The City of Medford has been directly impacted by increased aircraft noise over City neighborhoods for the last several years. The cause of the increase was a doubling of traffic in 2007 and the implementation of the new Global Positioning System (GPS) enhanced Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures, including Area Navigation (RNAV), in 2013. Per the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), these procedures enhance safety and efficiency in the skies.
Unfortunately, this has resulted in a concentration of flight tracks into relatively narrow rails due to the precise nature of GPS technology, leading to community concerns about persistent noise in specific locations. Previously, flights were more spread out because planes were using less precise procedures.
In response to complaints from cities, towns and elected officials in our region, Massport, with the cognizance of FAA, commissioned MIT to perform studies of the procedures to examine options for noise abating climb profiles and spreading the flight tracks laterally thereby diminishing the impact to specific neighborhoods across the region. After the study, recommendations will be made to FAA for what changes should be made to lessen the noise impact on residents.
Greatly compounding the problem this summer is the fact that Logan Airport has just recently closed their most utilized runway (4R/22L) for major repairs which are scheduled to conclude at the end of June. This has resulted in utilizing Runways 33L and 15R to a much greater degree and thus, a greater impact on our community. The main route of departures leaving Runway 33L is towards a waypoint directly over the Andrews Middle School. The main route for aircraft arriving at Runway 15R takes them over the Heights, Glenwood and Wellington – at steadily decreasing altitudes. Logan airport is a 24/7 operation, with scheduled departures and arrivals throughout the night.
Recently, Mayor Stephanie Burke in conjunction with the city’s Logan and Massport CAC appointees, Luke Preisner and Peter Houk held a community forum to discuss factually what has taken place and next steps. We, as a city, continue to work to assist in finding solutions to the issues presented such as volume of plane traffic above, elevation, time of departures and arrivals during overnight hours as well as health concerns raised by our residents.
Within the last week, Mayor Burke has requested that Massport provide the City with a noise monitor to be placed above the Andrews Middle School. This monitor will show the frequency, timing and noise levels associated with Logan operations and can be paired with information about the height of the aircraft and amount of air traffic for a comprehensive picture of the aircraft noise sources directly effecting our entire community.
To provide Massport with accurate feedback on your concerns, we suggest that you look up the flyer on how to register your complaints on the City web page at www.medfordma.org/airplane-noise
We also urge you to contact your federal delegation regarding the elevation of the planes and frequency of flights. If your concerns are focused on the time of departures, we encourage you to contact members of our State Delegation. Our Massport and Logan airport advisory contacts are Luke Preisner (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Peter Houk (email@example.com).
We have established a page on the City of Medford website with slides from our first public meeting and will provide updates there moving forward.
In addition, Grass roots organizations exist and are generally specific to geography and runway headings. These offer a mix of websites, google groups and Facebook pages for engagement, as well as hold periodic meetings.
Boston South Fair Skies – West of Logan Airport, Runway 27