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East flight path not hardship

Marcel Proust, the French novelist, became so distraught with the noise of Paris that he lined his study with giant slabs of cork.

And Proust didn't even have to deal with passing jetliners.

A "mini-controversy" has surfaced in Salt Lake City. Some folks who dwell on the city's east side think a new downwind flight path over their homes will be a terrible hardship. They'd like their neighborhoods to be serene and tranquil. Even though the planes will soar above their roofs at 7,000 to 8,000 feet and are often inaudible, the residents are fighting any changes in the flight patterns. They don't want to see their property values to dip.

It's time for some perspective.

A lot of people on Salt Lake County's west side have lived with aircraft at those altitudes and lower overhead for years without much complaint, just as many of them live without sound walls to protect them from the noise of the freeway. Many of them have homes worth as much or more than those on the east side.

Aviation officials say opening eastern flight paths would make air travel much safer over skies that are becoming more and more busy with each passing year. Today's level of traffic is expected to rise by 30 percent over the next 10 years. Before any decision is made, the FAA will conduct an environmental impact study and hold public hearings, making sure all aspects of this change are considered.

Some people also worry that pristine wilderness areas would be harmed by the new flight paths. That doesn't seem likely, considering the altitudes under consideration. Again, however, the impact study ought to answer those concerns.

The bottom line is that all people along the Wasatch Front live in a major metropolitan area that enjoys one of the fastest growth rates in the country. It simply isn't reasonable for people on one side of town to expect to avoid all of the impacts of that growth that people on the other side of town are forced to bear.

We're not suggesting east-siders and people concerned about the canyons simply buy earplugs, learn sign language or go out and buy a truckload of cork in honor of Proust. But we do hope people react reasonably to an FAA proposal that, while it needs thorough study, does not sound outrageous.