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NoiseOFF Newsletter – February 2010‏

February 1, 2010

NoiseOFF Newsletter
The Coalition Against Noise Pollution

In This Issue

City Sounds – Noise in New York City
Rumbler Siren
Electric Vehicles
Off-Road Vehicles
WNYC Soundcheck on Noise Pollution


City Sounds – Noise in New York City

Richard Tur, Founder of NoiseOFF, will be among the co-panelists at a forum on noise pollution hosted by Fordham University.

“How are New Yorkers impacted by the sounds of city life?” This panel brings together five diverse experts to review different aspects of this issue. The main topics include: Environment and Behavior, Impacts of Urban Din, The NYC Noise Code, Reducing Noise Pollution, Music in The City.

Date and Time:
9 February 2010, Tuesday 6:00 – 7:30pm

Location:
Fordham University
113 West 60th Street; Room 1004
New York City

Students and the general public are welcome to attend. Beverages will be served. This forum is hosted by Fordham University, in cooperation with its Psychology Association, Psi Chi, Urban Studies program, SPSSI-NY, and the UN Committee on Human Settlements.


Rumbler Siren

The Rumber is an ear-splitting police siren system that according to its manufacturer, “have the distinct advantage of penetrating and shaking solid materials allowing vehicle operators and nearby pedestrians to FEEL the sound waves, and perhaps even see their effects through a shaking rearview mirror.”

The New York City Police Department (NYPD) purchased and installed the equipment with no oversight, no public hearings, and with no evident liability for the massive noise pollution they are about to inflict on citizens, all in the name of public safety. For residents who live anywhere near busy thoroughfares and any of the dozens of police precincts around the city, it presents a serious noise nuisance.

Rumbler Siren

A PDF flyer is available for affected residents dealing the Rumbler siren noise in New York City. Post it on bulletin boards (work, supermarket, library, school campus, coffeehouse, house of worship) and pass them out at community meetings and public spaces. Send copies to your local elected legislators as well.

What Is The Rumbler?


Electric Vehicles

The evolution of hyrbid and plug-in electric vehicles is a promising automotive solution that produces much less pollution. After decades of promise, it is finally coming – the age of the electric vehicle.

Traffic noise is a major pollution problem in urban cities. Millions of Americans live near busy roadways, thoroughfares, intersections and parking lots with combustion vehicle noise at all hours of the day and night. Because electric vehicles produce less sound, affected residents can finally rest easier.

So why are automakers and technology companies working to make these futuristic cars noisy?

Forget what you have read in newspapers about quiet cars and pedestrian safety. NoiseOFF has uncovered the facts on the myth of automotive sound and safety. We reveal the insidious reason why electric cars are being deliberately designed to emit massive noise pollution on an unsuspecting public.

Electric Vehicles


Off-Road Vehicles

A serious noise problem families deal with is when neighbors build motocross tracks or trails on their property to race dirt bikes and ride ATV’s. In some cases, riders trespass into other people’s property.

In addition to noise, affected families experience air pollution. Off-road vehicles blow particulate matter consisting of pesticides, fertilizers, spores, molds, dust, insects and fecal matter into the air. Some types of vehicles with two-stroke engines burn a mixed combination of gas and oil fuel that produces toxic exhaust.

Adding insult to injury, affected homeowners also deal with lowered property values. After all, who wants to live next to a racetrack?

The underlying issue is that off-road vehicles are typically used in areas that are not designated or zoned for their use. Often, police will dismiss homeowner complaints as a civil matter and take no enforcement action. Other times, police departments are politically directed to ignore the complaint. In rural or protected natural lands, enforcement is difficult because it requires navigating over wide distances in an attempt to catch up to illegal riders.

In communities where there is proposed legislation to limit or restrict the use of ATVs, opposition from riders groups and businesses that sell off-road vehicles rail against the bill. In other communities, racetracks are sanctioned or tolerated, at the expense of affected residents.

So how do affected families find a solution?

When negotiations fail, a course of action is filing a lawsuit against the neighbor on the grounds that they are causing a public nuisance. Litigation is expensive, time consuming and stressful. An important step is qualifying an attorney experienced in similar cases and homeowners issues.

In building a case, affidavits or depositions from other affected neighbors is obtained. An acoustic consultant is hired who can (surreptitiously) measure the sound using a decibel meter and specialized recording equipment. A written report is later submitted to the court and additional expert testimony as required

Whether of not there are existing community standards for noise levels, proving a case is more than measuring the volume, duration and intensity of sound coming into the property. It’s proving how the noise is impacting the use and enjoyment of the property itself, such as being able to open a window, sit in the backyard, and to sleep at night.

A court can then determine if the operation of the motocross track or trail is a public nuisance. In a successful civil case from Montana, the defendant was prohibited from operating any type of motocross track and required to remove the motocross track from the property. That included restoring the original contours of the property by removing the hills and jumps that were constructed as part of the track.

Strategy Guide
Neighbors
Case Study: Motocross Track Ruling


WNYC Soundcheck on Noise Pollution

WNYC radio in New York City presents a series of monthly audiocasts on noise pollution with host John Schaefer and guest Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D. Each month, they discuss specific noise issues that affect urban residents. The lively conversation is entertaining and informative.

Battling Urban Noise
Traffic and Transit
Sounds of the Season

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