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July 08, 2018



The airport doesn't make too much noise. It's easy to tune out the low frequency rumble. Caltrain and the freight trains that pass though in the middle of the night are a much, much bigger problem.

Train horns accomplish nothing. Trains are already incredibly loud without sounding their horn and we have crossing guards at every intersection. There is no need for the trains to use their horns, ever.


Airport noise is awful. I can tell tonight will be especially bad.

Here’s what we do: Get some cute kid to write “ABC 7 Investigates” and say that her parents are crabby due to lack of sleep and her baby brother has dinosaur nightmares due to the 1:30 AM boom and rumble.

Then have the I-Team interview the kindly CEO of each airline and ask them to schedule their flights no later than 11 PM.

PR GOLD for everyone.

Either that or the class action thing.

PS- I do think a nice letter from our City Council could help.


This puts to rest the "You bought next to an airport, what did you expect?" argument because I'm sure when I bought there were not dozens of flights leaving after 1 am. This must stop. Where's the city council, Jerry Hill, Kevin Mullin, Jackie S.???

Ted Yun

It is ridiculous that the planes are allowed to point their engines at us during all times of the night, and yet, the report that was commissioned by the airport has B'game in one of the low-noise zones, so we are not eligible for the sound-proofing that is offered by the airport.

I don't mind the noise so much during the day, but I think the airport should be reasonable and only allow the planes to point their engines over the water during the night time.

Ted Yun

@Charles -- the airport noise and train noise are two separate issues. The airport noise is an issue with the City of San Francisco and the train noise is a City of Burlingame issue. Rather, with the train noise, B'game would have to invest resources to make the city a quiet zone. These are two separate battles.

There are multiple reasons why B'game doesn't want to spend the money to make it a quiet zone, namely, only the residents close to the crossings are affected. The other problem is that if the city is converted to a quiet zone, and if an accident does happen the city is concerned about liability claims.

That being said, the City of Atherton successfully navigated through thes concerns to establish itself as a quiet zone, so we could do the same. All we need is an advocate to fight the battle! You will find support if you choose to fight the fight.


A friend of mine lived in San Bruno under the SFO flight path.
After 10 plus years of legal BS ALL the homeowner's received new roofs, insulation, new windows, new doors-interior and exterior. The entire project took about two days, per home.
10 plus employees would show up at your home and stay until everything was completed. This happened about 20 years ago. In todays dollars a project like that would cost $200,000.00 per home.
That seemed like a very fair solution to an important case.
My problem is with "The Sad."
Burlingame Slum Lords.
People-you know.
Maybe even you...

Those poor people "The Sad". The Prop 13 children who inherited Burlingame Bungalows in the last 20 plus years, and rent 2 bedroom/1 bath 700 square foot "Home "on Rollins Road for $3000.00 - $4500.00 per month.
Sooner or later,(after a Major Earthquake) that "inflation" is over.
Maybe then everyone will be more accommodating to each other.


Ignore holyroller's non sequitur. He cannot help himself.

Instead of playing the my-irritating-noise is bigger than your irritating noise, Charles should make the case that they are both irritating and TOGETHER are super irritating.

Ted Yun

Yesterday (July 10) was tolerable. I noticed when I drove by during the day (on the Broadway I-5 overpass) that the planes were all lined up, with their engines pointing south, over the bay.

How hard is it to make a rule that between 11 pm - 7 am (or whatever the majority considers reasonable for sleeping hours) that the planes have to take off in this manner?

@holly -- I am not sure what your point is. It would be nice if the airport could sound proof the houses. I looked into this possibility, and to be eligible, your house has to be in a noisy zone. They did an extensive mapping of the noise around the airport, and Burlingame was not deemed in the noisy zone, so we are not eligible. However, this report was researched before the noticeable change so I am not sure how it would turn out if they repeated the study.

I am missing your connection between the airplane noise and your doomsday prediction. Other than the fact that over this past weekend, the airplane noise was so loud, even in the early morning hours, it sounded like an earthquake, with our windows rattling and everything.


When it's really windy out of the northwest, such as on July 10, almost all departures end up using the 28s (engines toward the Bay, then take off towards the San Bruno gap). When this happens at night, it's great for Hillsborough and Burlingame, but extremely rotten for San Bruno and SSF folks who live under or near the departure path. The trick is to have pilots take a right turn before reaching 101...and this is SFO's stated preference for when conditions don't allow take offs on the 10s (towards the southeast). (Due to the dominate winds, take offs on the 10s can't happen very often.) Despite the airport's preference though, pilot compliance is voluntary, and my guess is that a pilot bound for Asia with a fully loaded, fully fueled, very heavy aircraft would rather not take off to the northwest, immediately turn right, then eventually turn back left. So, given the remaining choices of taking off directly northwest (and blasting SSF and San Bruno) versus taking off to the northeast and then turning west (and sending run-up noise towards Hillsborough and Burlingame), they choose the latter.

