Friday Question of the Day

No. 10 An evangelist with a megaphone, originally uploaded by Justin Cormack.

Thanks to a reader for sending me this Washington Post link about the DC Council’s initial passage of the Noise Control Act. I think it still has a few more hurdles to cover before it is official though. The reader was very pleased with the initial passage, saying the act: “which imposes reasonable noise levels in residential neighborhoods (like Petworth) while still allowing higher volume, amplified expressions in the downtown core. It appears to be a win for those of us who feel it is our right not to be bombarded with unwanted outside noise while preserving the right of freedom of expression.” It may be interesting to note that Ward 4 Councilmember, Muriel Bowser, was strongly opposed to the act. According to the Post article she believes the noise problem is a “H Street problem” and not a citywide problem. I haven’t followed the issue too closely but my initial impression is that I would support the act. But then again freedom of speech is kind of important too. This is a tough one.

So the Friday question of the day is – do you support the passage of a citywide noise control protection act?

19 Comment

  • In my mine, freedom of speech and expression applies more to the content of the speech than its decibel level.

    I think the noise ordinance is a fair compromise – let people scream and yell and use bullhorns in non-residential areas, and let the rest of us be able to sleep.

  • I cant say I’ve really experienced noise problems… outside of the occasional souped up car engine or motorcycle. sometimes my little area of petworth is so quiet I forget I live in the middle of a big old city.

  • because i have the -ah-“privilige” of living near a guy with three of the loudest barking dogs in the history of the world, i have learned a lot about laws, pending or otherwise,
    concerning acceptable noise/decibel levels, etc. in fact, i seem to know more about it than the police, whom i call on a regular basis concerning this *&^%$#&^^!!!.
    i can understand what you are saying about free speech, pop-but as isabel sanford’s character in “guess who’s coming to dinner” said, “this here is somethin’ else.”

  • This whole thing is ridiculous. One guy on H St. has an issue and now we need a city-wide policy to address it? I get reasonable noise levels, but this is just silly.

    Also, this is a city. There is noise. That’s the whole point.

  • The whole point of living in a city is “noise”? I doubt most people live in a city because of a desire to be subjected to excessive noise.

    Living in DC doesn’t mean one must be subjected to amplified noise at 80Db while relaxing at home. This “ya gotta take the good with the bad”, be it crime, trash, or some other negative condition doesn’t work for me. I’ll take the good with the good – diversity, historic grand architecture, proximity to parks, night life and public transportation AND reasonable noise levels, green space and clean safe streets, thank you very much.

  • Right on, Geezer!

  • perhaps your post explains why councilmember bowser has never responded to any calls and/or queries concerning the aforementioned noise problem in my neighborhood. the mayor’s office, on the other hand, informed me of current and (then) pending legislation concerning excessive noise in the city…. i miss fenty as a ward rep!

  • I like the pic. Is that a Tom Cruise poster in the background?

  • “This whole thing is ridiculous. One guy on H St. has an issue and now we need a city-wide policy to address it? I get reasonable noise levels, but this is just silly.”

    Amen! If this is all the city council has to work on, perhaps it needs to cut back its hours (and its pay).

  • One of the kids in my neighborhood recently got a dirt bike and rides around the neighborhood all evening. It’s really annoying. I’m all about reasonable noise level. If you want quiet move to Stafford. But excessive noise should be limited.

  • This is actually one of the more substantial things the city council has addressed this year. And yes, legislation is required to allow the authorities (DCRA in this case) to force individuals to cease offending behavior. And if the bullhorns were outside your house, I doubt you would have the dismissive “one guy on H Street” perspective.

    The only reasons I can countenance for people not supporting this action by the Council are that they are part of group who envisions they may want to blast amplified sound thru someone’s from window (labor union, peace groups, etc) or someone who thinks that they are somehow too cool for “civility” concerns and it is this group that make fools of themselves.

  • This is not one guy with one complaint. Have any of you heard these “preachers” on H Street? They are incredibly loud, like you can hear them with your car windows rolled up and the radio on when you drive by. If I lived near them my blood pressure would be through the roof. This isn’t about limiting freedom of speech it’s about not making it so LOUD. I won’t even get into the utterly racists things they are preaching, but trust me, if this was outside your house, EVERY WEEK, you’d be livid too.

  • In response to Otis Gal – You’re right about it not being just one guy with a problem. A couple months ago those preachers were on the corner of 7th and Georgia – their words were so vile and the noise was so loud it drowned out the usual din of that corner. I had a fear they they would work their way up Georgia and turn my block into unliveable.
    As far as the city council having better things to do, what about these jerks spending all this time broadcasting hate in the name of their lord – seems like they should be doing something constructive, like playing with their children, on the weekends.

  • Actually, this is a bigger topic than people realize. Noise pollution has direct economic. When people don’t get good sleep, they are not at their mental best. And not everyone works 9-5. A lot of us work odd hours and need to get sleep when we can.

  • So, I might be misunderstanding the terms of the bill, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t do anything about noise of barking dogs, or of loud motorcycles 🙂

    For that matter, I live on Georgia and hear sirens all the time. Is it annoying? Yes. Is it worth restricting? Of course not.

    Also, 80 db is a really low limit! Normal conversation is 60 db. A lawn mower is 92 db. Those ambulance sirens? 120 db.

  • here here geezer… i hate that argument too. take the good with the bad.. now, why in the HELL would i do that? why would any of us? as someone who gets woken up around 12-1 am at least once a week due to a bunch of idiots on the corner, yelling and laughing and just making asses of themselves, i definitely think that this is a good way for our elected officials to spend their time.

    i think anyone being too loud and unruly should get tazed. twice.

  • Right on Cristobal!

    And just because you think you have something important worth saying does not mean everyone else wants to hear it? What about our rights for some peace and quiet every now and then?

    If we don’t take care to have some control on noise pollution we will end up just like NYC where it is loud all day and all night to the point where its a constant hum in your head that makes you want to snap and go CRAZY! Ieeeeee!!

  • nyc passed a much stricter version of this bill awhile ago. hmm…

    for those workers who, when on strike, need to picket in order to get higher wages, being able to be loud is incredibly important. i sure want them to be able to get the wages and benefits they deserve, and i worry that this bill would make it much harder to do so.

  • This isn’t about one person or group on H Street. This is an issue which has affected many residents throughout the city. Ms. Bowser’s claim simply shows her ignorance on the issue and who it has impacted over the past several months and years.

    Hooray for the Council Members who brought this legislation forward.
    Boo to those who have opposed it (perhaps they would like to be harrased while in their private residences at the expense of their neighbors for months on end?

    For the life of me, I have no idea why council members would oppose this at the expense of the quality of life of taxpaying DC residents.

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