Hudson river to become quieter
File this under the “good news” category.
When I decide to visit any one of Hoboken’s waterfront parks, it’s usually to take a load off and relax by the breezy Hudson River. But since I’ve lived in Hoboken, it’s not that quiet there, with helicopters buzzing by what seems like every single minute.
Well that’s going to change over the next few years. The West Side heliport that these tours take-off and land from is being phased out! While it won’t eliminate air-traffic completely, I suspect it will be greatly diminished once it takes full effect.
From the NY Times:
Tourist Helicopter Rides Are Set to Be Phased Out
The uproar over the noisy comings and goings of sightseeing helicopters along the West Side of Manhattan has finally led to a plan to eliminate them.
Air Pegasus, the operator of the heliport at the west end of 30th Street, has agreed to start phasing out tourist flights next year and to stop them altogether in 2010, according to a draft of an agreement that needs the approval of a State Supreme Court justice.
The agreement would allow the heliport to continue handling corporate, emergency and government helicopters through the end of 2012.
By then, city and state officials hope to have chosen a new location along the West Side for the heliport, which sits within the boundaries of the Hudson River Park.
The agreement would settle a lawsuit filed last year by the Friends of Hudson River Park, a group that raises money to support the park.
The group sued Air Pegasus and the Hudson River Park Trust, a state authority, contending that the existence of the heliport on the land side of the park violated the law that created the park.
Liberty Helicopters, a tour operator that is the biggest user of the heliport, was also a defendant.
Under the agreement, the number of sightseeing flights would be capped at 25,000 for the year that ends on May 31, 2009, then to 12,500 over the next 10 months, then halted completely. The nontourist flights would also be limited, to 16,250 per year, according to the agreement.
Continue reading the rest, after the jump…
(Heliport to be phased out, continued…)
Air Pegasus also agreed to erect barriers to reduce the noise and fumes emanating from the heliport and to move the takeoffs and landings of tourist flights onto a barge in the river. The operator said it would try to proceed with a plan it floated last year to relocate the entire heliport onto barges adjacent to its current location until a new, permanent site for the heliport is chosen.
“We would rather the heliport wasn’t there at all,” said A. J. Pietrantone, executive director of Friends of Hudson River Park. But, he added, the agreement “is probably the best we can get, given that there is not an alternative heliport.”
A spokesman for the trust declined to comment about the proposal to move the existing operation onto barges.
Diana Taylor, the chairwoman of the trust’s board of directors, said in a statement: “With this mutually beneficial settlement of a very thorny and complicated issue, I believe this is truly a case of being handed lemons and making lemonade. We preserve the most essential business, governmental and emergency needs for a West Side heliport while turning the facility itself into a friendlier neighbor to the park.”
Air Pegasus is owned by Alvin S. Trenk and his family. Mr. Trenk also owns a minority stake in Liberty, according to Stefan Friedman, an Air Pegasus spokesman.
“This agreement recognizes the importance of having an aesthetically pleasing park along the Hudson River,” Mr. Trenk said in a statement, “while also ensuring that those engaging in commerce continue to have access to a West Side heliport, which is crucial to the economic vitality of New York and for the government agencies which protect its citizens.”
The Trenks are also involved with FirstFlight, a company based upstate that has been chosen by the city’s Economic Development Corporation to operate the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, one of the two other heliports in Manhattan. Operators of two sightseeing helicopter companies have appealed to city officials to reconsider granting FirstFlight control of the downtown heliport because they do not want the Trenks to be their landlord.