ELMHURST - Monica Anderson, of the 300 block of Walnut Street in Elmhurst, is one of many residents who has experienced the effects of the O'Hare runway rotation tests' use of the 4R 22L runway.
She and her husband have lived in Elmhurst for 13 years. The three times they visited the area to look at the house they would ultimately buy airplanes were not landing, just taking off, she said. On the day they moved in, planes were landing frequently and she said she was so overwhelmed by the noise that they knocked on their neighbor's door.
"Welcome to Elmhurst ... that's the airplanes," she recalled the neighbor saying.
With the runway rotation testing, the 4R 22L runway is being used more frequently again.
Though she said she loves her neighbors and the area schools, she would consider moving if the change is permanent.
She has a petition that has been signed by about 200 people opposing the runway rotation testing, but wants the city to increase the public's awareness of the issue.
"We can only do so much. We really need the support of the city behind us," she said in public comment at the Public Affairs and Safety Committee meeting held Aug. 14 in the City Council chambers.
The committee unanimously approved a fly quiet report, which Alderman Bob Dunn said will be on the agenda at the next City Council meeting, Aug. 21.
The resolution states that Elmhurst residents have "suffered for many decades with air traffic noise and only realized limited relief from the air traffic noise when the [O'Hare Modernization Program] commenced," that the recent changes in the runway rotation program have "adversely affected the city of Elmhurst," and that "the utilization of east-west flight patterns represent the most efficient and effective implementation of air traffic at O'Hare."
The resolution concludes with stating that Elmhurst "strongly opposes the test program in that the test program utilizes runways affecting Elmhurst at a disproportionate rate," that corporate authorities "strongly support" completing the O'Hare Modernization Plan and "strong oppose" the Fly Quiet/Runway Rotation Test Program.
"It was obvious that it was an inequitable use of the runways," Dunn said about the third test of Fly Quiet's runway rotation program.
The third runway rotation test at O'Hare International Airport includes a 12-week schedule, which started July 23 and is scheduled to continue through Oct. 15. Runway 4R 22L is on the schedule every other week.
"I want you all to know that myself and the rest of the elected officials and city staff are very focused on this," he said at the meeting, addressing the attendees.
Anderson suggested that the aldermen do more to notify the public, including asking Dunn to post about the details of the runway rotation program and its effects on his Facebook page. Committee chairman Alderman Scott Levin said he did not have a Facebook page. Information about Fly Quiet and the runway rotation program is slated to be included on the front page of the next Front Porch newsletter.
"We could have the best data and the best arguments, but we don't have the votes," Levin said.
Elmhurst has one seat at the table of the 58-member O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission.
To voice opposition to the runway rotation, residents can contact U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Chicago, at quigley.house.gov, file a noise complaint at 800-435-9569 or chicagonoisecomplaint.com, or complete a Chicago Department of Aviation Fly Quiet survey at surveymonkey.com/r/872FZNF.
To learn more about the third runway rotation test at O'Hare International Airport, visit airportprojects.net/flyquiettest/about. To learn more about the runway rotation program, visit oharenoise.org.