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FW: Sound Rights Newsletter
Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 1997 10:05 PM
Subject: Sound Rights Newsletter
S O U N D R I G H T S
Citizens for a Quieter Environment - Volume 1, Issue 3 - Summer 1997
NOISE & YOUR HEALTH
It is difficult to say how much damage there is to hearing from everyday noise
pollution. Individual susceptibilities and damage from noise exposure vary
widely. We do know that continued exposure to sound over 85 decibels can
cause hearing loss as can a single exposure to 100+ decibels at a rock
concert. What we don't know is how much damage is done to our health from the
rising decibel levels in our urban environment.
Loud noise triggers the body's "fight or flight" response; a rise in the level
of adrenaline, and a subsequent increase in blood pressure, dilation of the
pupils, and contraction of muscles. For our ancestors, noise often meant
danger, and these responses helped them cope with emergencies. Now, when
incessant noise prompts these reactions hour after hour, the result is stress,
fatigue, impaired sleep and the health damage they can cause.
With sirens, airplanes, motorcycles, car alarms, and amplified music
everywhere in our lives we are exposed more and more to startlingly loud
sounds. For this reason the City of Seattle has a noise ordinance to protect
its citizens from disrupted sleep and an unhealthy environment. Let our
officials know we expect enforcement of our noise ordinance.
As human beings we hear sounds all around us. As busy citizens of an
industrial culture we listen selectively. Take time in your day to actively
listen to the sounds in our environment, the comforting sounds as well as the
annoying noise. How much noise do we generate for convenience? How much to
transport ourselves? What would a city sound like without cars and trucks?
Listen to your world.
Invite Sound Rights to attend your next community meeting. Contact Heinz
JUDGE SUES, SAYS BARRY MANILOW BAD FOR HEALTH
A recent news item from the Seattle PI tells of a Tucson judge who has had
constant ringing in his ears since he attended a 1993 Barry Manilow concert.
"Let me say I expected Barry Manilow to be soft amplified music," Arizona
Court of Appeals Judge Philip Espinosa said in a deposition. Instead it was
the loudest concert he ever attended. He is suing for unspecified damages.
Health care practitioners recommend use of a good set of ear plugs in any
environment with sustained, loud noise. Even one concert can irrevocably
damage your hearing. Sustained exposure to 85 decibels is considered harmful.
Some Seattle nightclubs have tested at over 100 decibels.
League for the Hard of Hearing: http://www.lhh.org/noise
Rutger U. Noise Institute: http://snowfall.rutgers.edu/envsci/noise.html
Right to Quiet: http://www.islandnet.com/~skookum/quiet
Quiet-List (discussion/e-mail list): contact 'firstname.lastname@example.org'
Sound Rights will host a gathering at Magnuson Park July 21st at 7 PM. (On
Lake Washington at 65th NE and Sand Point Way.)We will meet at the sound
sculpture. Enter the park, go left and follow road by the water to last
parking lot. Park and continue by foot on road to the Sound Garden. The
park is alive with bird sounds, kite sounds, people laughing and playing.
In the summertime we all become more aware of the sounds around us. Doors and
windows are open and we spend more time outside. Our neighbors' leisure time
choices sometimes prevent us from enjoying a quiet environment. Warm weather
brings out motorcycles, personal watercraft, concerts in the park, cruising
cars with loud stereos and other forms of entertainment.
This gathering will give us an opportunity to listen carefully to all the
sounds in one of our beautiful waterfront parks. Join David Mahler and other
Sound Rights members for an active listening experience.
For its size and speed, no form of transportation is more sound efficient than
the bicycle. It emits only the quietest of mechanical whirs and clicks as it
goes about its business at speeds that can challenge in-city auto traffic, and
the slightness of its contact point on the pavement produces little road
noise, too. (When we talk about the sounds of transportation, let's be sure
to talk about both the sounds for the transported - the passengers, and the
sounds for the innocent bystander. While car designers have worked hard to
make their product quieter for its passengers, there is no quieting of the
experience for the listener who is outside of the car.)
Besides being sound efficient, the bicycle makes sound that is, relative to
its actions and to its size and speed, appropriate. It doesn't intimidate, or
bully its way. It is the kayak of land transportation.
In downtown Seattle I have claimed the north/south alleys as my bicycle
byways. There are numerous advantages to riding the alleys. If I do meet a
motorized vehicle, it is most often a delivery truck in a stationary mode.
Even the presence of cars in an alley is less troublesome than on the main
streets, since there is not room in most alleys for more than one car width of
traffic. Alleys are especially advantageous when they intersect with one way
streets. A quick glance in the direction of approaching traffic is all it
takes to say all clear, or stop here. Even crossing two way streets presents
little delay, since there are no traffic lights, and it usually requires only
glances left and right to assure that it s okay to proceed.
The best part of riding the alleys may be the quietness of them. Alleys are
shielded from most motorized traffic. I often ride "by my ears" in the alleys
- that is to say, attentive listening supplants some of the work that my eyes
have to do when riding on streets. Because the noise level is so much quieter
and less continuous in alleys, my listening is heightened.
