New York City legislators propose seven noise bills

Photo credit: jimmy teoh

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

An earlier blog post informed our readers that the New York City Council was going to introduce two bills that would attempt to reduce noise pollution in the city. Actually, seven bills are going to be introduced on Oct. 16. This includes placing noise cameras in residential areas, redefining “unreasonable” noise, construction sites being subjected to the Department of Environmental Protection inspections at the request of nearby residents and examining present enforcement actions against the “most clamorous” violators. The noise bills also call for the DEP and the New York Police Department to have more transparency when they issue inspection reports.

I was pleased that the New York Daily News Editorial Board published an editorial highlighting how important it is for City Council to issue bills that would attack noise pollution on all sides. The editorial noted City Council’s attempt to introduce laws that would use technology to identify rolling aural nuisances like too-loud cars, trucks and motorcycles. Many residents have been complaining about these nuisances for years. 

The editorial states that New York City will never be a quiet city but it can still be a city where laws protect residents from excessive noise. But for these laws to be truly effective, they must be enforced. The editorial states that enforcement is key and must happen evenly across the city. It concludes by stating that New Yorkers’ quality of life matters. Literature linking noise to health indicates noise is hazardous to our mental and physical health.  

After reading the post on City Council noise bills, several readers contacted me that two of the bills — one addressing citizen noise complaints and the other noise standards for commercial establishments —might increase, rather than decrease, surrounding noises. New Yorkers who read this post should look at these bills and decide for themselves whether they will reduce noise pollution in the city. New Yorkers should also consider discussing these bills with their councilmembers as well as speaking at public hearings.  

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