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Good to know you
Dear Quiet-list participants and readers,
My name is Cathryn (this feels like the beginning of a twelve step program)
and I am working on noise issues in Seattle. For the past ten years I have
lived next door to a club that plays live music seven nights a week from 9 PM
to 1:30 AM. I know what you are thinking. No sympathy. Move!! I have come
to believe that the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know.
When I go visit someone in a "quiet" neighborhood and the next door neighbor
is mowing the yard, playing the radio or has annoying wind chimes, I am far
more incensed than in my own chaotic environment where the noise is somewhat
expected though still at illegal levels.
Three years ago the neighborhood bars began a biker night promotion that
mobilized the relatively small residential population. We do become
accustomed to a level of noise and when something spikes it over the top we
crack. We begged for relief from City officials, the police department and
came to find out that Seattle did indeed have a noise ordinance but it was not
being enforced. When I began my quest for attention to this noise pollution,
being forced on innocent non-participating members of the community, I was
asked why I lived in the downtown neighborhood and told to move. Nothing
would be done. Three years later, after contacting other neighborhoods under
siege, meeting with various city departments, lots of letters, and the
formation of Sound Rights, Citizens for a Quieter Environment. Sound Rights
is not attached to any one noise issue. We are from all neighborhoods each
with its own problem. Through our lobbying efforts we are beginning to see a
policy shift. Miniscule it may be but suddenly noise is an issue in the
newspapers, at community council meetings, in local government departments and
on TV and radio.
The Sound Rights newsletter, informing people of the existence of a noise
ordinance, and suggestions for ways to advocate for noise reduction, is mailed
to all Seattle neighborhoods, community councils, neighborhood planning
committees, City department heads, all audiologists, environmental groups,
etc.. Our mission is to educate and advocate. The Quiet-list can serve our
organization best with examples of solutions from other communities. These
are two articles from our newsletter.
Friends of Discovery Park have passed a resolution requesting the Seattle City
Council to identify Discovery Park as an extremely noise sensitive area, and
to coordinate with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to limit
over-flights of the Park under Visual Flight Rules (VFR).
The 1972 Discovery Park Master Plan, approved by the City Council calls for
Discovery Park "...to provide an open space of quiet and tranquillity for the
citizens of the City-a sanctuary where they might escape the turmoil of the
City and enjoy the rejuvenation which quiet, solitude, and an intimate contact
with Nature can bring,".
We thank Friends of Discovery Park for being forever vigilant on behalf of our
park and urge the City Council to act to protect our public spaces.
Did You Know...
Homes near O'Hare Airport in Chicago are eligible for soundproofing grants if
aircraft noise measures more than 70 decibels.
Idaho's Morrison Center is the first performance space in the country to have
a decibel limit for its performers and imposes fines of up to $5,000 for
musical groups exceeding 85 decibels.
Wisconsin has cracked down on loud car stereos by imposing fines and removing
stereo systems from cars after three citations
A Euro Commission is proposing noise policy relating to vehicles for all its
member nations, noting motorcycles emit the most conspicuous noise, especially
when they are accelerated at full power.
42 cities in California have banned gas-powered leaf blowers.
It is a long winded introduction. I beg your indulgence as I have read and
waited a good while before participating. I would like to say thank you to
Peter Donnelly for his generous support and encouragement. And a big thank
you to David George from the Department of Construction and Land Use Noise
Abatement Program, Officers Stuard Coleman and Jason Kasner of the Seattle
Police Department who put out a flyer notifying all bikers of the public
disturbance law that will be enforced this summer and to Eric Zwerling from
Rutger's Noise Institute who trained and excited David George and with luck
will be coming back to Seattle to train 10 police officers in noise
OK I'm done now.
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