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We are losing the battle with Noise Pollution in Menlo Park

Original post made by Assaulted by Noise, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park, on May 14, 2010

Planes. Trains. Automobiles.
Leaf Blowers. Air Compressors. Jack Hammers.
Chain Saws. Chippers. Garbage Trucks.

We are losing the battle with noise pollution in Menlo Park. Constant noise is becoming the defining characteristic of this city. Having suffered through the construction of the third remodel by our adjacent neighbors in the past 5 years, I am beginning to think that my fellow residents have either given up or gone deaf. Maybe everyone has headphones on and are now oblivious to the clatter.

I think that we are surrendering a fundamental aspect of our quality of life by permitting all of these noise making devices to ruin the tranquility of our neighborhoods. You can't even hear the birds chirp in the morning sometimes. The leaf blowers and lawn mowers crank up and it sounds like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the next half hour. There is one neighbor who is building some stone edifice in their backyard, and has a stone saw going all weekend. A stone saw sounds like a dentist's drill, lovely to help you relax in your backyard.

Anyone else feel this way?

Comments (13)

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Posted by Joan
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 14, 2010 at 10:35 pm

I am SOOOOOO with you, Assaulted by Noise. Problem is, noise is considered the cost we pay for "the good life," "progress," etc. And those of us who feel assaulted by it are told "get over it." We're called whiners and whimps. But research is showing that the cost to our mental well being and spirits (let alone our ears) is very high.

Unfortunately, noise reduction is a hard argument to make in a society that is increasingly welcoming to intrusive sound that makes it easy to avoid contemplation and the inward gaze. I wish I could be more hopeful.


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Posted by Martin Engel
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 15, 2010 at 10:37 am

That's not the only battle we're losing. We're losing the battle on high-density urbanization. We're losing the battle on over-construction. We're losing the traffic battle. We're losing the education battle.

Contrary to the developers' promotional rhetoric, our "livability" factor is going down, not up. Our downtown "vision" promises more high-rise, greater density, more traffic. Noise becomes one of the nasty side-effects of these increases. Who is there to stop it? Our City Council? Who supports expansion of current zoning code restrictions?

There are those of us who see and abjure this severe decline in the quality of life that brought us to Menlo Park in the fist place. What are we going to do about it?


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Posted by Martin Engel
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 15, 2010 at 10:39 am

Oops, sorry. "First" place, not "fist" place. Although, now that I think about it. . . . . . . . .


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Posted by MOVE
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Move out to the middle of an open field in the middle of Iowa


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Posted by Joan
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 15, 2010 at 10:00 pm

Interesting post by MOVE. He/she must live in a high-decibel area where it is easy to avoid deep thinking, thanks to the distracting, instrusive noise. Noise to wallow in is Hog Heaven to those who don't want to be alone with their thoughts and challenge themselves intellectually.


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Posted by Linda
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on May 15, 2010 at 10:09 pm

I whole heartedly agree. Noise pollution is constant. Much of it is unneccessary. I see gardners with loud-too loud--leafblowers just blowing the leaves around and around. Chain saws run for an entire day, accompanied by whining weed trimmers.

Today,I couldn't tell you if the birds were singing because for 6 long hours, a chain saw was revving. So much for living in the peaceful environment of Portola Valley.

When I sell my house, what do I say? Come live in a lovely quiet environment, or do I say welcome to noise pollution on a grand scale?


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Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on May 15, 2010 at 11:26 pm

I agree with you; noise is definitely a form of pollution.

Another irritant along the same lines is people who leave their outside lights on all the time, along with unnecessary streetlights. I appreciate being able to see stars in the night sky.


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Posted by MOVE
a resident of another community
on May 16, 2010 at 10:05 am

Then you should be just fine in Iowa joan..you see we live in a very dense urban area..because you people think its small town it is not .nor should time stop because your aging and everything and its mother bothers your types...


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Posted by Silence is golden
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2010 at 12:22 am

MOVE, I'm so grateful for the people who try to change what is not right instead of simply moving or burring their head in the sand when faced with problems; they are the people who make the world a nicer place for all of us.

That said, I too am so sick of the unnecessary noise I am assaulted with every day, especially the dreaded leaf blower and gas powered lawn mowers that make a dreadful noise, destroy the soil, and pollute the air. They are so unnecessary. Yes, we live in an urban area but so much of the noise can be eliminated. Is a perfectly manicured lawn worth the horrific noise and air pollution? The most beautiful gardens I've noticed are the ones covered in native plants and wildflowers that look natural and require little maintenance.

I lived in Switzerland in 1983 and remember that residents would put their trash in small Glad type trash bags on the sidewalk for trash collection in the morning. A Mercedes garbage truck with an efficient crew wold quietly pick up the bags and toss them in the truck with practically no noise. The sidewalks were swept clean and spotless with brooms. Many residents had vegetable and flower gardens in their front yards instead of green lawns. Perhaps it's changed now but it was certainly nice then.


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Posted by phil
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 17, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Definitely, Menlo Park is losing the residential livability battle. Add to the above lists of noise sources the constant construction noise and you pretty much obliterate "peace and quiet" from our local vocabulary. We can go back and forth about who's for or against "progress" and what's needed to have it in order to improve our community. Zoning ordinances need to be reviewed and changed to have any chance of achieving any relief from the noise, air and light pollution enveloping us in our MP neighborhoods. Zoning is, in fact, a political decision -- are we dealing with progress as defined by developers and other service providers or profit that they seek in doing their business in our city? The MP city council needs to understand how their constituents really feel about these issues and act accordingly -- instead of constantly pandering to the siren song of profit seeking developers and others who desire to bring us "progress" at great cost.


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Posted by Noise is us
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 17, 2010 at 2:34 pm

It used to be when you took a walk in this area you could say hello to people and they would respond. Now, it seems, everybody has wires coming out of their ears and they are proceeding to deafness while listening to music and other forms of loud entertainment. What happened to just having a quiet walk alone with your thoughts and maybe giving a friendly greeting to your neighbors. Must be have noise every minute of the day?


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Posted by Susan
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 6, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Completely agree with your sentiments. I'm sitting in my Menlo Park home and have been listening to leaf blowers on and off all morning. And why? So that every stray leaf can be removed or blown somewhere else? And despite the fact that Menlo Park bans leaf blower noise over 65 decibels, the police won't enforce the rule, so it's pointless. A leaf blower ban will be high on my priority list when choosing the next city I move to.


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Posted by member
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Sep 1, 2010 at 8:48 pm

I have a neighbor on Nash who is running a leaf blower right now (8:50pm) and for the past hour...is there no curfew on this? I feel like going out an mowing the lawn to make a point.


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