Here is a list of comments, questions, and concerns raised for the Terminal E expansion project ENF Community Meeting held on November 19th, 2015 by MEPA

 

Health & Pollution

  • ·         The Massachusetts Department of Public Health Logan Airport Health Study (2014) confirmed direct associations between airport pollution and chronic disease (360% increased risk of probable childhood asthma and nearly 200% increased risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)).
  • ·         Pollution from near-roadway and under-flight-path mobile transportation sources are known to cause 50 – 100% greater risk of cardiovascular and lung cancer deaths, 100 – 300% greater risk of childhood autism, 300% increase in risk of heart attack and extensive additional risk to those exercising within close proximity.
  • ·         Ultrafime Particulate pollution which is produced by jet operations and has also been shown to produce predictable fallout patterns along flight pathsm exposing residents miles away from runway ends to levels of ultrafine particulate pollution 6 – 8 times urban average levels.
  • ·         While the Terminal E Modernization ENF makes a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) on air pollution, the validity of that document must be questioned. Massport plans call for an a 43% expansion in passenger volume, to which Terminal E expansion will contribute a very significant 57%. Indeed Massport is playing fast and loose with the metropolitan region’s health, since in the 2011 Environmental Status and Planning Report (Massport 2014) Massachusetts Port Authority staff project that expansion will cause a 24% increase in Nox a figure which would attribute and additional 14% increase in regional Nox to Terminal E expansion by itself.
  • ·         Given the widespread regional chronic health impacts of airport pollution, any project producing a 14% increase in airport pollution impacts could be expected to result in a 14% increase in chronic disease across the region, a fact which must finally be weighed with appropriate gravity by MEPA in considering environemtal impacts of airport expansion projects.
  • ·         Based upon the risks associated with the Terminal E Modernization, I urge MEPA to: develop a supplemental review process for any future Massport proposals to expand Logan International Airport which will properly include public helath impacts in the assessment of envirnomental   impacts, and; to recommend that Massport be required to produce a thourough Environmental Impact Report, including a robust community engagement and comment process for the Terminal E Modernization Project. Further, I urge MEPA to recommend that as part of this supplemental process, since East Boston is an environmental justice community )as denoted by the Massachusets Executive Office of Environmental Affairs), that Massport be repuired to hire an environmental justice coordinator to promote thorough community engagement and inclusion on all further MEPA related public processes.

Alternatives

  • ·         For 30 years, since the 1432 battles began, the community has asserted that only regionalization of airport planning and airspace use could equitably serve New England. Community proponents saw 1432 as a capacity building project and it is now clear that their theory  has been proven; despite the severe public health impacts and evidence of chronic disease caused by airport operations, Massport’s engineers and managers are caught up in a culture of competition in which growth is the measure of success.
  • ·         Not since 1976, when The Massachusetts Port Authority underwent a federally mandated Master Planning Process, have community voice been included in internal core airport planning.  Without inclusive public processes, proponents of airport growth have sought to build their way to success, looking only at the economic gains for the airport, and without adequately weighing the societal, public health and related economic costs.
  • ·         Community airport mitigation planning groups have on many occasions, first during the 14/32 debates and at that time in legal proceedings at state and federal court and subsequently in many meetings with Massport staff have promoted regional air travel demand management.  Notably, as the now CEO Tom Glynn entered, AIR INC. members presented this idea directly on February 3rd 2013.  
  • ·         Having systematically and intentionally sidestepped this important community comment and in so doing having effectively skirted the spirit of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs’ Executive Order on environmental justice signed September 23, 2002, it is clear that Port Authority staff have demonstrated a failure to consider known and viable project alternatives which would satisfy Massachusetts’ air travel needs for increases in international passages.
  • ·         Rather than comparing, in their project alternatives in the ENF, a No Build, to a Partial Build, to a Full Build scenario, the Port Authority could have thoroughly studied the economic, environmental and operational viability of a regionalized air travel plan allowing for the needed growth.  This is a serious failure, as it is clear that both for operational and public health impact reasons, Logan International Airport will not be able to fulfill the insatiable appetite for growth of airport operators, the FAA and the airline industry within the bounds of this small airport’s landlocked footprint.  Already, the Port Authority is planning to grow airport passenger volumes by 43% over the next 14 years, increasing the direct adverse health impacts on human populations in communities around Logan by 24% overall; and without having engaged in a federally mandated Master Planning Process, residents of the environmental justice communities surrounded by and largely created by the airport have no assurances that in 2025, the Port Authority will not have increased its growth targets.
  • ·         Because of the public health crises caused by airport pollution, MEPA should require the Massachusetts Port Authority to undergo a thorough and equitable planning process with robust community participation, fully funding technical consultancy and engagement efforts designed collaboratively with established community members interested and informed in airport impact mitigation either as part of a federally mandated Airport Master Planning Process or an equivalent process designed to include important community and technical thinking.  This would assure residents that MEPA was thoroughly investigating the full spectrum of environmental impacts of airport processes.

