Quigley gives update on O’Hare runway opening
by BRIAN NADIG
A new runaway at O’Hare Airport is expected to open on time next month despite concerns that it will increase jet noise over the Northwest Side, according to U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (D-5).
"First of all, that runway is opening up," Quigley said at the Aug. 28 meeting of the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association. "This is all predetermined. I’m trying to get more information about what we can do to lessen the impact."
Quigley told the association that he plans to meet representatives of federal and local agencies to discuss concern about an increase in jet noise on the Northwest Side. He said that one representative of the Fair Allocation In Runways Coalition, which represents several area community groups, will be allowed to attend the private meeting.
The Oct. 17 opening of Runway 10 Center/28 Center, which lines up with Wilson Avenue, is part of the O’Hare Modernization Plan. The plan calls for more east-west runways so planes can avoid crosswinds in an effort to reduce delays and cancellations.
Quigley said that he has talked to American Airlines about upgrading its fleet to newer, quieter planes and that the Federation Aviation Administration may agree to update an environmental impact study that was conducted in 2005 on the modernization plan. He said that he has heard concerns about cargo planes contributing to the jet noise problems but that in reality they represent a small percentage of planes that fly in and out of O’Hare.
A coalition member said at the meeting that while several North Shore suburbs will experience a decrease in jet noise as a result of the modernization plan, neighborhoods such as Jefferson Park, Forest Glen and Sauganash will experience significant increases in noise and jet fuel pollution. The coalition, which has asked for the expansion of noise monitoring and abatement programs, says that the project will shift 85 percent of all nighttime landings to routes that go over the Northwest Side.
Also at the meeting, Quigley said that the majority of Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are frustrated with the slow pace of legislation. "Very few things are getting to the floor," he said. "We haven’t had a single hearing on gun violence since I’ve been there."
Quigley said that he is sponsoring legislation that would waive visa requirements for travelers from Poland in an effort to increase tourism in Chicago. The 5th U.S. House District includes several North Side and Northwest Side communities, along with some western suburbs such as Hinsdale and Oak Brook.
Also at the meeting, performers for the "Chicago Fringe Festival," which will be held through Sept. 8 at various locations in the Jefferson Park shopping district, were introduced. Association president Merril Miller said that she hopes that the festival will provide "good exposure" for local businesses.
Miller, the association’s longtime president, announced that she will be stepping down from the position, and board member Judy Skotzko was nominated to fill the post. Miller chairs the Jefferson Park "Sunday Markets," which are held at Jefferson Park twice a month in the summer and early fall.
The association’s new email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Johannes Cemetery was adjacent to the O’Hare International Airport and was removed for the O’Hare runway expansion. Photo from May 26, 2010