Vehicle noise monitors that encourage more noise ‘reason to discontinue pilot’: Edmonton mayor

Drivers reportedly revving their engines in opposition to Edmonton's vehicle noise measuring monitors. Courtesy: Nadine Callihoo-Hansen

It’s only a couple of weeks into a pilot project to monitor vehicle noise in Edmonton and a lot of people are losing sleep.

Nadine Callihoo-Hansen, who lives on a side street off Fort Road at 132 Avenue, has had it.

Her breaking point was a group of three vehicles parked in the Trail Tire parking lot Sunday night, revving their engines loudly while someone stood outside watching the decibel sign.

Yelling across Fort Road at the trio trying to score a personal best didn’t help.

“They yelled back at us: ‘Call your city official!’ They want us to call and complain,” she told Global News.

Callihoo-Hansen realizes those on the streets are trying to protest — loudly — what will eventually be bylaw enforcement that will see tickets arrive in the mail, much like photo radar, for noise.

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READ MORE: Edmonton monitoring vehicle noise as part of pilot project

That might be enough for Mayor Don Iveson of this pilot project to test sound measuring equipment and judge feedback.

“I know some folks have asked the question: ‘Are we actually encouraging people to make more noise by these?’ If that’s the case, ultimately that would be a reason to discontinue the pilot, in my view.”

After the testing period, there will eventually be enforcement, but no one knows when.

“If the testing meets all the technical requirements and the concept is approved, enforcement could still be a long way off,” Gary Dyck of the Office of Traffic Safety wrote in an email.

“And, in the meantime, those of us who are unfortunate to live on these speedways are going to be woken up at two in the morning with protesters racing up and down,” Callihoo-Hansen said.

Her suggestion is to move the monitors, pick a business district instead of a residential one, or even a block or two south, closer to 129 Avenue would do.

“So that if people want to speed up and down Fort Road with their crotch rockets or their big, mufflered sports cars or whatever, fine,” she said.

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“Do it in front of businesses where kids that aren’t trying to get to sleep or do their homework or people who are elderly or ill don’t have to listen to it and be bothered by it.”

READ MORE: Motorcyclist wins case against noise ticket

LCD signs are located at 124 Street from 118 Avenue to Jasper Avenue, along Victoria Park Road, 99 Street between Whyte Avenue and Whitemud Drive, Fort Road from 66 Avenue to 137 Avenue.

Cameras are also part of the 2018 pilot. They’re located on Jasper Avenue from 109 Street to 124 Street, 114 Street south from 82 Avenue and into Belgravia, Groat Road, 137 Avenue between 97 Street and 127 Street.

The mayor hopes attitudes change.

“When enforcement comes next I think the reaction to the signage will be appropriate, which is ‘I’d better throttle down.’ So remember this is just a first stage of a pilot, the next stage is enforcement.”

“Some of these folks,” he said, shaking his head. “I don’t get the psychology of trying to disrupt people and wake them up and show off. I just don’t understand why people behave that way.”

READ MORE: Edmonton has photo radar-like device to measure noisy vehicles

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City Council would need to approve the necessary bylaw before tickets can be issued, Dyck said. There will likely be some provincial requirements too. Then the city would need to purchase equipment and set up the program.

“We are a long way from enforcement.”

In the meantime, call police, since the city is only allowed to use the monitors and signs to collect data. It is not passed along to the EPS.

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