April 1, 2019

Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet

For immediate release

Greg Koby
[email protected]

David Sheridan
[email protected]

Ted Rueter
[email protected]

Chapel Hill: San Luis Obipso, California, an otherwise gorgeous community half-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet for allowing an avalanche of noise from motorcycles, loud car stereos, dirt bikes, and leaf blowers. While San Luis Obispo is home to a near-perfect climate, seven mountain peaks, and nearby beaches, the city’s noise levels render it “paradise lost.”

David Sheridan, a 43-year resident of San Luis Obispo, commented that “SLO’s noise issue is the challenge of living among 25,000 Cal Poly students. I used to live across the street from the university but in 1995 I escaped to 20 acres five miles outside of town. I work as a locomotive engineer and must sleep at odd times of the day. Noise has always made that difficult. It is mostly quiet where I am now, but after 23 years in rural SLO, I discovered there are two types who move to the country. One seeks quiet and privacy. The other wants a motorcycle track and a shooting range. Today, my neighbors are among the former but it takes only one property sale and I could have a gun range and dirt bike track next door. “

“The noises that plague me,” says Sheridan, “are guns, motorcycles, and dirt bikes. Unfortunately, it is legal to shoot outside the city. Dirt bikes are my biggest complaint. I feel my heart rate increase whenever I hear them in the distance. Awful! Harleys with modified exhaust mufflers are a problem in town whenever some aged idiot cruises up and down Higuera and Marsh Streets. These olds guys remind me of kids putting cards in the spokes of their bicycles. To what end? A 10 year-old seeks this attention, but a 60 year-old?!”

Greg Koby, a San Luis Obispo resident, says that “noise pollution is at epidemic levels. It’s happening so often that it’s being normalized. People are frustrated that calls to the police effect no permanent change. Some are too afraid to speak out; some call it ‘noise terrorism.’ Local government refuses to take the emergency actions required.”

In San Luis Obispo, states Koby, “Cars and motorcycles use illegal and dangerous after-market mufflers. Boom cars use dangerous sub-woofers and speaker systems that threaten permanent hearing loss for passers-by. The constant sleep disruption has short-term and long-term health effects. This a contributing factor to upsurge in violence in this country.”

“Live elsewhere?” asks Koby. “I’m low-income; my choices are severely limited. In town, heavy bass pollution happens everywhere, including parking garages, the art museum, community meetings, and walking down the street.”

According to Koby, “Oprah got it wrong. This town is a noise hell. I’m counting down the months, weeks, and days until I finally move.”

Ted Rueter is the director of Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet and is a former San Luis Obispo resident. He states that he “loves everything about SLO—except the noise. Downtown is full of thunderously loud motorcycles and booming car stereos. Also, the city is overrun with gas-powered leaf blowers. SLO officials should take strong action against these sources of unnecessary, harmful noise.”

Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet is a national citizens’ organization devoted to noise reduction. San Luis Obispo also “won” the Noisy Dozen award in April 2004.