Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

CRAIG FIELD; Find a Better Way

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

CRAIG FIELD; Find a Better Way

Article excerpt

Officials at the Jacksonville Aviation Authority say air traffic will be safer - and East Arlington neighborhoods quieter - if they are allowed to extend one of the runways at Craig airport.

And they may be right.

As JAA spokesman Michael Stewart points out, most airplane crashes occur on either takeoff or landing - and there's a much better "margin of error" on a 6,000-foot runway than on one that's only 4,000 feet.

Besides, when taking off, pilots could get their planes higher before leaving Craig air space and passing over houses. Thus, Stewart insists, noise should be less of a problem for people in the thriving residential area that surrounds the airfield.

Nor, he argues, does it matter that a longer runway would attract more aircraft. Jet engines are much quieter than in the past.

Large jets would emit more noise, but that's a moot point because the pavement still would be too thin to accommodate them.

Still, there's a problem.

PROMISE WAS MADE

Many years ago, in its comprehensive plan, the city promised not to extend the runways. Many people, presumably taking the city at its word, built homes in the area after that.

Government shouldn't break promises, particularly promises that may have led people to invest huge sums of money - in some cases, even their life savings.

If people in that area approved of the proposal, that would be a different matter. But they've opposed it in the past, and there is no particular reason to think they feel any differently now.

Sometimes, the greater good necessitates that government go against the wishes of a neighborhood.

Atlantic Boulevard, which runs alongside the airfield, will eventually have to be widened again, as traffic continues to grow. Some overpasses also are needed, when money is available.

Even if neighbors protest, that will have to happen. …

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