September 1, 2014
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Chapel Hill: Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago and the home of Northwestern University, is the winner of this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America, for allowing a noisy stationary bike exercise studio, “Revolution Spin,” in a predominantly residential neighborhood. In Evanston, noise is truly spinning out of control.
Margaret Tarr, an African American senior citizen, lives in an Evanston apartment across the street from the Revolution Spin bike exercise studio. She states that “the city of Evanston allowed this business to open in October 2011 in a largely residential neighborhood, with no requirements limiting the noise blasting onto the street–as early as 6:00 am. The Evanston YMCA and Evanston Athletic Club have their stationary bike exercise gyms soundproofed, so that other patrons are not disturbed.”
Tarr notes that she can hear the noise from Revolution Spin in her kitchen, which is at least 110 feet away. She and other residents have made numerous complaints to the Evanston police department since Revolution Spin opened. Tarr has also filed complaints with the 4th ward alderman, the Evanston city manager, the Evanston mayor, the Evanston city council, the Revolution Spin owner, and Kass Management (the building management company). “And yet,” she states, “the noise continues.”
Kelly Ricks, a resident living directly above Revolution Spin, told Kass Management that “it is often extremely difficult to conduct my daily life in peace.” Indeed, “the music and microphones are sometimes loud enough to shake the floors and walls.” During the day, the noise is “loud and persistent enough that it disrupts my ability to think and completely prevents me from working or reading.”
Another Evanston resident, Annette Braden-Rozier, lived across the street from Revolution Spin until April 2014: “During my stay, I was most annoyed by the drill instructor-like shouting coming from Revolution Spin, which goes on for up to 90 minutes. It was especially disruptive on Sunday mornings. I wrote a polite request for window soundproofing to Revolution Spin and their management company. I attached an application form for city funding for storefront improvement. I never got a response. Why should one business be allowed to disturb their neighbors, disregarding all complaints? This is bully behavior, which would not be tolerated in more affluent parts of Evanston.”
Local police and governmental officials have been less than helpful. Despite violating the local noise ordinance on a daily basis, Revolution Spin was only ticketed twice between 2012 and 2014. On July 17, 2014, two Evanston police officers delivered a letter to Ms. Tarr from Evanston police officer Richard Eddington, which stated that city of Evanston staff had measured the decibels of the sounds emitted from Revolution Spin and found the level to be that of “general street noise.” Tarr noted that “the measurement just happened to have been done during a class that is always quiet.”
On July 19, 2014, even more outrageously, the Evanston police department told Margaret Tarr that the police would no longer respond to complaints about the noise from Revolution Spin. This abdication of responsibility means that Evanston residents will have to contact Revolution Spin themselves, without the support of the police.
Ms. Tarr called the Cook County sheriff’s department to see if it would respond to noise complaints, since the Evanston police department refused to do so. She was advised to write to the Cook County State’s Attorney, Anita Alvarez, about the Evanston police department’s refusal to enforce the law, which she did.
On July 21, 2014, Ms. Tarr attended the Evanston city council meeting and read a letter to the mayor, the city council, and the city manager, informing them of the Evanston police department’s refusal to respond to citizens’ complaints about Revolution Spin. She pointed out that the city of Evanston’s assessment was done during a class which is always quiet.
The situation took a turn for the worse on July 29, 2014, when Ms. Tarr received a voicemail from Officer Henderson of the Evanston police, informing her that she was not to go onto the Revolution Spin property and she was not to contact anyone with Revolution Spin. Ms. Tarr was even falsely accused of filing a false police report.
Ms. Tarr commented, “Revolution Spin should not be in a residential area. It should at least have its current location soundproofed. Does the city of Evanston have to be sued before it will enforce its own ordinances about noise?”
Ted Rueter, Noise Free America’s director, stated that “the refusal of the Evanston police to enforce noise ordinances is shocking. They are not protecting the public from harmful and illegal noise. An exercise studio blasting music should not be in a residential area–much less in an apartment building, with no soundproofing. The actions of the Evanston police, Evanston city government, Revolution Spin, and Kass Management are truly outrageous.”
Noise Free America is a national citizens’ organization opposed to noise pollution. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include the Chicago Helicopter Express and the city of Crest Hill, Illinois.