Buried on Page 2B
I’m addicted to newspapers. It’s true. Gotta have my fix everyday or I start getting jittery. This might be considered odd behavior for a tech-obsessed guy who also reads way too many blogs most days, but that’s how it goes.
So I found this gem in today’s Tennessean titled, “Noise complaints lead to return to former flight pattern“. If you don’t live in East Nashville or know someone who does, you may have no idea what this means.
Back in June, the FAA decided that planes departing BNA needed to fly farther from the taller buildings downtown and began routing planes over East Nashville. Immediately, folks living in East Nashville noticed the change and began (politely, as far as I’ve seen) complaining. Mostly about the noise and partly about there not having been any public announcement, discussion or request for comments (as the government generally operates in community matters). The Tennessean ran a nice story about it (to which I would link if it was still publicly accessible — try as hard as they might, old media just still don’t get the interweb).
I recall reading a letter to the editor from someone living near the airport accusing East Nashville residents of complaining unjustly and suggesting that we could put up with the noise as well as those living near the airport. But here’s the rub. My neighbors and I didn’t buy houses near the airport nor in the established flight paths. (We bought houses near railroad tracks that carry a steady stream of horn blowing trains heard for miles, but that’s a different story.) People who buy a house near the airport can reasonably expect to hear planes taking off and landing. And their property values should already reflect this characteristic. But I don’t live anywhere near the airport — or at least I thought I didn’t.
Let me tell you, the difference since this most recent change is remarkable. Several times over the past few months I thought a plane was landing on my roof the noise was so loud. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but not by much. Now that the standard flight paths have reverted to the prior pattern, the relative quiet is palpable (and much welcomed). I know this arrangement won’t last indefinitely, as it puts the Nashville air traffic again out of compliance with FAA regulations, but I wonder how they will possibly resolve the situation without flying over other neighborhoods that don’t currently experience airplane noise.
At the very least, this turn of events demonstrates the non-futility of voicing complaints to decision-makers rather than just to whomever is in earshot. Lots of thanks to those who spoke out and to whomever made the decision to find a different solution. And so, in the end, this is a story of activism and taking charge of your circumstances. Don’t let the man (or life in general) roll you over. Get out and do something about it. And do not, under any circumstances, accept new airplane noise in your neighborhood, as it really sucks. A lot.