Palisades Peeps “is the noise from the airplanes really as constant and loud as the articles are making it out to be?”

by Prince Of Petworth January 9, 2017 at 1:55 pm 45 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Chris Williams

“Dear PoPville,

My husband and I are looking to move from Dupont and are considering the Berkeley/Kent/Palisades area.

Upon researching the area, I came across the noise issues some of the neighbors are discussing with respect to the changing flight times and paths coming from DCA. Here is a Washington Post article that discusses this situation:

“In the District, there were 1,286 noise complaints in 2014; by 2015, the year NextGen changes were implemented, complaints jumped to 8,670 (although airport officials are quick to note that 6,500 of the complaints last year came from the same person). Even so, residents say complaints have risen dramatically.”

My question for the community is if the noise from the airplanes is really as constant and loud as the articles are making it out to be?”

  • Truxton Thomas

    “6,500 of the complaints last year came from the same person.” Is it possible that someone submitted 20 complaints per day about a 75-year-old airport?

    • JohnH

      There’s a lot of crotchety people in DC with WAY too much time on their hands.

    • Anon

      Yup! Miserable old people are just that, unfortunately.

      • thunder

        A 52 year man is a “miserable old people”?

        • Firethatman


    • GS

      The airport might be 75 years old (i agree, a sensationalist factoid), but the approach and take off patterns have changed in the past few months, as a result of transitioning to a satellite based navigation, instead of radar based navigation (so called NextGen). And yes, it is possible that somebody cares about an issue to take action.

  • andy2

    No its not that bad. Ensure the house comes with decent windows and none of that pesky sense of entitlement, you’ll be fine!

    • OP

      OP here, the home we’re considering has decent windows but in the 30 minutes we were touring home we could hear two planes from within the house fly over. We’re trading Dupont for a yard and so it would be a real bummer if the noise was such an issue that we couldn’t use the yard in a peaceful way. Dupont actually hasn’t been that loud, surprisingly

      • JohnH

        What exactly is a “peaceful way”? Planes do not exactly go by every 30 seconds. And unless it’s house-shaking noise, I think you’d get rather used to it.

  • Glover Park

    Yes, it really can be that bad. For the record, I have never complained about the issue, but I completely understand why people in the Palisades/Burleith have problems. It depends on where you are in the area, though, and the flight path; so it isn’t ALWAYS that bad. But yes, it can be very loud.

    • Glover Park

      I’d suggest going down by the river, like along MacArthur or on the CCT, if you want to get a sense of it. Or, go up to Glover Archibald Park and listen

    • Mars

      The noise isn’t too bad. We live in Burleith and never hear airplane noise when our windows are closed. It’s also not that much of an issue when we’re outside. Overall, the Palisades will be much quieter than Dupont.

      • Glover Park

        Have you been in the public garden in Glover Archibald park, or down by the river? It’s incredibly loud. I hear airplane noise in my apartment, and it isn’t bad for me there; but I completely miscounted the complainers as being entitled crazies until this summer. It isn’t consistent, like I said, but it actually can be very loud in some parts of the area. I totally see why people have an issue with the flight pattern.

    • andy2

      I’ve been in Glover Park for 10 years, and its not bad at all up there. Probably because that is the only noise in the area it might be more noticeable but it really is fine.

  • Occam

    No it’s just crazy people complaining

  • MK

    No. I’ve lived on the river on both md (bethesda) and D.C. (Palisades) side of the line. There are lots of planes, and you can hear them, but they are not loud. For example, I have never had one inside my home. I can only hear them if outside. A real problem with the palisades is that you have a bunch of retired type-A folks with plenty of time to complain about everything (from light plane noise to potential transitional housing). It’s a pleasant neighborhood. But the overall culture is very different from DuPont. It’s the sort of place where a gun in a violin case leads to a dozen police and a bomb squad showing up.

    Also, palisades will be far quieter than DuPont, unless you’re on a house that is on MacArthur and not set back.

    • Anony

      I would hope that a “gun in a violin case” would lead to a major police response? Am I missing something?

      • Anon

        What – no mention of the missing Stradivarius? Someone really aught to talk to the Colonel about this, I think he may be on to something.

      • JoDa

        While I don’t actually think the police over-reacted after finding more weapons and ammunition, my guess as to whether they would have searched the area that thoroughly in most other parts of the city is “no.” One officer and a crime scene tech would be sent to collect the weapon and do a cursory glance around the area.

    • OP

      op here – the house is actually right on MacArthur along the flight path

      • MK

        Macarthur isn’t noisy because of the planes; more because Macarthur is the main artery through the palisades. It’s a pretty minor road in the grand scheme. (I ride it in to work sometimes.) But if you live on Macarthur, road noise is a bigger issue than plane noise, I’d think.

      • Former GP

        Hi – I lived on the western edge of Glover Park for years and spent much time in the Palisades. MacArthur is on the flight path but the noise truly is not a disturbance.

  • JohnH

    Having worked in Georgetown at one time, it’s all relative. Flights at Reagan have expanded significantly from when it first opened – mainly because Congress can give the ok for more – which every member of Congress wants an easy flight home for themselves….
    So the last flights don’t arrive at 10 pm anymore, there’s a lot more, etc. However, it’s not like planes go right overhead. They follow the Potomac roughly. I worked pretty close to the waterfront and you’d hear planes, but I don’t think I’d be so overwhelmed with noise that I’d file a complaint. It’s a trade-off – you also don’t have significant traffic on most roads and certainly don’t have Metro trains going by!

