Stop the fuss! You’ve had to scream through your window, not a few times in the last few weeks, the Puerto Rican Mireya Fernández, resident of Nagle Avenue in Upper Manhattan, a town like many of Washington Heights and Inwood where the rumble of engines without silencers, motorbike and vehicle speed races, plus loud music they despair many neighbors. The street “party” heats up on the weekends. And now, on hot days and without pandemic restrictions, the fear is that the noise pollution be more unbearable.
“I have been living in this neighborhood for 10 years and in the last three years the noise is too much. I live on the ground floor and it is really impossible to live in peace and rest at home. On the weekend in addition to everything they took out some ‘speakers’ (horns) to the street and organized a party. That is not right! We have to take care of our neighborhood “Fernández recounted.
The Puerto Rican emphasizes that due to the COVID-19 crisis, she works from home, which forces her to spend 24 hours perceiving all kinds of annoyances, including the “growing fashion” of people who do competition with noisy engines in nearby avenues, whose action triggers the alarms of parked vehicles.
“Everything turns particularly in the evenings and weekends in a disaster. It’s a danger to be running at high speed through these neighborhoods, ”Fernández said.
Neighbors on the verge of “nervous breakdowns”
In the last year the quality of life has worsened, and community members have reported countless incidents that almost ended in fatal collisions, by all types of vehicles. The intersections of Washington Heights and Inwood are usually insecure for drivers and pedestrians alike.
“We have elderly people who live here who end up in the hospital with nervous breakdowns due to those noises that look like explosions. That affects everyone, children, pets, “he denounced Teresa Feliz, 62, a 30-year-old Dominican retiree living on 169th Street with St Nicholas Avenue, who thinks that with the pandemic “everything was upset.”
Meanwhile, Claudia schaer, founder of the coalition Let’s respect the Noise Levels, explained that unfortunately noisy revving engines, deafening altered mufflers that sound like gunshots, and racing are noise sources linked to speeding and reckless driving that they must stop immediately.
Inwood’s neighbor, Mireya Fernández assures that during the pandemic the noise has been worse. (F. Martínez)
FURIOUS Law and SLEEP accelerate
Given the accumulation of complaints and the “Explosion” of calls to 311, of neighbors who see days go by “with their nerves on edge”, this Thursday state senators Robert Jackson, Brad Hoylman, Andrew Gounardes from the 169th Street and Broadway Avenue Inwood they promised they’ll put the throttle on ‘FURIOUS Law‘, which would authorize New York City to operate its speed cameras 24 hours a day, at night and on weekends, in areas that have proven to be hot spots for illegal street racing.
This legislative initiative would also change New York laws that make it difficult to hold brokers accountable for violating those laws, if did not plan and request permits for racing circuits.
Legislators are also pushing that before this summer, the SLEEP Act that would set a limit of 95 decibels for leaks and motorcycle mufflers or 60 decibels for silencers and automobile exhaust systems.
Most strikingly, violating these new traffic regulations would greatly increase the fines for having noisy tailpipes. It would go from $ 125 to $ 1,000.
“I am pleased to have received and worked as a team with leaders and organizations from Upper Manhattan, we must put an end to excessive noise. We must all do our best to ensure that this summer be safer and peaceful than the previous one, “said Senator Jackson, one of the promoters of this double legislation.
Likewise, Senator Hoylman reinforced that New York is on its way to ignite your speed cameras 24 hours a day, the seven days of the week.
“These illegal races put lives at risk and keep us awake at night. While there has been less traffic during the pandemic, some drivers have used this as an opportunity to treat our streets as a NASCAR race track”, Highlighted the legislator representing neighborhoods in Downtown and Lower Manhattan.
Senators led by Robert Jackson rush laws against illegal racing. (Photo: F. Martínez)
It will be easier to sanction the “runners”
The Big Apple’s traffic control camera program is currently limited by law to operate between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm, Monday through Friday only. The FURIOUS Act would authorize the City to operate these speed detectors, which in addition record plates of offending drivers, at any time, in neighborhoods where the community has identified the illegal street racing as a problem.
On April 26, these bills were approved by the Transportation Committee State Senate after months of complaints from residents across New York City about illegal street racing, which were exacerbated according to reports, by the streets cleared by the pandemic.
According to the Traffic Law, racing or speed contests are prohibited without the permission of the state authorities, unless the same be fully patrolled and efficiently during the entire distance over which said race or competition for speed will take place.
This means that if the bill is approved in the next few weeks, traffic officials will have more facilities to issue fines and citations those who commit these crimes.
The candidate to the Municipal Council for the district 10 from Manhattan, Johanna Garcia, He reiterated that noise has become a major public health problem.
“What we need are solutions, without confrontation, so that our neighborhoods can find peace again. The FURIOUS and SLEEP laws they must be approved immediately, to reduce these annoyances. The right of individuals to nights of sleep and security“Said the community leader.
Upper Manhattan neighborhoods are considered the loudest in the Big Apple. (Photo: F. Martínez)
Lower the music!
Although these laws try to put a stop to noise generated by motor vehicles in Upper Manhattan, it is not the only agent generating noise. noise pollution.
The Inwood and Washington Heights Community Board had the higher number of complaints related to noise than any area of Manhattan in 2020.
The balances indicate that between the January 1 and August 3, 17,800 complaints were known about noise in the streets, 3,700 reports about illegal fireworks, 9,100 complaints for noise from residential parties and 4,400 complaints of roaring vehicles.
For this reason, the Working Group Against Noise at ‘WaHi-Inwood’ They are creating a list of solutions that address this problem, among neighbors, school representatives, small business owners, community organizations, and academic experts in environmental noise.
“Unfortunately it is our people. What you hear is merengue, reggeaton and bachata at full volume. We must understand that we live in another country, with other laws. You can’t have music on at 2 in the morning like if you lived on a hill“, She complained Luis Aparicio, 70, a Dominican immigrant residing on 170th Street in Upper Manhattan, who fears that now everything will get worse.
Among the lines of action it is required more inspection points of the New York Police Department (NYPD) on bridges and key points to stop illegal activities of “off-road” motorcycles (ATV’s) What do they mean another problem for these city neighborhoods.
“The Washington Heights and Inwood police headquarters must prevent these prohibited vehicles from circulate through our streets enter our communities. You can start by knowing where they are stored ”, highlights a statement released with 29 Likes For the city.