SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – Saturday was a slightly unusual day at San Francisco International Airport. It only happens about 15 percent of the time. The weather had arriving planes landing on runways 19L and 19R, and departing aircraft were leaving the way people would normally fly in to SFO, to the south, and over the bay.
It’s called the Southeast Plan, as opposed to the normal West Plan, and it made for an abnormally quiet day in a neighborhood that was not expecting one.
“Normally, this particular home and neighborhood is inundated with noise,” Representative Jackie Speier said to a small crowd of neighbors. It was amid the rare break from the noise, in front of the home of the mayor of South San Francisco, that Rep. Speier told neighbors that she heard them.
“The aircraft are flying over more frequently,” said resident Dave Jordan. “And the noise has increased quite a bit.”
Not that long ago, the skies really were a bit more wide open. The technology that has made flying safer has also made flying much more precise. The flight paths above the Bay Area have become increasingly narrow and much more crowded.
“And consequently what we used to have was a flight every now and then,” says South San Francisco Mayor Rich Garbarino. “Now it is constant, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Speir is introducing eight separate bills on the issue. The SNORE Act would provide noise insulation assistance for homeowners. Another would mandate community input at the Federal Aviation Administration.
“I think the best thing to do would be to shut the airport down around 10 o’clock at night and open it up at seven in the morning,” Jordan says.
Voluntary curfews are covered in the REST act. Those living near SFO say it is long overdue.
“It’s about people and the quality of life for the residents,” Garbarino explains. “Not just in South San Francisco, but wherever there is an airport noise.”
As for Speir’s eight pieces of legislation, they now go to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.