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UPROAR, Air Traffic Noise on the Peninsula

• There's A Roar Overhead • In The Morning • In The Evening • All Day Long •
There's An UPROAR Over Air Traffic Noise In The Bay Area

  • More Traffic
    Air traffic into the Bay Area has doubled over the past 16 years
  • Increased Noise
    Increased air traffic noise is degrading our quality of life
  • Over the Peninsula and the Entire Bay Area
    Jets now fly mainly over heavily populated cities instead of the Bay
  • Lower Altitudes
    Air traffic is flying at far lower altitudes
  • Bigger Planes
    New larger airplanes are noticeably louder mainly during
    approach but also at take-off

Degrading Our Quality of Life

Since 1996 there has been a significant increase in the air traffic flying over Bay Area communities. We have been invaded by air traffic flying into SFO, starting as early as 4:30 am and as late as 1:00 am. These large commercial planes used to fly over the Bay and at much higher altitudes, but are now flying at far lower altitudes and at increased frequency over urban and suburban neighborhoods. This is degrading our quality of life, robbing us of sleep, and polluting the environment.

Increased Noise

Currently there are over 300 flights a day coming directly over our neighborhoods at elevations as low as 2000 ft. Peninsula communities from Palo Alto, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Woodside, Atherton, Portola Valley, and Redwood City; South Bay neighborhoods of San Jose and Santa Clara, as well as the East Bay cities of San Leandro, Oakland, and Berkeley have been most heavily impacted. Flights from the East and Pacific Rim make their U-turn in an area known as the Menlo Intersection that now extends well into Palo Alto. This U-turn more than doubles the noise factor.

We can no longer enjoy our homes, gardens and parks without constant interruptions from air traffic noise. Many households no longer sleep with the windows open thanks to late night and early morning flights. Televisions and radios are far more frequently left on throughout the day, and children spend more time inside than ever before.

The Role of the FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has never been responsive to noise complaints. With no accountability to the EPA or local jurisdictions the FAA is legally immune from any sort of regulation outside of direct intervention by the US Congress. Congress, being heavily lobbied by the airline industry, has historically acted in the best interests of the airlines with little or no recognition of the very real costs being born by those of us who live under the FAA's flight paths. Airlines are thus free to route flights low over heavily populated areas, saving 5 or 10 minutes of flight time and $2 to $4 per ticket. The net effect of this airline industry lobbying is that our residential neighborhoods are subsidizing the aviation industry more than ever.


A citizen's organization, UPROAR, has been formed to address commercial air traffic and air traffic noise over our Bay Area Communities. UPROAR was formed because existing procedures for reducing air noise and air traffic are not working. The Airport Roundtable, setup and funded by the SFO, is totally ineffectual. It is merely a tool commonly used by large bureaucracies to diffuse public outrage. The landlord of SFO is the City of San Francisco. Increased air traffic will increase their revenues and tourist trade. They are not concerned with the fact that it is ruining our lives on the Peninsula. Moreover, the Environmental Impact Report commitments by SFO have not been implemented - they have been blatantly ignored. UPROAR is developing a cohesive program to address the issues of air traffic and air noise and to find workable solutions to this increasing problem.

Recommending Changes

Procedures have been identified that would substantially reduce the air traffic and noise problems, but the SFO Airport authorities refuse to even seriously discuss them. Elimination of air traffic noise can be achieved without negatively affecting aircraft safety. Flights can traverse the Bay and at higher altitudes and over less populated routes. Many of the flights coming over the Peninsula today are significantly under the existing FAA altitude guidelines.

Comments to: webmaster@uproar.org