Written by Belmont Patch columnist Lisa Gibalreio
Interested in a quick and easy way to make someone’s day? Here’s what you do: call a Complaint Hotline and – this is the important part – don’t complain!
But first, let me back up a little.
Several months ago, Logan Airport, in conjunction with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), initiated a plan to re-route airplane traffic of a particular runway such that Belmont and surrounding communities started to see and hear a lot more planes overhead than it has for many years. Almost as soon as this occurred, residents began complaining about the increase in airplane traffic and noise.
That residents in Belmont were bothered by the noise level resulting from the new routes of the airplanes was brought to my attention at a recent Board of Selectmen meeting. Apparently Board members had received numerous emails and phone calls concerning the noise level.
I asked one Board member if he had heard from any residents who actually liked seeing and hearing more planes overhead. He looked at me quizzically and said, “No. We tend to only hear from those who are unhappy with something.”
A few days later, a Facebook friend of mine posted that she was “sick and tired” of hearing the rumble of planes overhead. She posted a phone number at Massport and encouraged her local “friends” to call the number and let Massport know that the increase in noise was disruptive and would not be tolerated.
This friend received a lot of support for her Facebook posting, i.e., many “likes” as well as encouraging and commiserating comments. As is typical with online comments, some were outlandish: one person said that the plane routes should never have been changed, that the people living in the communities that had been receiving the most traffic were used to the noise by now and so it was no big deal to them.
Anyway, I decided to call the Massport hotline, using the number I saw on Facebook. My brief conversation went something like this:
Massport: “This is Massport. How can I help you today?”
Me: “Hi. I’m a Belmont resident and I was wondering if this was the line to call to complain about the increase in airplane traffic.”
Massport: “Yes, ma’am. What is the nature of your complaint?”
Me: “Well, I’d like to go on record with a non-complaint.”
Massport: “With a what?”
Me: “I’m calling to say that I’m absolutely fine with the fact that more planes are flying over Belmont. I’m OK with hearing the planes in the sky. I enjoy looking up to find the white vapor trail.”
Massport: (the sound of laughter) “Wow.” (more laughter) “No one has ever called to not complain about something. This is a first for me!”
Me: “Great! I just wanted you to know that at least one person in Belmont is not bothered by the change in air traffic routes.”
Massport: “So, you’re fine with more planes?”
Me: “Yes. In fact, it actually makes me happy to wonder where the planes are headed or to contemplate where they’re coming back from.”
Massport: “Well, ma’am, I thank you for calling and I just want you to know that you’ve made my day today.”
Me: “That’s great! And please pass my comment on to the authorities. Let them know that not everyone in Belmont is upset by this.”
Massport: “Will do.”
And that’s my story.
It’s the truth. I like hearing the roar of the planes and I love looking up and spying them in the sky, then wondering about their destinations.
When the traffic routes change again – as I suspect they eventually will – I will be a little sad to see and hear fewer planes in the sky.
For those of you who are disturbed by the noise – especially early in the morning or late at night - I do understand the issue and I am sympathetic. It’s just that, this time anyway, I have a slightly different perspective.
You can always give that hotline a call.