MSP noise and 'choosing losers'

  • Article by: DARYL HANSEN
  • Updated: June 9, 2014 - 6:16 PM

For some in Minneapolis, weather can dictate a change in traffic patterns.

After a harsh winter, finally doors and windows can be opened, screen porches utilized, open decks occupied, summer bliss enjoyed. I have two self-built screen porches and an upper-level deck. But what am I forgetting after a long winter?

I live in southwest Minneapolis — not near the airport, but in a straight line west extended outward from parallel runway 12L. What does this mean? If the wind is out of the southeast, constant nerve-racking airplane noise for arrival flights. The frequency of landings is so great that it’s never quiet.

In the past, flight patterns were varied so that the noise could be distributed over more area, thus relieving stress on my path for a time. This can be a very gradual change by adjusting the angle of approach slightly, which offsets the flight path out of noise range for us. This year, after talking with a Metropolitan Airports Commission noise mitigation spokesperson, I was told that the constant pattern was dictated by a controller sending a signal to landing aircraft, and the frequency of flights demanded that this be unchanged. I mentioned that this was not true in years before, trying to savor in my mind that we had lived in total peace before the parallel runways were built.

I always felt that general freedom, the right to privacy and the pursuit of happiness were supposed to be given rights. The term that explains our loss is “choosing losers” — limiting the number of victims of something totally undesirable, while increasing flight frequency and corporate profits.

Now I hope that the weather is bad and that the wind changes to the west because we receive little airplane noise from takeoffs. But, of course, in bad weather my porch and deck use is not desirable. Also, many others will become “losers” if the noise spreads to other areas.


Daryl Hansen, of Minneapolis, is an architect.

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