  • kd21

    No. The incessant honking of Maryland drivers is much more of a nuisance!

  • EastOfGeorgetown
    • Truxton Thomas

      Well, Italian astronaut Roberto Vittori would not have been my first guess.

    • Commentator

      My bias is showing. I did not expect the obsessive complainer to be a (handsome) middle-aged, Italian astronaut.

    • Anon

      Wow, this guy should probably talk to a professional. I’d have expected this sort of behavior from someone older with a few aging screws, if you will, but not from someone who’s purportedly all there, mentally.

  • alurin
  • LosLobos

    If it is any consolation, the prices already reflect a discount based on the market perception of the cost of this inconvenience

  • Daryl T

    I work at the Gangplank Marina. Over my lunch break I watch the planes take off and land, were across the river from the airport, and directly in the flight path of most planes. Our slip holders dont typically complain about the noise. Our office is in an old, and poorly constructed building, sometimes I can feel the plan passing, but its really not that bad.

    Consider that this is not a 24/7 airport and most of the flights are in around 10 pm.

  • anon

    When I was at Georgetown, some of the classrooms with windows facing the Potomac were noisy. FWIW, I found it distracting, other classmates did not. It was worst around early evening when flights were landing every 3-4 minutes for a solid hour or so. It was only bad when flights were landing from the north, planes taking off towards Georgetown weren’t an issue.

  • c

    If you have the chance to live in Palisades, TAKE IIIIT. I live in Cathedral Heights and run through Palisades/C&O Canal Trail as much as I possibly can because it’s freakin’ paradise over there. Good 4th of July parade too. There’s gotta be a reason the houses are so expensive and there are never any rentals available; the plane noise can’t possibly be that bad.

    • JohnH

      Also….boring as FFFFFFFF (aka middle-aged, upper class family heaven).

  • Jay

    You might hear a plane when you’re outside if you’re listening for it, but I don’t find it to be problematic at all. In fact, I just moved from Dupont to the Palisades myself and if you’re used to the ambient background noise in the former, you’ll probably have no problem filtering out the planes in the latter. If/when you do notice it, it will probably be at least as much because of how quiet the neighborhood is as it is a function of how loud the planes are.

  • stacksp

    If you have an opportunity to live in the Palisades go for it !!!! Both of my kids were born at Sibley and its just a lovely area of the city.

  • palisades

    The first few months of living in the Palisades were hard for me. The noise of planes, combined with ambulance noise from Sibley and Georgetown Hospital screaming down MacArthur, were a real adjustment. I didn’t even notice it after a while though. Whenever friends came to visit and slept over they always complained. Honestly I think it’s worth it, just because the neighborhood is so amazing otherwise.

  • Krikri

    We moved from Trinidad to Palisades/Kent near Sibley a little over a year ago. For the first week or so, we were really surprised at the plane noise- but now barely notice it. Some times it is pretty loud, but doesn’t last long and has never woken us up. We are so happy here, and don’t consider ourselves to be middle aged or boring AF.

  • siz

    fwiw, i live in upper bloomingdale, right near washington medical center/children’s and howard hospital, along with the one over by catholic. for a minute when i moved i thought i’d never get used to the constant ambulance sirens, but turns out you can adjust to pretty much anything. i barely notice it anymore. my guess is it would be a similar deal with planes.

  • TropicBird

    WHAT?! I can’t hear you because of the plane!
    But actually it’s a really nice neighborhood. I’d be more concerned about the stinky sewage river smell that is most apparent in the summer. I miss riding my bike down the Crescent Trail to K Street.

  • Collin

    It is pretty loud. I live in a basement apartment on MacArthur and my mom can sometimes hear it in the background on the phone. You get used to it though and oddly- some days are quieter than others.

  • magentaclouds

    We just moved to the Palisades and coincidentally I actually grew up in the Palisades too. Air traffic has always been in the background here. One gets used to it. We moved to the Palisades to get a yard as well. I figure it’s just the way it goes here. Where else can the air traffic go? They historically have gone down the river…We do live in a metropolitan city. I do believe neighbors think that just because they own their property, that gives them the right to gripe about a lot of things that aren’t in their control, nor should be. Hello neighbors in Spring Valley opposing the development of the grocery/mixed-use/retail project there!! The developers/Landlords should have the right to build there! It will most definitely improve property values in the surrounding area. Go figure.

    • Khris

      Exactly. I’m sure these folks don’t want the number of flights in and out of DCA to be cut. I’m feeling a sense of entitlement that makes them think the flight paths should be moved over poor neighborhoods.

  • DC_Chica

    I lived on MacArthur for 5 years (my apt faced west towards the river) just south of the reservoir and yes, it is loud and can be frequent at times (but it’s not constant 24/7). I’m a light sleeper and am somewhat noise sensitive so I expected that I would want to move after a year, but I got used to the plane noise surprisingly quickly. (I lived next to the freight train tracks in Silver Spring once and never adapted to that – I couldn’t wait to move out of that place). I think that it might be a legitimate deal breaker for some people, but a lot of people adapt and enjoy living there. It is otherwise a quiet and peaceful neighborhood.


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