Study of Logan Noise in Belmont

Over the past six years, we have held many discussions and meetings about increased airplane noise over Belmont and Watertown.

MassPort has been very responsive in trying to help us understand and address the concern. As part of that response, they installed a noise monitor at a home in Belmont in March. The Belmont Noise Monitoring Report presents the results of those measurements, together with an analysis of which noise events correlate with plane overflights (according to radar).

Belmont noise levels should generally be slightly higher the Watertown noise levels, since planes are climbing and getting further from the ground as they go from Belmont to Watertown. The report finds that the noise levels are roughly 20 decibels below the thresholds that we could get the FAA to take action on. 20 decibels is a very big gap.

We are trying to get underneath the numbers and understand whether particular events might be have having a greater impact. We want to understand whether the use of averaging prevents noise problems from appearing in the statistics. More to come on this.

I’ve been working with Belmont and Watertown representatives to Massport’s Citizen Advisory Counsil, Dennis Duff and Myron Kassaraba, and with State Representatives Hecht and Rogers on the issue and we hope to bring back a full accounting for the situation and the options we have explored for a remedy in the fall.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

4 replies on “Study of Logan Noise in Belmont”

  1. Will, I was very much of two minds when I heard about this. On the one hand, nothing gets people to listen for airplane noise like mentioning to them that perhaps the airplane noise over the homes will be changing. On the other, I also recall the bizarre patterns of dog-barking noise from that kennel on Pleasant St years ago — right in front of the building on Pleasant Street, nothing, but hundreds of feet away to the rear, and it sounded like a dozen packs of hounds on the trail of something.

    It might be good to monitor at more than one site — pick three where people complain about the noise, three where they do not, and see if there is any difference. Maybe there’s something goofy about the shape of the hills that concetrates the sound more in some places than others.

    Also, I could not open the PDF of the report. Not sure what the problem was, it downloaded something, but I could not open it (this, on a Mac, with Preview, Skim, and PDFPen).

  2. Hi Will,

    While I am just outside your district I had the opportunity to meet you while you were running to fill Markey’s spot. I voted for you and I was disappointed that you did not get elected.

    Here’s my experience with noise from Logan; At some point in the past couple of years I started to notice an increase in airplane traffic. I live in Arlington and read that depending on weather conditions planes may occasionally be rerouted over my area. However, this year has been particularly bad and at times it feels like I live right next to the airport. On some days there are planes flying over my house every 30 seconds for hours on end. It’s loud enough to wake me out of bed and completely drown out the TV. To be fair I do fly out of Logan and I understand that planes have to fly over somebody’s house. This is not a classic case of NIMBY-ism, as I not asking that the planes never fly over my house, that would be unreasonable. What I am asking is that it’s not more than one an hour. Also, is there any way they can fly higher by the time they get over Arlington/Belmont? I’ve noticed that inbound planes that fly over my house fly at a much higher altitude and don’t make any noise, though part of that is probably because they have their foot on the brake rather than the gas. I think it’s unfair to subject specific areas to the noise and instead it should be spread out as much as possible over all areas.

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