HOME -- Updated on Wednesday November 24, 1999

Cornell Study - The Impacts of Air Traffic on Children

This report from Cornell University, sent in by a gracious reader, details the negative effects on school children posed by increased air traffic. The study puts forth another concern that must be addressed prior to approving any expansion plans. Full Story.

The Airport Expansion Proposal

All Washington Township residents should be aware of three important facts relating to the current proposal put forward by the administration of the Trenton-Robbinsville Airport. These three components of the proposal, worded as a "long-term master plan", would open the door to allow a sharp increase in jet traffic over our homes, schools, daycare centers and businesses.

The Trenton-Robbinsville Airport wants to:

  • Increase the aircraft hangar space by 345% -- from 20 to 69 airplanes.
  • Increase the usable runways by 424 feet & move Spring Garden Road.
  • Build a "corporate terminal with office space", to attract corporate clients.

The increased hangar facilities are proposed to be five new building that could house an additional 49 airplanes. These buildings would be located on Sharon Road. Obviously all these extra airplanes will want to take off and land at this airport, increasing local traffic.

The runway would be effectively increased by 424 feet. This would be done by removing the current easterly 300 foot displaced threshold, and reducing the western displaced threshold from 400 to 276 feet. ("Displaced Thresholds" are areas of the runway that aircraft can use for departures but not arrivals). Additionally they wish to shove Spring Garden Road over 300 feet to and cut down a bunch of trees to make up for the reduced threshold on that side on the runway.

There has been plenty of rhetoric by the airport about "overanxious". "misinformed", or local residents with "selective hearing", but beware, this terminology is a diversion of the real issue, this proposal is not about restoration, but about a growth in the wrong direction. These allowances will result in more jet propelled airline traffic in our area.

As residents, parents, and a private citizens we should all be very concerned about these changes. These proposals will result in an increase in jet traffic, which in turn, will bring noise pollution, air pollution, and increased safety hazards. Many residents like the semi-rural quality of Washington, and want to keep it that way.

What can you do? Attend the next Washington Township Committee Meeting, which will be held at Pond Road Middle School at 7:30 PM on Thursday September 23, 1999. Tell the council you are worried about the issues mentioned above. Representatives from the airport will also be there to present their side of the issues. Public discussion will be allowed at this meeting. Please be there and show support.

In case this is the first you have heard on the issue, most residents were alerted to the issue by an editorial published in the Saturday, September 4, 1999 issue of The Times newspaper. In the letter, a concerned resident reported information collected at the July 15, 1999 Township committee meeting in relation to a request submitted by the owners of the Trenton-Robbinsville Airport.

The editorial claimed that during that July 15th committee, a New York based company proposed to expand and improve the airport. Yet embedded in the "renovation" proposal were expansion plans that would potentially disrupt the area. The proposal included plans to encourage more corporate aircraft to use the airport. It also included plans to divert the already diverted Spring Garden Road to allow for more runway space. The runway already points directly over the local elementary school (approx. 1/2 mile away) and a daycare center, and an expansion in this direction would bring it that much closer to the school.

Prompted by the editorial, many residents attended September 7, 1999 Township Committee meeting in hopes of hearing more about the plans to expand the Trenton-Robbinsville Airport. Unfortunately Mayor Calcagno and the council refused to discuss the issue at that time.

The airport manager, James Toto, handed out a response to public concern following the September 7 Committee Meeting. In the response Toto emphasizes the restoration of the airport (which is needed) but downplays the residential impact of increased jet traffic due to the construction of a corporate terminal on what is now Spring Garden Road.

Do we really need more corporate jets flying over our homes, parks and schools? The current Washington Community park, and Sharon School Playground are already bombarded with highway noise from 195 and the turnpike. What about Mercer Airport? Isn't there about to be additional space in the Mercer Airport with the closing of Eastwind? It would seem that that area is already large enough to support larger corporate jets.

The township will assemble a subcommittee to investigate the proposal and any community impacts. If at all possible, please show up at the meetings and listen to the issues, be aware and voice any concerns.

Related Links Phone Numbers

Federal Aviation Administration
Robbinsville Airport Incidents
September 4, 1999 Editorial

Robbinsville Airport 609-259-9099
Washington Twp. (609) 259-7082
Township Clerk (609) 259-7082
ext. 134
Planning Board (
609) 259-7082 ext. 123