O'Hare noise group who sought meeting with mayor for 2 years disappointed with meeting

CHICAGO (WLS) -- They're fed up with the noise problem around O'Hare International Airport.

A group dedicated to solving the problem took their case to Mayor Rahm Emanuel Wedesday.

Neighbors of O'Hare met with Emanuel at city hall. They voiced complaints about the jet noise they've endured since the city of Chicago changed the take-off and landing patterns at the airport.

They pushed for the meeting for more than two years, and after it was over...

"This really was a waste of our time, and we are going to look forward then to others who will champion our cause," said Colleen Mulcrone, Fair Allocations In Runways Coalition.

The mayor did not change his stance on two diagonal runways - one closed 6 months ago, the other will close in 2019, despite pleas from residents who contend it is the only way to reduce jet noise over the Northwest Side.

Hundreds of flights now pass over neighborhoods like Jefferson Park, North Park, Edgebrook, Norwood Park and Edison Park.

They previously heard little or no jet noise before an east-west runway opened in October of 2013 as part of the O'Hare Modernization Program.

"They didn't move next to an airport, an airport changed. Flight patterns changed. And now everyone is forced to deal with that," said Ald. Anthony Napolitano, 41st Ward.

The city contends the diagonal runways, built in the 1950s, pose safety threats to airline passengers and airport personnel.

"There are safety issues both in the air and on the ground associated with those runways. They are fatally flawed for that reason alone," Ginger Evans, aviation commissioner.

Commissioner Evans says the city has proposed using two other diagonal runways when weather conditions require and that airlines will be adding newer, quieter planes in the next few years. Until then, the anti-noise group will keep making their voices heard.

"I think we were a little discouraged in that room. But if we start to think there's no light at the end of the tunnel, let's pack it up and go home. And I'm not willing to do that," Napolitano said.

An ordinance authored by Alderman Napolitano seeks to halt the construction of additional runways and force O'Hare officials to reopen the closed diagonal runway immediately.
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