City councillors voted Wednesday to continue running a pilot program measuring vehicle noise this summer. By the summer of 2019 they hope to have a system that is to noise what photo radar is to speed.
Edmonton bylaw staff are going to use the information they collect this summer to create a method of catching loud vehicles in a sound trap, in the same way lead-footed drivers are caught in a speed trap.
“If they get a ticket mailed to them a week later, that’s what we want,” said Kim Clegg, a member of the Queen Alexandra Community League.
His biggest concern is a bright display indicating a high-decibel reading, like a scoreboard.
“We certainly don’t want something that gives them a reason to say: ‘Hey, how loud can I make my car?’”
Gerry Shimko, the executive director of the Office of Traffic Safety, told council’s community services committee that technology has improved since 2008, the first time city council tried to enforce noise bylaws. At that time, they were limited to motorcycles only. Now, they can include all vehicles.
“Basically, it’s activated when the noise exceeds a threshold and then it’ll capture a video of the allegedly offending vehicle and basically give you an idea of who’s responsible.
“Those are the ones where we can look at learnings to start the process and get drivers to start to understand what they’re doing is disturbing the quality of the communities.”
Councillor Ben Henderson is hoping that after the bugs are worked out, they’ll be able to track and catch the prolific repeat offenders.
“It’s just whether or not we have the mechanisms to understand who’s had a ticket before and check that out when a new ticket comes through. I’m not quite sure why we haven’t been able to do that up until now.”
Councillor Scott McKeen told reporters the intent is to have a program in place, with tickets arriving via mail, by next summer. He’s anticipating the calls and complaining emails will start arriving in his office in two weeks, once spring finally takes hold on city streets.
“I don’t think Henry and Martha will be upset. But Henry and Martha’s son who’s modified his pick-up truck, his car, or his motorcycle to make it really loud, he won’t like that kind of enforcement and frankly, I’m not that worried about him.”
The real problem spots are Groat Road, Jasper Avenue and the High Level Bridge. South of the river, there’s a loop that includes Calgary Trail, Whyte Avenue and University Avenue, which is right outside Clegg’s window.
“I’ve been woken up every third night all summer.”