automatic Voter Registration: Protecting Voters and Our Democracy
As a veteran political canvasser, I know that people in Jamaica Plain are on the move. Guided by a voter registration list, I knock on doors only to find the person I am looking for no longer lives at that address. The list is out of date, constantly.
In a neighborhood on the front lines of the city’s housing crisis, this mobility reflects not only the struggle to find stable and affordable housing, but also the challenge of sustaining participation in our democracy – because under the current system, with every change of residence, you must update your voter registration. They say that the three most stressful moments in life are death, divorce, and moving – so when people move, you can be sure that the last thing on their mind is updating their voter registration.
This scenario is one of many that illustrates the need to embrace a new system for voter registration. The policy approach that makes the most sense is automatic voter registration (AVR) – a system that seamlessly updates the central voter database by integrating information collected by the Registry of Motor Vehicles, MassHealth, and the US Postal Service. Not only is AVR more efficient, but it is more accurate, more secure, and over time, less costly. Fortunately, all of the elected officials representing JP support legislation that is currently making its way through the Mass legislature. With over 102 co-sponsors in the Senate and the House, now is the time to pass this into law.
AVR has been adopted in 10 other states and DC and is under consideration in another 30. The impact is undeniable. As a result of passing AVR in 2012, Oregon successfully registered an additional 230,000 residents, 97,000 of whom showed up to vote. We know that many of these newly registered voters came from Oregon’s most mobile and impoverished communities. The new system also corrected over 265,000 inaccurate addresses – music to my door knocking ears.
In Massachusetts, an additional 680,000 citizens would be automatically registered to vote, removing an unnecessary barrier to participating in our democracy at a time when voting is being suppressed across the country. In JP, a neighborhood known for particularly high voter turnout, we have a responsibility to make sure all our residents can exercise this right. Automatic Voter Registration would do just that.
Early morning plane noise over Franklin Park
I have lived in JP for several years (Stonybrook neighborhood behind Doyle’s). Since spring 2017, I have experienced early morning awakenings from large planes flying low in a southerly direction. Apparently, runway 4R-22L at Logan Airport was closed this spring for renovation so they have been using alternative runways more frequently, one of which directs planes south over JP. The runway work announcement states that the runway would be closed through June. (bit.ly/2gyjsTa)
It has been months now that planes fly over Franklin Park continuously between 5-7a, often on weekends. Concurrently, the number of noise complaints from JP to Logan Airport has increased from 76 in January 2017 to 165 in July 2017 (information available publicly online). On many occasions, I have called the Nosie Abatement hotline (617-561-3333) and been told that the runway would be fixed by July. Winds could not possibly dictate that planes must use that particular runway every morning between the same early morning hours so it seems to me that they could rotate runways better or at least the time of day that the southerly route over Franklin Park is used.
If other people are disturbed by this noise, especially those with young children who won’t sleep through these disturbances, I encourage you to call the hotline or file a written complaint online. (bit.ly/2sYLefV.) I appreciate the need for repairs to maintain safety at Logan airport, but JP is a residential neighborhood far enough from Logan that it should not be affected by this noise every morning. I chose to live near JP’s largest green space with the intention of not being disturbed by urban noise, and I’m sure many others did too. We won’t get our quiet neighborhood back until they hear from us!
Jamaica Plain resident