I read the letter (“Setting the airport record straight” Sierra Sun Aug. 4) from Ken Foster, president of the Truckee Tahoe Airport District Board, with great interest since I have attended many board meetings and have seen his voting record and results. Foster’s proactive actions to reduce aircraft noise have resulted in a 246 percent increase in noise complaints comparing this season to last season (See http://www.truckeetahoeairport.com). Your noise abatement program isn’t working. At the last board meeting where prior permission for landing was discussed, it was also admitted that no aircraft would be denied permission under this plan. This is just more election year rhetoric. The Itinerant Use Fees (landing fees) the airport adopted are significantly lower than any of the surrounding airports, thus providing an incentive for aircraft to land in Truckee instead of in Reno, Minden, or South Lake Tahoe. How misleading was Foster’s claim?He says the airport has no plans to expand any facility that would increase capacity, but the Airport Master Plan still shows two additional runways to be constructed, runway 28L and a Turf Runway for glider operations. In a campaign ad during election 2000, Foster said he was against this additional runway but it still remains in the master plan. There are 22 hangars currently under construction with 80 more hangars in the master plan. That sounds like lots of expansion of the airport to me.Foster demonstrates that the airport is on the wrong track. What we need and want is an airport board that is sensitive to the needs of the entire community – not just the flying community – and will take action to reduce the negative impacts of the airport on the community. What we have is campaign year rhetoric. At the noise forums we hear that there is nothing the airport board can do about the increasing air traffic and noise. We need a new airport board with a “can-do” attitude. There are many actions that can be taken by the airport board to make this airport more compatible with the surrounding community. They only need to think out of the box.Gaylan LarsonMartis Valley residentJet, train and I-80 noise not the sameHave you heard the noise from the airport lately? It seems like the traffic from my small-town airport has quadrupled in the 20 years I have lived in the area. No longer do we hear Civil Air Patrol planes teaching young people like me how to fly, or fire and rescue planes patrolling and keeping us safe from harm, or the occasional hobby pilot enjoying the Sierra from above. It seems like the annoyances today stem from high-powered private jets that blare across the horizon at odd hours of the day and night.I live in an area that is severely impacted by the noise of the train. At least 20 times a day I hear the train roar past my house. Why is the noise from the airport any different from that of the train? It stems from the simple fact that the train provides a service to the entire population, whereas the increased traffic from private jets benefits a very small number of the population. This noise annoyance to the town does not serve the greatest good for the greatest number. I heard an interview on KTKE recently as I was driving in my car on Interstate 80. The person being interviewed compared the traffic of the airport with the traffic coming from I-80. This could not be more incorrect. The most annoying traffic that stems from the airport is coming from very expensive jets. I can assure you that the average person living in Truckee is not going to go to the dealer anytime soon and buy a jet like they would the automobile they use on I-80. Do we have any control? Luckily there is a group of people taking the time and effort to discuss these issues and attempt to manage the growing noise problem. Community Airport Restoration Effort (CARE) is attempting to elect candidates to the airport board in this November’s election. Keep your ears up for this one. Don’t let the board consist of only pilots as it does today. Chris McCartTruckeeBike lanes, not parking lanesOn the Fourth of July our families and friends decided to ride our bikes from our homes on Donner Lake to downtown to watch the parade. We all had kids in tow, pulling them in trailers. It made sense; Truckee has invested heavily into bike lanes and a trails plan, and this busy day was on day that we should strongly encourage locals and tourists alike to get out of their cars.What should have been a pleasant ride turned into a near-death experience. Cars parked on both sides of Donner Pass Road in front of the Tahoe Donner Marina were obstructing the bike lanes, forcing us out into the heavy traffic. This was the case for scores of other bike riders and pedestrians that day, and for that matter, continues to be nearly every weekend in July and August.When we called the Town of Truckee to complain we were told that there is no ordinance prohibiting vehicles from parking in bike lanes.If the town is going to create bike lanes and encourage their use, it is patently irresponsible and a breach of public safety to allow vehicles to block them.Further, the town should consider the liability posed by declaring bike lanes but doing little to keep them safe. They’re either bike lanes or parking lanes – you can’t have it both ways.We’d encourage Tahoe Donner to strongly consider a shuttle to their marina. This could significantly reduce traffic, the obstruction of the bike lanes and the horrible congestion in front of the marina on busy weekends. But what must take precedence over any marina solution is that the Truckee Town Council maintains the integrity of the town’s Trails Plan and ensures the public’s safety by prohibiting parking in bike lanes.Seana Doherty,Carolyn Hamilton, Jeff HamiltonDonner Lake
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