O'HARE — Five of the eight new noise monitors Mayor Rahm Emanuel said were designed to document the racket caused by jets using a new runway at O'Hare Airport will be installed in the city, officials said Monday.
The three other monitors will be installed in Itasca, Bensenville and Norridge — all suburbs that have endured more jet noise since the airport's newest east-west runway opened in October 2013, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.
The city locations for the monitors have yet to be determined.
Heather Cherone says the average monitor in one home was like a vacuum cleaner running constantly:
The locations for the noise monitors were designed to measure the racket in areas where flight paths have changed, or are anticipated to change, because of the construction of new runways, according to Gregg Cunningham, a spokesman for the Aviation Department.
Each monitor has an approximate range of three miles in each direction, Cunningham said.
The additional monitors will help city aviation officials "gather and process the data" needed "to better understand the impact" of the noise caused by changes in the flight paths to and from O'Hare, Emanuel said in his July announcement.
That noise has angered residents of Far Northwest Side neighborhoods like Jefferson Park, Edgebrook, Sauganash and North Park, who heard little to no jet racket before the new runway opened, and blame it for significantly reducing their quality of life by lowering the value of their homes, making it impossible for them to sleep or enjoy their yards.
The noise monitors will establish what everyone already knows — that the racket has spread farther and is louder than federal and local officials have acknowledged, said Jac Charlier, a member of the leadership team of the Fair Allocation in Runways Coalition, which has been protesting the changes at O'Hare since the new runway opened.
While the coalition supports the addition of these eight monitors, the number of monitors in both the city and the suburbs is "entirely insufficient" to capture the impact of the noise, Charlier said.
"Many more are needed to get an accurate map," Charlier said.
Jason Hernandez, senior aide to Ald. Mary O'Connor (41st), said a meeting was scheduled for Friday to pinpoint the location in the 41st Ward for at least two noise monitors.
"We've been fighting tooth and nail to get these monitors in our ward," Hernandez said, adding that the monitors will be installed by the O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission, which serves both the city and surrounding suburbs and school districts affected by airplane noise.
Owen Brugh, chief of staff to Ald. John Arena (45th), said he knew of no plan to install a monitor in the 45th Ward.
There are now 33 noise monitors surrounding the airport, which is in the midst of the approximately $10 billion O'Hare Modernization Program designed to expand the airport's capacity and make it function more efficiently. Only two monitors are in the city.
"The addition of five new monitors to the existing two monitors in Chicago will greatly expand the amount and coverage of data that is collected and disclosed" each month in a report issued by the department of aviation, Cunningham said.
In September, 32,532 complaints were made to the city-run toll-free hotline and website, more complaints than were filed in all of 2013, according to the most recent data released Friday by the O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission.
The new runway allows planes to take off and land without crossing paths with other jets while on the ground, which aviation officials said will reduce delays and increase safety.
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