Sally Meakin

sforunwaynoise.com has much information on it, like why it's illegal to set curfews for planes, what percentage of planes take off in compliance with SFO's preferred runways, why some may say that complaining about the noise to sfo is futile, how people have a misconception about the Noise Abatement Program vis a vis who actually receives the insulation, how that choice is made, how it affects property values, how it does NOT solve the issue of people who enjoy being outdoors, how our city councils' voices are heard at each Roundtable Meeting, how sforunwaynoise.com intends to proceed with the runway noise issue using a more desirable method than getting entwined in a class action suit. And there's so much more. Please encourage your neighbors who are disturbed by runway noise to visit the website sforunwaynoise.com.

Ted Yun

No plane noise tonight! Wish it could be like this every night. Thanks for the explanation BillyGBob! Thanks for organizing the effort Sally!


Dear Hillsider,
Thank you for explaining me to the BV Community.
I was hoping to draw you out again.
Just admit it HS, you love me.


Did the "Sound Wall on Rollins Road have any effect on the SFO noise?
Is the placement of that wall a part of the equation as to who qualifies for noise abatement?
I believe the San Bruno Program was successful. However, it took many years to put together. Over 10 years at least
Good Luck All.

Ted Yun

@holly -- re: the wall on Rollins

I am not sure that wall is supposed to be part of the SFO Noise Abatement program. I always assumed that it was to separate the residential area from a major freeway. The wall is on both sides of the freeway, ie., it doesn't serve any purpose to suppress the airport noise on the east side, yet it is still there. So I always assumed it was for safety. We have similar walls in San Diego (where I'm from).

I wish we had the availability of the Noise Abatement program that San Bruno has.


If you look for the San Bruno Project you will find it.


I think we need a meteorologist to help us understand what is going on at SFO. After several peaceful days and nights the noise is back. I noticed it start at 1:18 am last night and is still bad this morning.


Wow. 6 big booming take-offs between 1:15 and 2 am. Plus a train.
Some candidate for council could make a name for themselves by getting “7 Investigates” going on the damage this nightly tohubohu does to the community...


Wow, just moved here recently, the SFO airplane noise is unbearable. I downloaded decible X on Apple store, and found out that the noise level can reach 85-90 on q quiet street.

Did anyone tried this?


Does US have a guideline for noise level at night?

here is the policy in Europe

noise limits and country action

WHO/Europe’s guidelines for night noise, published in 2009, provide governments with stronger justifications for regulating exposure to night noise and clear guidance on desirable limits.

According to these guidelines, annual average night exposure should not exceed 40 decibels (dB), corresponding to the sound from a quiet street in a residential area. Persons exposed to higher levels over the year can suffer mild health effects, such as sleep disturbance and insomnia. Long-term average exposure to levels above 55 dB, similar to the noise from a busy street, can trigger elevated blood pressure and heart attacks.

By recommending that countries introduce limits on night noise, the guidelines complement the 2002 European Union Directive on Environmental Noise, which requires countries to map hotspots and reduce exposure, but does not set limit values.

The European Commission (EC) was a key partner and funded the project to develop the guidelines through its Directorate-General for Health and Consumers.


Here is the California utility concern for night noise


Areas with full-time human occupation and residency are often considered incompatible with substantial nighttime noise because of the likelihood of disrupting sleep.
Noise levels above 45 dBA at night can result in the onset of sleep interference. At 70 dBA, sleep interference effects become considerable(EPA, 1974).


California police code


Section 2909 (d),
Fixed Residential Interior Noise
Limits This section sets the maximum allowable interior noise within a dwelling unit. The standards in Section 2909(d), 45 dBA between the hours of 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. and 55 dBA between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 10:00p.m, are the absolute maximum allowable level of interior noise, produced from any combination of mechanical device(s) and audio systems(s) under one ownership/use originating from outside the dwelling unit. The standards in this section may not apply to areas in which the ambient noise level exceeds the limits. However, ambient noise measurements may not be necessary when applying this section and the individual inspector may solely determine if the source in question is the dominant noise source


city of Berkeley


Interior residential standards for multi-family dwellings are set by the State of California at 45 dB CNEL

Bruce Dickinson

What is the noise level from inside the house with all windows closed when you hear airplane takeoff noises? Surely it's not 90 dB.

Don't forget, Bruce Dickinson is a sound expert!


Unbearable? Hahaha.


So I should have to keep my windows closed because of late night Asian flights? We live in a nearly perfect climate with the windows open. I find that sometimes the indoor noise with echo or whatever seems louder than the outdoor noise.

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