Views / Edmonton / Urban Compass

Column

Metro News globe

Footnotes

Danielle Paradis explores what makes Edmonton a great city.

Paradis: Nothing ruins a cold beer like drinking it on a patio next to a revving motorcycle

Downtown's an increasingly desirable place to live, but the noise still keeps some up at night.

Jasper Avenue is becoming a cool place to be, but the noise isn't helping, Dani Paradis writes.

Metro file

Jasper Avenue is becoming a cool place to be, but the noise isn't helping, Dani Paradis writes.

For those of us living downtown, summertime means sunshine, patio beers—and irritation. And I’m not talking about the exuberant warm-weather crowd and their penchant for yelling "wooooo.”

My beef is with noisy motorists.

City Council designated Jasper Avenue a Main Street in 2015, and rolled out a series of pilot projects that have made downtown better looking and safer for pedestrians than ever.  

There are now over 32,000 people living downtown and in Oliver. But out-of-control engine noise is still keeps a lot of them up at night.

Ward 6 councillor Scott McKeen has been battling this issue since he was a Journal reporter.

"My email inbox fills up at this time of year with complaints from Ward 6 constituents fed up with the noise from absurd vehicles, modified to make them loud,” he said.

Lots of people complain about loud motorcycles, but he said they’re not the whole problem.  

"No, it's not a motorcycle issue. It is not even a vehicle issue. It is an issue of clownish behaviour by men—almost always men—hopping up their vehicles to make a spectacle of themselves" says McKeen.

McKeen said he hears from residents who are so fed up, they’re packing up and moving out of the downtown core in search of some peace and quiet.

He points out that "one of Edmonton's stated goals is to create a lively and vibrant downtown. Yet we have this roving social disorder that is seriously impacting the quality of life for residents, as well as the experience of visitors to Ward 6 businesses".

A particularly noisy vehicle can disturb a lot of people’s evenings.   

My preference would be for those who like a little vroom vroom to just be thoughtful of their possibly sleeping neighbors at 11 o’clock at night.

But is doesn’t seem like a plea for basic decency is going to work.

All over the country municipalities have sought to ban or restrict motorcycle usage. Trois-Rivieres, In Quebec, went so far as to restrict motorcycle access on rue des Forges, but the city later revoked the restriction.

Meanwhile, in Edmonton there are three levels of noise violation that can land you a $250 ticket. Doesn’t it seem like a waste of police resources to be out chasing noise complaints?

Last year, the City tested out a technology that could map out data for the City and help police focus their resources. There is currently a noise assessment study underway for the city.    

McKeen also asked the report to consider new actions or countermeasures to combat the disruptive vehicle noise.

But I have a novel idea:

We could also identify the homes of noisy vehicle owners and see how they would appreciate a midnight pow wow or drum circle outside their house.

More on Metronews.ca