From the city’s quiet zone information page: Update: 01/13/2011 The City of Austin submitted the Notice of Establishment (NOE) to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for the railroad crossing of the Union Pacific Railroad at Duval Road on January 12, 2011. This Quiet Zone will be officially in effect on February 2, 2011 (21 days …
The City of Austin has created a webpage with information on current quiet zone applications.
“Decibel,” by itself, is not a unit of loudness. The type of decibels needs to defined. This is the first of a two articles explaining what “decibels” means. It covers Leq, Lmax, Lmin, and statistical Ln values.
The latest change to the noise ordinance restricts sound coming from watercraft to being inaudible at 100 feet. This requirement is nearly impossible to satisfy. It is also written for the benefit of a specific set of homeowners. This ordinance is inequitable, serves a specific special interest, and transfers an undue burden of decision making to the police force.
During a performance at the Nutty Brown Cafe, sound levels were measured at a nearby residence. Measurements were compared to several appropriate criteria. According to these comparisons, sound levels from the Nutty Brown exceeded standards for annoyance and sleep disturbance by wide margins.
Quiet zones are an excellent compromise between safety and community livability. The cost of installing sufficient safety equipment is typically small, in city budget terms. Communities that are organized enough to submit applications and who have the money to make the necessary improvements see substantial increases in the quality of lives of people who live within half a mile of a crossing.
The new Austin Comprehensive City Plan, now under development, currently lacks a noise element. As a leader in environmental issues, Austin should include a noise element in its comprehensive plan.
The open house for the in-development Austin Comprehensive Plan is this Columbus day, October 12th. Between 3:00 to 8:00 at the Austin Convention Center, Ballroom B. This will be an opportunity for the public to start to get involved in the development of the new plan. After this, there will be a series of workshops …
Requiring outdoor music venues to submit an acoustical analysis as part of the permitting process will solve community noise issues before they occur. It will also allow each venue to operate according to its specific situation. A permitted venue can be held to special sound level limits designed around live music, rather than generic A-weighted levels taken from the ordinance.
The process of developing the City Plan is still in early stages. The plan itself isn’t yet being crafted, but the methodology that will be used to do so will be. I intend to pay close attention to the process because I believe very strongly that the new City Plan should have a Noise Element.