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.