Photo credit: Khunkorn Laowisit

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

As a long-term researcher and writer on the adverse impacts of noise on our health and well-being and the positive effects of quiet on our health, I was pleased to read a letter in The Columbian by Renee Soasey in response to an earlier letter calling for a “crack down on noisy cars.”

Soasey, of Vancouver, Washington, writes about the obnoxious sound levels of loud car engines and car radios, a complaint experienced by many residents in cities in both Canada and the U.S. She calls for action from her local government as do many others who are similarly impacted by these outrageous sounds from passing cars.

I would suggest that Soasey reach out to the Right to Quiet, an anti-noise group out of nearby Vancouver, Canada, that is committed to the effort to lessen noise. I am on the Board of Right to Quiet and we need more advocates for a quieter environment to work with us.

There are some new methods being deployed to try to curb noise, like sound cameras that issue violations to noisy cars. Sound cameras have been employed by several cities in the U.S. and abroad, but this effort is still essentially in the pilot study phase. This past week I attended a presentation on the New York City pilot study by a member of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. With one noise camera set up for short periods of time at different locations in New York City, the city was able to issue violations based on camera readings, but fewer than 20% resulted in summonses being issued. New York City needs to work on making the noise camera more efficient and, hopefully, with the additional cameras it plans to set up shortly, it will be able to do this.

Anti-noise advocates are growing in number, and undertakings such as the use of noise cameras to identify and ticket loud cars indicates that our voices are being heard.

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