Over the past several months many residents have expressed their anger over an increase in low flying helicopter traffic. These helicopters, many of which belong to New York City tourism companies, present tremendous public safety concerns. Several years ago, a helicopter and small plane collided over the Hudson River killing nine people. Everything possible must be done to prevent a tragedy from occurring again. In addition, these tourism helicopters run the risk of interfering with law enforcement, public safety, air medical, and public service helicopters.
Tourism helicopters also create a great deal of noise and disturbance, which begins well before residents leave for work or school and continues all day long, until well after residents return home. Studies also show that a pet’s hearing can be more sensitive to sound than a human’s hearing, which is cause for concern to Hoboken’s many pet owners. It is unfair that tourism companies in New York City receive all the benefit, while Hoboken residents suffer a diminished quality of life.
I am committed to working with Mayor Zimmer, as well as our Federal and State Legislators towards a solution. I have provided several of my own recommendations. The Federal Aviation Authority would serve our community well if it moved flight paths back over the Hudson River and allowed for helicopter pilots to fly at their maximum allowed altitude. Both pilots and air traffic control personnel must be properly trained to be sensitive to the concerns of our community with regards to both safety and noise. Equipping them with GPS systems to help avoid densely populated areas would also be beneficial. In addition, Federal and State governments should create tax incentives for news organizations that pool their resources to share electronically gathered news to reduce the number of helicopters during rush hour, which create even more air traffic and noise.
I look forward to updating residents soon on this matter, as we all work together to continue to make Hoboken a better place to live and raise a family.
2nd Ward Councilwoman