by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, and Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition
The New York Times in a recent column on New York City mayor’s race notes that “quality-of-life issues take on growing importance,” concluding that it is likely that this issue “will be a growing focus in the final stretch of the race.” This article reports on mayoral candidate Scott Stringer’s proposal, named “Hear Our Noise Complaints,” which is aimed at banning nonessential helicopter flights and curbing noisy dirt bikes that have taken over many of New York City’s streets recently. Candidate Ray McGuire has stated that he has a plan to go after illegal fireworks. And Eric Adams said he would “crack down on dirt bikes,” acknowledging that bikes are not only loud, but they are also dangerous. The candidates, says the New York Times, know that quality of life issues are related to safety as well.
For New Yorkers, quality of life issues, especially noise, are already a focus. That is why community groups, such as Stop the Chop NY/NJ, WaHi-Inwood Noise Task Force, and Washington Heights and Inwood for Respectful Decibel Levels, have partnered with state legislators, State Senators Robert Jackson, Brad Hoylman, and Andrew Gounardes to support their legislation calling for increased speed cameras to curb drag racing. It was especially good to see City Council Candidate Johanna Garcia quoted in this press release saying that “noise has become a public health issue.”
As someone who has conducted research and written on the hazards of noise for many years, I call on all the candidates running for public office in New York City to specifically state how they plan to work towards reducing noise. A less noisy New York City will be a safer and healthier New York City!