We all are aware of vehicle speeding and noise on city streets, mainly caused by lack of mufflers and stock or modified mufflers on speeding cars, motorcycles and light trucks. The Noise Ordinance, Chapter X, 10-2, Section 10-2.9 Motor Vehicle Noise, Paragraph C lists four exhaust system requirements and states no person shall operate or cause to be operated any motor vehicle unless the exhaust system should meet these requirements. Paragraph E designates a “uniformed police officer” for implementation and enforcement. But officers do not have noise meters.

Still, Paragraph 10-2.9 C can be enforced now even without the officer having a meter. Noise meters are defined in Section 10-2.3. The VLIKE Digital Sound Level Meter costs $56 and is one of many. Section 10-2.4 D states that the first offense is $200, subsequently $500. So, the city should purchase noise meters for all police vehicles, and Section 10-2.9 C should be enforced without noise meters.

City police are down approximately 30 street officers, and the incentive to hire officers is $15,000. Also, the city can entice retired officers back on the force. There are an undetermined number of public safety aides and vehicles that respond to accidents and other incidents. The city can increase the hiring bonus to $20,000; lobby the state Legislature to allow retired officers to return to the city force and receive their retirement pay; and assign public safety aides to ticket muffler noise.

There is a proposal on the table for speed cameras that should be approved. Another proposal is unattended speed and noise vans located at various critical locations. Existing speed vans can be equipped with noise cameras. The city should approve speed cameras and include noise cameras in the package as well as purchasing additional speed vans with noise metering and ticketing.

The Traffic Calming Program has about 40 outstanding applications. In District 1, loud and speeding vehicles travel any time of the day and night, especially in the morning between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m., and in the evening between 6 p.m. and past midnight. If decision-makers do not think this is a very big deal, just ask the 40 applicants and the residents of Agua Fría and Camino Sierra Vista between Baca Street and St. Francis Drive. And anyone within ear-shot of St. Francis and Baca.

The city can revise traffic-calming regulations to expedite speed hump approval, assign police vehicles for certain streets and pass an ordinance that allows constituents to report a loud muffler in their neighborhood. Then, police could issue a “repair it ticket” with subsequent fines for noncompliance.

Research has addressed the impacts of noise pollution on people. For example, investigators at the University of Michigan describe the most serious health effects of noise and propose a blueprint for an effective U.S. public health response. Mounting evidence also connects noise exposures with cardiovascular disease, sleep disturbance, stress, general annoyance, impaired learning and concentration, and other health effects.

Finally, the current Noise Ordinance 10-2 should be revised to include clarification of the fines for noise tickets to affirm that Section 10-2.4 D requires that first offense be $200 with subsequent offenses at $500.

Tom Andrews is a District 1 resident since 1979.

(6) comments

Bryan Bird

Our city leadership has decided to ignore this real, quality of life issue.

mark Coble

I suggest we continue to lower standards for education and hiring. Diversity, inclusion and equality will solve everything.

Lawrence Leichtman

I totally agree with the OP. I live off of N. Guadalupe. The noise level after 9PM can be deafening. We have called the police on several occasions but nothing ever gets done. Somehow this is stifling culture because driving around with blasting mufflers is somehow culture?

John Gomez

This town wages a war on it's youth a swear. There is nothing for kids here it's all for old white people and now this tim dude wants to shut down one of the last real pieces of culture here. Old white people just move here for dumb lifeless meaningless paintings and do everything they can to ruin things for the youth.

Stefanie Beninato

You must not go downtown, John. No one is trying to stop cruising--although given climate change and the price of gas, you might think our "poor youth" could not afford this activity. It is not the cruising-it is the deafening noise---I know--I do tours in downtown in the evening. People on my tours have told me that they cannot believe how noisy the plaza area is. Some people said they could hear loud engines all night at Hotel Santa Fe and other locations in downtown and on Cerrillos Rd. No more conglomerate stats for reckless driving, speeding and noise. Let's see how many drivers were cited for violation of the noise ordinance. PS Time to get rid of non electric leaf blowers too.

Emily Koyama

There are plenty of ways for youth and bikers to exercise their culture without blasting five thousand watt sound systems, or uneccessarily gunning engines, on downtown streets.

I think people would appreciate the effort put into customizing those cars and motorcycles more, if their eardrums were not being assaulted in the process.

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