Ask County Supervisors: Close Reid-Hillview Airport

Reid-Hillview airport, aerial view
Reid-Hillview Airport in high-density, park-poor east San Jose. Photo credit: Jeremy Zawodny, flickr.

On Tuesday, August 17, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will decide whether to act to start closing Reid-Hillview Airport. Doing so would open up possibilities for newly created open space while stopping dangerous lead emissions. Please ask the Supervisors to start closing the airport.

What’s Happening

Surrounded by mostly dense, economically disadvantaged residential development, Reid-Hillview Airport in East San Jose has attracted controversy for decades over whether it should be closed and repurposed. The airport primarily serves recreational pilots. Other uses of the land could better serve the community, including providing parks and natural open space.

Noise, safety risks from plane crashes, and air quality are long-term concerns. A recent study showing lead emissions from aviation gas (unfortunately still legal, unlike gas for cars) causes an increase in blood lead levels in children that is worse, in some cases, than during the Flint Michigan scandal.

Why It’s Important

The terrible lead contamination has created pressure to close the airport immediately, instead of staying open for another decade as is currently expected. We support this direction as well as the County keeping the problem from getting worse at nearby San Martin Airport and protecting it from other impacts from any pilots shifting to San Martin airspace.

For nearly 60 years, we have predominantly focused on preserving existing open space from replacement by development. Repurposing Reid-Hillview represents a unicorn-rare opportunity to replace development with open space, especially as the local community clearly supports this as a part of the property.

What You Can Do

Help create open space and serve environmental justice: ask the Supervisors to close Reid-Hillview Airport immediately and work with the San Martin community to protect them from impacts they may face!

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