‘My ears are being assaulted:’ Noise walls coming for some Cambridge residents, but not others | TheRecord.com

2022-04-24 07:37:23 By : Mr. Lynn Gao

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CAMBRIDGE — Residents who find road noise unbearable will get a $2-million wall to protect them, after their complaints exposed flawed noise studies where Franklin Boulevard was recently extended.

The noise barriers are expected to be installed next year on both sides of Franklin between Bloomington Drive and the south boundary of Cambridge

Regional councillors approved installation after a new study showed average traffic noise will exceed a 60-decibel threshold in backyards by 2031.

Earlier studies conducted in 2007 and in 2011 projected lesser road noise. But after neighbours complained, a reassessment found that past studies underestimated traffic volumes, mismeasured distances, and input wrong numbers.

The 60-decibel threshold to install a noise wall is roughly equivalent to the sound of two people conversing.

The decision means noise protection for dozens of homes on Draper Court, Yeaman Drive, and Bailey Drive.

“I’m glad they did it,” said Michael Eccles, of Bailey Drive. But it bothers him he’ll have to wait another year for protection.

Sometimes it sounds like there’s a jet engine inside his house, he told councillors.

“It affects numerous activities inside my home that I think many of us take for granted,” he said. “These include watching television or a movie, reading a book, sitting down for a meal with my family, having a conversation in my backyard.”

Other frustrated residents will not get immediate help to dampen road noise from McQueen Shaver Boulevard, a new road that opened last October.

A reassessment has found that backyard road noise will remain below the 60-decibel threshold by 2031 for traffic-adjacent homes on Birkinshaw Road and Langlaw Drive.

Residents were told last week that road noise may eventually exceed 60 decibels if regional council sends more trucks onto McQueen Shaver to divert them from downtown Cambridge. A truck diversion study is underway.

Councillors have voted to reconsider noise walls on McQueen Shaver pending the outcome of the truck diversion study.

“We’re responsible for some form of quality of life,” Coun. Helen Jowett said. Residents have complained to her about road noise and “I have heard some pretty good horror stories.”

Susan Shackleton is pleased that noise protection may eventually be approved but is disappointed that “it’s going to be another summer or two before anything is going to be resolved.”

She spoke emotionally to councillors about how road noise has degraded her life on Langlaw Drive.

Her home bordered on a field for almost three decades. Today it backs onto a busy road. She struggles to spend more than an hour in her backyard where she has a garden and a deck and bird feeders.

“I cannot do it for very long because the noise is so loud,” she told councillors. “I’m not going to be able to enjoy my backyard this summer.”

Her voice quivered as she spoke to councillors about the strain.

“My ears are being assaulted, and my brain is being assaulted, daily. And it’s really, really frustrating me, and giving me anxiety,” she said.

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