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Riverside area becomes flyover land

The Metropolitan Airport Commission is closing the runway most generally used for take-offs and landings for re–construction and opening up the North-South runway for July, August and September. This means people living in the Riverside area will be hearing 300 flights a day landing and taking off over their heads.

Plans for these wrong-way operations in non-emergency situations were not publicized. MAC says that FAA rules state that operational changes at airports are "temporary" if they apply for six months or less; so re–routing traffic temporarily did not, by regulation, need to be mentioned as part of the runway reconstruction project description. It sure didn't come up at the one and only on-the-record public hearing last November. Can any part of the original expansion/new runway Record of Decision be "temporarily" modified without re-negotiation?

This wrong-way use of the new runway was not mentioned at the June 27 "Open House" held by Minneapolis to "get a sense" of what compromise settlement on residential sound insulation might be acceptable to residents. There are other issues if airliners fly over the City from the new runway, such as safety, environmental impacts, emergency response plans, homeland security and compatible land-use (zoning). SMAAC tried to get cities to object to the main runway re–construction projects that precipitated wrong-way use of the new runway. We argued that the adverse impacts were intensified by increasing hub operations at MSP.

Because of the hub expansion, FAA is allowing more flights per hour-twice as many as in 1995, not 25 percent more. These rates make a big difference in runway use and airspace management. If operations were more evenly spread throughout the day, runway maintenance or repair projects would interfere far less with operations.

Lower rates and lower use per day was assumed when agreements were established between the airport (MAC, FAA, and airlines) and regulatory agencies and municipalities. If the hub were smaller, local travelers most likely would have more choice of carriers, lower fares and easier check-in and boarding. more frequent interruptions at peak hours, even if the high rates are limited in duration

Valid, if tardy, municipal objections and complaints about operations on the new runway are abundant. There is increased annoyance among residents because of more frequent interruptions at peak hours, even if the high rates are limited in duration.

MAC is holding a public meeting about the new runway on Monday, July 30, at Nokomis Park Community Center, 2401 East Minnehaha Parkway beginning at 6:30 p.m. The South Metro Airport Action Council, a citizen group that monitors MAC, Northwest Airlines and airport noise will be in attendance at the meeting.





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