Wouldn’t It Be Nice….

Saw this sign yesterday on the UES. I wish this sign were in my neighborhood today (or, every damn day), as I’ve been listening to horns blaring for hours now.

So, what does one do if it’s noisy, there are no street signs and the noise code isn’t enforced? No clue. 311 doesn’t help and neither does my local precinct.

nohornblowing110116

311 Is A Joke

(Apologies to Public Enemy)

I’ve come to realize that reporting noise complaints–whether it be from incessant honking horns or speeding dual exhaust motorcycles that race up and down the street–is pointless. Nothing changes. I get an automated response from 311 that says the noise complaint is closed:

“Your Service Request was closed.

The Police Department responded and upon arrival those responsible for the condition were gone.”

I doubt very highly that they even drove over to the particular intersection where the issue was occurring. Why? The issue(s) persists, as I listen to speeding motorcycles race up and down the block. So, I call bullshit. I’m done. Reporting anything to 311 is a joke.

 

Some Helpful Hints About What Not to Say to Your Unemployed Friend

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I’m going to stray off topic from what is normally posted in this space today. Why? Because I feel like it. I feel silly even writing this because it all seems like common sense to me. But, then I’m reminded what is common to one, is not common to everyone else.

There are a ton of articles out there if one needs any help. If you’re unsure, PLEASE Google it (seriously). Many of these articles are very helpful:

here

and here

and, here

I cannot reiterate this enough:

Do not ever bitch about your job to your unemployed friend (or family member). In fact, don’t discuss your job at all to your unemployed friend. Hello, be a little empathetic and sensitive to the fact that she/he doesn’t want to hear your bitching. Sure, it was fine when they were also working, but now is not the time and please understand and be aware of this. Somewhat related, do not exclaim how much you you need a vacation to your unemployed friend. Your friend would love to be in the same boat as you….
What you can do is listen to them. Ask them how they are (they’re still a human being with thoughts and feelings) and really LISTEN to what they tell you, without “helpful” suggestions or judgment. Be sensitive to what they’re going through, even if that means you have to Google ‘how to talk to a friend who lost their job’ (see above). Try to be positive and supportive without being condescending. And most of all, check in on them because they very well might be depressed. Know that your friend or family member has a job right now: looking for a job. That is a real and valid task.

Awareness and Enforcement of the NYC Noise Code

10.5.16 UPDATE: It is curious that “Don’t Honk” signs still exist on streets in the Ditmas Park neighborhoods of Rugby, Argyle and Marlborough Roads, between Ditmas and Albermarle Roads. I guess people who live in the more affluent neighborhoods deserve to live in quiet and peaceful neighborhoods.

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“Don’t Honk” signs were removed on all streets/street corners in 2015 (?) because the federal standard for signs, signals and pavement markings, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) did not recognize these signs. So, as I was informed in an email back in 2015 from the DOT:

“New York City Traffic Rules prohibit the honking of vehicle horns except when necessary to warn a person or animal of danger. Therefore, signs are not needed for this purpose. These signs detract attention away from essential traffic control devices.”*

SO, the Traffic Rules exist, but, the thing is, how many people are AWARE of these rules, and, further, if people aren’t aware, then how can the rules/code be enforced by the police? If noise complaints are registered via 311, then filtered to one’s local NYPD precinct (shout out to my local precinct, the 66th! Thank you for attempting to enforce a traffic code that drivers aren’t aware of or, don’t care about), the complaint is investigated–to what extent, I’m not sure–and then the complaint is closed. The cycle continues and the problem still exists. If the signage was returned, wouldn’t that at least help control the problem of unnecessary vehicle honking? If drivers were aware that a law existed, then, wouldn’t that deter them from violating it because of the “threat” of a monetary fine?

*I find this statement to be ridiculous…because if drivers are that distracted, then they shouldn’t be driving in the first place because pretty much anything could be classified as a “distraction”–store signage, a person walking down the street, usage of a cell phone, etc.

311 Seems To Be A Joke…

So far this week, I’ve made two noise complaints on the 311 website about the honking in the neighborhood. One on Saturday and one yesterday. While the response, or turnaround time has been fairly quick (ie: complaint sent to the appropriate police precinct), the results have been nil. I have received this response:

“Your Service Request was closed.

The Police Department responded and upon arrival those responsible for the condition were gone.”

Granted, Saturday is the ONLY quiet day in my neighborhood, I described the issue, hoping that perhaps someone would arrive during the hours and days of the week that I mentioned in the complaint. I guess that was my mistake for filing the complaint on Saturday. I realized this after calling my police precinct and talking with the nice/helpful switchboard operator. He suggested making a complaint on the very day/time that the noise is occurring. So, I made a complaint yesterday afternoon when the Avenue was backed up because of a few double parked trucks and the honking continued off and on for a few hours (thirty seconds of silence is unheard of). I had mentioned in my complaint that if a police car were to just sit at the intersection for a brief amount of time, then they’d witness/hear the noise. The complaint was submitted at 3:54pm and closed at 10:32pm.

SIGH.

