Watsonville Airport

Safety vs Money

Soon the Watsonville City Council will vote on Watsonville Airport’s East-West runway– to shorten it or to leave it alone. The reason given for runway shortening is to allow building high density housing just west of the Airport in the Buena Vista area. The previous idea was to shut down the runway. Unlike many airports, Watsonville has not had an accident where an aircraft has hit a structure, vehicle, or person. The Council will vote to keep a safe situation or create permanent safety problems.

High density development proponents say shortening the runway improves safety. Think about that one. Everyone else is lengthening runways to improve safety. A City Council subcommittee investigating the east-west runway is making a good effort at being informed, has talked to local pilot groups, like the Watsonville Pilots Assn. It is seeing that removing 500 feet of the East-West runway is not a legitimate basis for moving zones around to accommodate high density building. Whether the Council Subcommittee will be influential in the Council’s decision remains to be seen. The recent election was not kind to candidates who might have made a responsible airport decision. The Council will have to decide on safety vs. money. A scary prospect.

Dan Chauvet
Watsonville Pilots Association

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