My bicycle is outfitted with a simple bell that serves as a warning device.
Though the bell can't compete with auto sounds on streets, it is effective in
alleys and when used to warn pedestrians at alley crosswalks. The bell is
gentle, percussive, unmistakable, benign, and to the point.
I've even had pedestrians turn to me with a smile when I ring it.
The University of California at Santa Barbara, where several years ago I spent
a week as Listener-in-Residence, allows cars only on the perimeter of the
campus. Once you've parked your vehicle and walked toward the center of
campus you begin encountering bicycles. Hundreds and hundreds of bicycles.
There are bike "freeways" throughout campus, complete with pedestrian
crosswalks. The thrum of moving bicycles on that campus is an indelible sound
in my mind, a sound that displays none of the aggressiveness that we have come
to associate with people being transported quickly. The sound is cheery and
encourages conversation and listening. In my dream of the ideal city, I
envision bikeways that provide such a quiet, unobtrusive means of travel, and
that are at at one with an overall goal of calming the urban experience.
* David Mahler
GOOD NEIGHBOR POLICY
NEW YORK NIGHTLIFE ASSOCIATION
1. Preserve and protect the quality of life in ur neighborhood
2. Provide 24-hour contact numbers to reach senior management
3. Encourage patrons to be respectful of establishment's neighbors
4. Keep noise outside the establishment to a minimum
5. Encourage our patrons to act in a responsible manner
6. Be a good neighbor
I live next to a building with an aggressive and sporadic air conditioner on
the roof of a retail space that is closed from 6 PM to 10 AM. It should be
turned off each night but it is not. After many complaints I delivered a box
of chocolates asking them to remember to turn off the air conditioner each
night. It worked. Every once in a while they forget, but it's an oversight
and easier to forgive. Skinner would have approved.
* Ed Marquand
INFORMATION FOR ACTION
City Complaints 684-8811
Boeing Field 205-5242
Railroad Noise 525-6220
Seattle Municipal Code 25.08.500: It is unlawful to knowingly cause, make or
allow unreasonable noise which disturbs another and to refuse or intentionally
fail to cease when ordered to do so by a police officer.
We are ever on the lookout for ear-friendly environments. The following are a
. Downtown YMCA has no piped in music in workout areas.
. Crest Theater has normal speakers that don't hurt your ears.
Trattoria Mitchelli in Pioneer Square has an eating area without speakers.
This is a short list. Send your discoveries to be added. Where can you have
dinner and conversation without amplified music? Are there parks that are
especially quiet? Send in your suggestions.
The Seattle Police Department has taken action to curb excessive noise from
motorcycles. Community Police Officers Jason Kasner and Stuart Colman created
a handout in response to increasing complaints about the noise created by
large groups of motorcyclists riding throughout the city. Now that the
motorcycle owners have been given a warning the police officers will begin
issuing citations to ensure public safety and peace within the city. Support
their efforts by writing Chief Norman Stamper, 610 Third Ave.
Seattle, WA 98104.
Thank you to all citizens who worked on this problem. And a special thank you
to Officers Colman and Kasner.
PUGET SOUND AIRPORT
There is a plan to operate a tourist floatplane landing strip on Puget Sound
in an already congested area at Pier 54 near Ivar's Acres of Clams. It would
allow 72 landings and takeoffs daily. For those of us concerned with noise
this is an important issue. It is already difficult to carry on a
conversation while walking on the waterfront because of the noise from highway
99. What impact will these planes have on residents and workers in the
Register your concerns with:
Seattle City Council
600 Fourth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
684-8888 FAX 684-8587
We are a group of citizens who are concerned about the ever increasing
intrusion of noise (an annoying sound) into our daily lives, especially with
the deleterious effect it has on our health.
The group has its origin in individual citizens who found that noise impacts
have become intolerable to them. Over time, these people became aware of each
other's particular concerns and efforts to minimize these impacts; and
subsequently met to share their concerns and the efforts they individually
Sound Rights is a grass roots organization devoted to the protection of
everyone's right to a quiet environment, and the restriction and regulation of
unwanted and unnecessary noise in the city of Seattle.
. Raise the awareness of the harmful effects of noise
. Educate the public to quiet alternatives and the wonders of natural sound
. Lobby for effective legislation to address noise levels and promote quiet
. Support advocates of noise reduction
. Work with public and private institutions to improve the quality of life in
. Put my neighborhood on your Noise Map
. $15 covers newsletter and postage
. $30 Supports educational work
PO Box 4665
Seattle, WA 98104
QUIET-LIST: Internet Mail List and Forum for discussion of Noise Pollution,
Soundscape Awareness, and the Right to Quiet. Email: "email@example.com"
To subscribe, email "firstname.lastname@example.org" with message "subscribe quiet-list".
For info, send message "info quiet-list" to same.
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