I guess the police have more pressing matters (??) in Kensington and Boro Park to deal with than to post someone at a busy intersection to monitor unnecessary noise. I’m not sure what needs to happen next. Do we need to educate drivers about noise pollution? Or, should the city re-evaluate it’s decision to remove (because they stated they needed to comply with the “No honking” signage at street corners? A snippet of my email response last March from the NYC DOT:

“New York City Traffic Rules prohibit the honking of vehicle horns except when necessary to warn a person or animal of danger. Therefore, signs are not needed for this purpose. These signs detract attention away from essential traffic control devices. Additionally, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), the federal standard for signs, signals, and pavement markings in the United States, does not recognize these signs.  As a result, the Department has commenced the removal of existing “Don’t Honk” signs.

Unnecessary noise is a violation of the New York City Noise Control Code and carries a fine of $350. Police officers and traffic enforcement agents should issue summonses to any vehicles found to be in violation of these regulations. If you believe that there is an ongoing problem of motorists illegally honking horns at this location, please contact the local precinct.”

How can this Code be enforced? If no one gets ticketed, then what’s the point of having the code in place? Are drivers unaware of this noise code? Does there need to be some re-education here about this matter?? Are drivers just idiots who don’t give a shit? Or, if this were a more affluent neighborhood, would this even be an issue (meaning, would the police issue tickets to drivers in violation of the Code)? (the median household income as reported in 2013 is $44, 304.) These are hypotheses I will continue to explore and post my findings on this blog. In the meantime, I am going to contact (again) the DEP about this issue.

To be continued….

NYC Noise Code

NYC overhauled its noise code in 2007 and it’s been in effect since then. You can find it here.

In particular and most relevant to this blog:

“Horn Honking

The use of vehicle horns is not permitted except as a warning in situations of imminent danger.

SOUND ADVICE

HELP LIMIT THE UNNECESSARY NOISE IN THE ENVIRONMENT:

  • DON’T HONK YOUR HORN IF YOU ARE STUCK IN TRAFFIC
    Honking your horn is illegal, except in emergencies.”

SEE?? It’s there in the NYC Code! And yet, no one adheres to the code and the police don’t seem to be ticketing drivers–at least not in my neighborhood–for the offense.

Why isn’t this law enforced? As I type this the cacophony of truck and car horns blares outside my window and registered at 87db and 90db at its highest moments (and that’s registered from my apartment window. Imagine what it would be if I was on the sidewalk [which I will do shortly and post those results]).

Trucks (and cars) double park all along Ditmas Avenue disrupting the flow of traffic (why aren’t they ticketed??). Cars, buses and trucks honk because of these afformentioned double parkers, they honk at sanitation trucks, they honk at school buses, they honk because the light just turned green a millionth of a second ago and a driver hasn’t reacted quickly. The noise level varies, but lasts for hours at a time. Thirty seconds cannot go by without honking.

This is a residential neighborhood. This noise is ridiculous and beyond excessive.

#noisybrooklyn #NYPD66Pct #noise

http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/epi/noise_code.pdf

SHUT THE FUCK UP WITH THE HONKING.

As I sit in my apartment attempting to work from home, I’m listening to the ongoing sounds of cars honking. I live in the back of an apartment building in a residential neighborhood. It’s 10:50am and the honking started at around 8am. The honking times will vary, but it is a constant in the afternoons from about 3pm until 7pm. The noise is worse in the summer when I have my windows open. Sometimes the cacophony is so terrible I have to resort to closing my windows and switching on the A/C and even then I can STILL hear the honking. There used to be signs posted on the street corners (I’m sure you’ve seen them): “No honking, fine: $300.” Those signs were removed back in 2014. I’ve contacted my city councilman’s office, filed complaints with the NYC DOT and 311. My local police precinct is about to get a visit from yours truly.

I contacted my city councilman’s office last year and this is the response I received:
“Thank you for writing to Council Member Lander regarding car honking on _____ Avenue and 5th Street. Have you had a chance to report the missing signage to 311? If not, the best way to originate this complaint is through the Department of Transportation’s online webform: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/contact/contact-form.shtml. If you’d like, you can send me the reference number, and I can follow-up with the agency to see if we can get some clarity on why the signage was removed and if it can return.”

I contacted the DOT and this is the reply I received:
“Thank you for your correspondence concerning signs prohibiting excessive noise caused by horn honking.

New York City Traffic Rules prohibit the honking of vehicle horns except when necessary to warn a person or animal of danger. Therefore, signs are not needed for this purpose. These signs detract attention away from essential traffic control devices. Additionally, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), the federal standard for signs, signals, and pavement markings in the United States, does not recognize these signs. As a result, the Department has commenced the removal of existing “Don’t Honk” signs.

Unnecessary noise is a violation of the New York City Noise Control Code and carries a fine of $350. Police officers and traffic enforcement agents should issue summonses to any vehicles found to be in violation of these regulations. If you believe that there is an ongoing problem of motorists illegally honking horns at this location, please contact the local precinct. You can send an email message to the Police Commissioner by going to http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mailnypd.html. For individual precinct information, go to http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/home/contact_information.shtml.

You may also want to bring this problem to the attention of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which oversees the Noise Control Code. You may send your inquiry directly to the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection by going to
http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/maildep.html. Other contact information is available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/contact_us/index.shtml.

Thank you for your concern in this matter.”

So, all those signs that were posted throughout the five boroughs were removed. That’s genius. I also filed a complaint with 311 as well and still nothing has happened. I am filing a complaint with the DEP as well.

I realize that I live in a congested city with impatient drivers, but the noise level is obnoxious and disruptive to people who live in neighborhoods. We shouldn’t have to put up with it.