From today's T-C
, "letters to the editor" section:
[url=http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/letters/story.html?id=49293930-b3b9-4de7-92a6-a10af1df3179:a5f40]Density is one thing, but city is too NOISY[/url:a5f40]
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2007
There is one area that concern me as development brings greater density to Victoria -- noise. I can escape the traffic and many other density annoyances by staying home. I can recycle, conserve water and live more healthily to counter other impacts.
But it is hard to shut out the noise. I hate to complain but I must admit to a growing hatred of motorcycles and emergency vehicle sirens.
Are those two-wheeled machines whose passing rattles your fillings really legal?
And are all those sirens really necessary? I live high up in an apartment and I watch the emergency vehicles as they navigate the city streets. Often I see two ambulances and a fire truck, sirens at full wail, attending the same event. I see two or three police cars rushing noisily to a crime scene emitting ear-piercing screams.
I won't complain about the crowding if I could just be reassured that my city will not dissolve into one constant roar of sound. Can anyone hear me?
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2007
Honestly, I think this guy is on the money. Quality of life is obviously important, and there are few things that can rattle a person like noise -- excess noise. I know this will have the "tink happy tawts -- everting's loverly" types all over me for being a nay-sayer and anti-Victoria, but you know what? Victoria, in particular its traffic, is really quite astonishingly loud. I think in fact it's a symptom of its "we're a small town" mentality: there's this idea that since we're not a big(ger) city, we can make a racket because rackets are exceptional
in small(er) towns. The problem is that they're not exceptional here (because we're not a small town), and it's about time we figured out how to tone down on the noise level. If you sit on Cook Street or any of the main arterial roads to have a coffee, you'll find conversation difficult because of competition from the noise that automobiles are making. There's a lot of traffic in this town. Our buses are loud, our traffic volume is pretty steady and heavy on many arterials, and our uniformed public servants are ever ready to switch on the sirens.
Anything we can do as a city to keep trucks/cars/buses and in particular siren noises a tad on the sotto voce
would be a good thing.And while I'm on a rant...
Has anyone else noticed the online ratings for cafes across the US and elsewhere that now include a noise rating? I don't have a reference handy, but I thought it was interesting that "noise" is a rate-able item for assessing the quality of a coffee shop. Can you go to a cafe and have a conversation without yelling? Can you meet a forumer and whisper conspiratorially about development, when some asshat at the counter is whacking coffee grounds out of the espresso head as though he were jackhammering the next building himself? Or is clattering dishes in the full-view open-area kitchen clean-up area? Or is using a coffee grinder that could wake the dead to grind that next espresso load? Or has a sound system blaring out some godawful version of jazz, typically a big band, which is the last thing you want to compete with (screeching trumpets) when you're doing that conspiratorial whisper thing? Why are we supposed to enjoy all this goddamn noise when all we really want is a quiet respite, and maybe an opportunity to talk to a friend??
What happened to quiet spaces -- for talking?