 

Transportation

The ENF and Massport have done an insufficient job of addressing transportation matters in the ENF, particularly as it relates to managing traffic at Logan given the expected increase in passenger traffic at Terminal E.  We suggest that the Commonwealth and Massport work on, at the least, the following items for long term mitigation:

  • ·         The ENF assumes no additional vehicle trips for the Terminal E expansion.  Massport does not provide any evidence that this expansion will not create additional induced demand for air and auto traffic, which should be part of an EIR or secondary study.
  • ·         Reinstating the Red-Blue Connector to provide an alternative mode of transportation from the western metro area;
  • ·         Reforming taxi regulations to better incorporate modern forms of ridesharing, including but not limited to Uber and Lyft;
  • ·         Advocating for and contributing resources towards the regionalization of travel on the eastern seaboard by creating true High Speed Rail between Boston and New York City of International Travel.
  • ·         Committing to adding additional Logan Express locations and publishing user information for those locations
  • ·         Given that current airport congestion and parking have prompted Massport to seek the lifting of the decades long parking freeze, set in the 1970’s to protect local populations from air pollution at 21,088 spaces, to at least 26,088 spaces, MEPA should anticipate that a 14% increase in passenger activity would prompt a commensurate increase in demand for parking above and beyond present demand.  Thus it should be expected that demand for parking will rise in proportion by an additional 3,642 spaces, totaling a future need for 29,740 parking spaces.
  • ·         And RE Logan Express, I would add that but not sufficiently examining alternative modes of transportation and pricing incentives to and from the project as proposed, Massport has not made a convincing argument that traditional demand patterns will not continue.

 

