Mar 11

It’s All About… Peace and Quiet

EDITOR’S NOTE: Beginning with this piece, I plan on writing several topics using the catch-line “It’s All About…” Hopefully, many of these will be timely (I’ve had three or four on my mind, but working on a presentation for my real job has precluded me from writing them), and I can post one a week, my time permitting.

Any city you travel to, you are inundated with noise. All hours of the day and night, noise surrounds us.

Some people in our fair city want to make noise. Some make their noise with loud stereos, or loud car exhausts. While annoying, these only last a few moments until the assault ends for the rest of us.

What I’m talking about is the stationary kind of noise. Noise that goes non-stop for all hours. Residents around Memorial Park were vocal about the noise generated by traffic on the new I-610 bridge over I-10 at a recent city council meeting.

I understand the citizens concerns, as I spent 5 years living 100 feet from a freeway in Kansas City prior to my move to Houston. All hours of the day and night, motorcycles accelerating to insane speeds, truckers using exhaust brakes to slow down, and general noise from the road — and there were no noise walls to filter it out.

Another kind of noise is business noise. As I sit here and write this, a local club has started their nearly frequent tradition of having a live DJ outside when the weather’s nice. Though the establishment is two blocks away, I can hear the bass of the music, droning constantly from about 8pm until 2 or 3 am. Last year, this even occurred on Sunday Nights, leaving me with a tough day at work the next day.

While I have reported this problem to HPD, it not always results in the establishment resolving the problem. In fact, last year, one night I reported it, they got louder, and it took a second call to quiet them.

A private hall directly across the street is frequently rented on weekends, and in the two years I have lived here, I have never heard the live bands that frequent the facility.

Much like how my apartment complex mandates not disturbing our neighbors in the overnight hours, it’s time for the city council, TXDOT and other organizations to think about what can be done to reduce the assault on our ears.

TXDOT should mandate noise-reducing technology be incorporated into all construction projects. While they are constructing “Noise Walls” along most of the Katy Freeway corridor, the resulting walls that would have fenced the park would be over 30 feet tall! Other changes could be made to reduce the impact without an ugly huge barrier surrounding the park.

The city should enforce the noise ordinance whenever possible, manpower permitting, and consider escalating fines for people and venues that frequently violate the ordinance. Failure to comply should also be considered when the business applies for liquor license renewal.

As far as the loud exhausts, any local grocery store throwing out large citrus fruit, let me know…

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