CT NIMBY and other loud noises
…Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This is what the Declaration of Independence sought for us. But how can we be “happy” with so much noise in our lives?
Boomboxes, leaf blowers, emergency truck braking on the highway… you know the inconvenience. But what to do and who is responsible?
Sometimes, dear reader, it’s our fault. Consider the following:
- People living near New Haven’s Tweed Airport complain about the expansion of Avelo airline flights and the noise from their planes.
- People who live along Metro-North branch lines and the new Hartford line say trains honk too often and too long at crossings.
- Residents near I-95 say increased traffic noise has made life in their neighboring homes unbearable.
But wait. Didn’t these people know that they were buying houses next to an airport, a train line or a highway? With few exceptions, these transportation arteries existed long before the plaintiffs settled.
They’re NIMBYs…the Not-In-My-Back-Yard vocal contingent that’s often as loud as the noise they’re complaining about. Note that some of them may be right to see their noise levels change since taking up residence.
Yes, air traffic has increased at Tweed. But that’s why the Airport Authority is spending $5 million to retrofit neighbors’ homes with soundproofing (which, like good insulation, could also lower their energy bills).
Railroad engineers don’t rely on their horns to annoy neighbors, but to prevent accidents when idiots bypass guardrails. Still, WestCOG is working with consultants to reduce the need for horns on the New Canaan branch through new technology.
And on our freeways, there are miles of expensive noise barriers, protecting the freeway from neighbors. And the new pavement technology could also reduce tire noise.
Certainly in some areas (like Greenwich) the topography has changed. When Metro-North clearcut dense foliage along I-95, neighbors lost some sound deadening benefits. This should be fixed.
But remember…these people chose to live near this airport (built in 1931), railroads (built in 1868) and highways (built in 1957) to be closer to this transportation. Their convenience comes at a cost.
Full disclosure: Our home is about a quarter mile from I-95 and the mainline railroad. You can hear trucks and trains, but it’s not a problem. And we love being so close to the highway and the train station…one of the reasons we chose our house.
In the case of New Haven Tweed, couldn’t the property values of some homes increase as airport workers and new businesses want to be nearby?
If branch line service on Metro-North increases, won’t this improved mobility mean more jobs and, again, greater demand for nearby housing?
And as Connecticut’s carotid arteries of commerce, isn’t the viability of our highways essential to our economy?
The NIMBYs want it both ways, complaining about the noise while ignoring the benefits to themselves and others.
But as for those 8 a.m. leaf blowers and lawn mowers…something has to be done!