In prior neighborhood meetings – your representatives have described the 5000 car issue as one that is imminent but not immediate. What other alternatives to transportation have you explored that might alleviate the need for additional parking spaces?
The Logan Health Study released in 2014 should have provided comprehensive data on airport related health impacts, however many impacted residents believe it has come up short on real data. Do you intend to launch a true study prior to ANY additional expansion? What steps WILL you take to protect residents?
A question to our elected representatives and appointed officials here tonight – MassPort has not been particularly forthcoming on sharing of health impacts or proactive in seeking alternatives to anticipated capacity needs. What will you do to protect residents from disproportionately bearing the burden for their convenience?
Is there a master plan for future growth? Can a health impact study be provided using 3rd party sources? Is there a plan to study noise impacts with new airplanes and cars?
The taxi toll evaders clog Meridian and Brooks streets every morning and evening. At some times they make up 1/3 of the vehicular traffic on these streets. Despite the proposed parking, more flights still = more taxis. What are you doing/will you do to remove taxis from our residential streets?
In lieu of parking spaces, have you considered more frequent express bus service to outlying areas? Or Bus Rapid Transit on dedicated lanes within the airport structure?
Customs and Border Patrol is already short-staffed with no expectation of additional funding in the near future, and CBP was completely overwhelmed this summer by an unexpected spike in new passengers. Have you been working with CBP to be sure that their staff and resources will be scaled up to meet this need?
There is a natural limit to how large Logan can grow, regardless of so-called demand, given the geographic limitations it faces and the existence of a vibrant and ever-growing community in East Boston.What parameters does Massport use to determine expansion plans? Is there a limit to how large Massport will grow?
Massport should not expand Logan until an independent health impact assessment of the proposed expansion on the surrounding neighborhoods and neighborhoods impacted by current and projected flight plans is completed.
The ENF states that this expansion should have “no long term adverse environmental impacts.” However, this project will expand Terminal E’s capacity by 60% in order to accommodate the largest planes in the consumer airline marker and invite many hundreds more vehicles onto our local roadways. What basis do you have for believing that this project will be no significant environmental impact?
Many of the comments to the Globe’s 11/18 article on the planned expansion cite the fact that shuttle buses and the T do not run early or often enough to accommodate business and family travelers. Instead of building more parking, which presents security risks to the local community, Massport should invest in ensuring that the T and regional shuttle busses run frequently and early enough to accommodate travelers.
Any expansion of the airport must be mitigated by reductions in noise and improvements in policies and practices that will help improve local air quality. For example, Massport should limit flights between the hours of 10 PM and 7 AM. It could also adopt policies and practices that encourage liveries, hotel shuttles, employee busses and others using local streets to cease idling as they wait for passengers to arrive or disembark.
1. This should be a fairly simple question to answer. What is the square footage of the current ground-level footprint of Terminal E – and what is the total square footage of Terminal E AFTER the construction? What will the percentage increase of square footage be? If it is more than a 10% increase in square footage, can this proposal truthfully be called “modernization” – or should it be called an “expansion”?
2. In order to get legal approval to build the additional 5,000 parking spaces, Massport must request a change in the existing law – which protects neighborhood residents from additional parking at Logan. If this proposal goes through and you’re able to get the current ban lifted, then WHAT ACTUAL PROTECTION do East Boston residents have – if the very laws enacted to protect us can be changed to suit Massport’s desires?
You state that you “need” to expand the international terminal because of congestion. But your flight load is still less than pre 9/11 please can you explain how you came about with the need?
How many flights a day need to unload passengers onto a bus because their is no space at the gates?
How many planes are unable to plug in and shut down there engines because you don’t have the proper gates for them? How many of these flights will never connect to power no matter what is done?
How many new customs officers will be hired?
What is the time frame now of clearing customs? and the expected clearance time after the expansion.
With all the added new passengers using the T and roads what is the investment into upgrading T service and road access.
People will always go to the airport to pick up and drop off. We know that dropping off is easy but picking up can be a nightmare? What is the traffic plan for thousands of new cars circling around the airport to pick up friends and family since the state police are aggressive on moving you on.
Living in Eastie I often walk to the airport but the pedestrian access is not user friendly how will you address this?
I would like to bike to the terminal where is the bike storage for each terminal?
Because of the projected new flights and passengers how are you working with the city and surrounding towns to build more accommodation?
Logan airport has at the expense of East Boston residents been expanding since its founding. The expansion is completed with very little consideration of the East Boston neighborhood. The most recent example is the CONRAC building whose design created a new thoroughfare with 2-3000 cars spilling small particle pollution 1 street from my house. Why is so little thought put into these expansions and why should we allow you to build more infrastructure that will undoubtedly bring more air and vehicular traffic that have negative impacts my health and my children’s health.
There has been a longtime effort to understand the impact of air quality on East Boston residents. The recent health study you completed was barely complete in that it basically interviewed people by phone rather than focusing on the # days the air quality results exceeded what the would be considered safe levels. What studies have you brought with you tonight that show how this expansion will increase air pollution? What studies are you preparing to better get a handle of this pollution that my family is being exposed to?
What are the dimensional differences between the required gates currently, vs. to accommodate the new larger planes? Will other terminals eventually switch to these larger planes and also require larger gate accommodations?.
The ENF states the land impacts as neutral, adding 8 acres of building footprint, but reducing 8 acres in parking for a total of 37-41 acres. However the supplementary additional request for 5000 more cars adds back these 8 acres, so Massport is expanding the overall footprint by 8 acres.
As a large component of plan is to connect Blue lIne with airport, what plans are in place to accommodate an increase of passengers to the airport on the Blue Line? More frequent trains? Funding partnership of redline/ blue line connection? Also Pg 17/18 Transportation section of traffic impacts (existing/ change) is not completed. When does Massport plan to file a 7460, and why not before comment period ends so we have accurate information.
1. Most businesses start out with unlimited potential for financial growth. Given the nature of Massport’s business, the environmental impacts from your “product,” and the space limitations in East Boston, does Massport believe it is nearing the limit (or even has a limit) on the number of passengers it can serve, profits it can procure, and land it can utilize?
2. Why, in the ENF, are there no specific values submitted for current and projected levels of particulate matter and other factors affecting air quality?
3. In the ENF “Mitigation” section, you say: “It is anticipated that the Modernization Project will not result in any long term adverse environmental impacts that would require mitigation beyond that already provided by the Project.” Can you please cite the specific environmental study (that includes the Modernization Project) that informs this statement?
4. Former transportation secretary Fred Salvucci wrote the following upon the release of the DPH health study last year:
“So now 24 years after formal commitments to recognize, measure and reduce adverse impacts in the communities close to Logan, and after 24 years of failure by the state and Massport to implement the mitigation promised in the environmental processes of the Big Dig and Logan Terminal Expansion, and actions by Massport further concentrating traffic generating activity at Logan, The Department of Public Health study is telling us what any reasonable person would have expected – that there are serious adverse health effects from air pollution in the communities close to Logan.
At this point, what can be done to remediate this problem? Logan Airport is an essential part of the infrastructure that supports the regional economy, and isn’t going to go away. But the proposition agreed to in the Big Dig and Logan Terminal expansion processes 24 years ago was that the tremendous convenience to the regional economy provided by the central location of Logan carries with it a responsibility of the state and Massport to take energetic action to be a good neighbor and recognize, offset, and reduce negative impact on the close by communities.
Certainly the DPH report should remind us that that agreement has not been honored, and ought to be. This must entail a serious, well-funded effort to implement the mitigation measures that are so badly delayed, and identify new measures to offset the damage caused by the delay.”
Why should the East Boston community — let alone the State of Massachusetts — allow the most significant expansion of Logan Airport in years to proceed when, as Sec. Salvucci points out, the airport creates “serious adverse health effects” in our neighborhoods and that Massport’s agreement to reduce negative effects on the community has not been met?
Any expansion of the airport must be mitigated by reductions in noise and improvements in policies and practices that will help improve local air quality. For example, Massport should limit flights between the hours of 10 PM and 7 AM. It could also adopt policies and practices that encourage liveries, hotel shuttles, employee busses and others using local streets to cease idling as they wait for passengers to arrive or disembark.

 

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