The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said the 500-plus daily departures and arrivals at Lindbergh Field, 97 percent of which leave to the west and arrive from the east, “won’t cause much of a noise impact,” adding noise levels won’t exceed an average daily increase in excess of 5 (more) decibels.
Noise is measured in decibels on a scale from 0 to 140. Decibels of 45-60 are moderate, 60-80 are loud, 80-100 are very loud and 100-plus is considered deafening. By comparison, rustling leaves are 10 decibels, a whisper is 20 and listening to music on headphones at maximum is 100.
But some Peninsulans aren’t convinced that proposed changes won’t affect their lifestyle and are beginning to make noise about the proposed changes on email pathways.
“This is a very urgent situation, with not much time to react, and it affects all Point Loma residents,” emailed Sandy Valone. “We have been dealing with airplane traffic for decades, but it is about to get way worse.
“The FAA is quietly trying to move the airline pattern that will allow planes to take a hard left and fly directly over many Point Loma houses (no longer having to fly to the end of the point before turning left)… This will affect all houses in Sunset Cliffs, south Sunset Cliffs and the Wooded Area… It is crucial that the word gets out and everyone writes letters to the FAA to try to get this stopped.”
Matthew Naiman, who lives on Charles Street in the Wooded Area of Point Loma, said he’s not worried about direct noise impacts to his neighborhood. “But I am concerned about how the new proposed plan will impact the Cabrillo National Monument in redirecting much of the outbound Lindberg air traffic directly over the monument,” he said.
“It may be possible for the bean counters at the FAA to put a value on jet fuel savings. But I’d also like to know what the cost would be to all of us if the serenity of a large coastal park, nature preserve, education center and major regional tourist attraction is spoiled by what can at times be almost constant overhead jet noise,” he added.
“We moved to a home near Point Loma Nazarene University 29 years ago because we knew that this area in Point Loma is not under the flight path and we would not be affected by airplane noise as those north of Point Loma Avenue are,” said Linda Gregg. “Now we hear the FAA is going to change the route so that planes turn over the ocean further north and much closer to us, disturbing our peaceful neighborhood with their noise. I've written an email to the FAA protesting this and hope they hear my voice and the voices of others who live here.”
“The Airport Authority has had no involvement in the development of the FAA’s SoCal Metroplex project,” said Airport Authority spokesperson Rebecca Bloomfield. “We learned of the project’s proposed flight procedures a few months ago along with the general public. We submitted our comments to the FAA on Sept. 4.
“We will be monitoring the implementation of SoCal Metroplex to determine if there are any changes in noise impacts to the surrounding community. But because the project is still being developed by the FAA, the Airport Authority cannot at this time speak to what potential impacts it may or may not have.”
“As the national aviation infrastructure expands to meet the NextGen goals, the FAA has a difficult and critical task of balancing the needs of all those affected,” wrote the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority in its letter to the FAA on SoCal Metroplex... “Airports are on the ‘front line’ with the community and we directly and regularly interact with people that are most impacted by FAA projects such as Metroplex. … We would suggest the FAA consider retaining the LOWMA waypoint to ensure the airport’s noise abatement procedures can be maintained to limit aircraft flying over Point Loma… Our concern is that the new path is shifted away from the historical flight path that has been used for flights arriving from the northwest, which may result in shifting of noise patterns.”
The SoCal project would improve the efficiency of airspace in Southern California by optimizing aircraft arrival and departure procedures at more than 20 regional airports, including San Diego’s. The project may involve changes in aircraft flight paths and altitudes in certain areas but would not result in any ground disturbance or increase the number of aircraft operations within the Southern California airspace.
The Draft EA for the SoCal Metroplex project was released June 10. The public comment period on it has been extended, and written comments will be accepted by the FAA until Thursday, Oct. 8. The full text of the Airport Authority’s FAA letter can be viewed at www.san.org/metroplex.