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Noise levels near LaGuardia airport excessive, new data shows

A device that detects and gathers noise level

A device that detects and gathers noise level data from airplanes arriving at and leaving LaGuardia Airport on the rooftop of a 16-story building at 138-10 Franklin Ave., Flushing, Queens, on July 25, 2016. Credit: Uli Seit

Noise levels in the Flushing, Queens, neighborhood near LaGuardia Airport exceeded federal levels on one of every three days earlier this year, elected officials and community activists said Monday.

The maximum recommended Day/Night Noise Level — or DNL — of 65 decibels was exceeded on 32 out of the 92 days from March through May on a monitor on Franklin Avenue, state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) said at a news conference.

The Federal Aviation Administration measures on a scale that averages all community noise during a 24-hour period, with a tenfold penalty for noise occurring at night and early morning.

“With this data, we now see what we’ve always known: parts of Queens are subjected to higher levels of sound than others,” Stavisky said.

She said the current DNL standards date to the 1970s and are obsolete. She and others at the news conference said the FAA should reduce the maximum allowable DNL to 55, the standard at most airports overseas.

The FAA said in a statement that it supported the reduction of aircraft noise, “where feasible, in cooperation with the aviation community. . . . The FAA is conducting research to better understand the potential impacts of aviation noise on communities.”

Warren Schreiber, who chairs the Aviation Committee of Community Board 7, said medical research has shown that excessive noise levels can cause heart disease and other physical ailments.

Schreiber’s words were drowned out at one point by a passing truck on Franklin Avenue, but planes overhead did not come close and did not interrupt the news conference.

“There are times I look up and I think I can see the color of the pilot’s eyes,” Stavisky said.

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