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.