James L. Weimer
To the editor:
Upon considering the front-page article of the June 23-24 Daily Journal, titled “Upgrade down the line,” in which it was supposed by some that a joint venture between CSX Transportation and the Louisville and Indiana Railroad would increase the noise level as trains go through cities and towns between Indy and Louisville.
I was at once both amused and skeptical of the reaction in opposition in Greenwood. I have no problem with the various concerns for things which can be expected along the full length of the line, such as traffic tie-ups, possible fire protection delays, etc.; but in Greenwood the noise factor should never be a reason in any of the arguments considered by those in the city governance.
Admittedly, I live about a half-mile west of the rail and unless the wind is from the east, I rarely hear the trains; but there seems little effort by the authorities in noise abatement.
There is no time in 24 hours that the residents of Greenwood are not subjected to noises that are in violation of what, at least used to be, noise ordinances, no matter where they live. There are legitimate noises that come with overgrowth in population and businesses, but the blind eye or deaf ear of those who are given the responsibility of enforcing all noise ordinances when it comes to auto, motorcycle, motor scooters, aircraft and the booming audio systems that rattle the windows of homes, as inconsiderate owners pass by.
This Fourth of July celebration, that raised the ire of more than a few people concerning the explosions really late at night when many people still had to rise early to work on the holiday, was an example of why noise is not a priority with those who are given the task of enforcement of all ordinances.
There is a sign just south of County Line Road on North Meridian Street that threatens motorists with up to $1,000 for violation of a strictly enforced noise ordinance.
I’m told that sign, which has been there many years, was the result of local populace demand, not because it would be enforced any more than anywhere else in the city.
It appears that all noise violations are acted on only if a citizen makes a complaint.
Never mind that having done so, one could run the risk of retaliation from some of the growing number of irrational and vindictive people in any neighborhood. The reason that there seems to be no enforcement, beyond the obviously growing criminality among us to be dealt with, I believe, those who by the very nature of their jobs are youngish, do not, or have not, known what life is like without noise.
They have never experienced “quiet” as a way of life and do not recognize what this old man’s ears once knew and who felt the hand of the law that had the responsibility of quieting even a barking dog without being called to do so.
It seems like law enforcement would consider it a boon to search beneath an automobile that has loud exhausts if not for the noise, then for the possibility of no catalytic converters, which are federal violations. There is one other reason for more noise now, which is not considered by many people I suppose. Many vehicles, both cars and trucks, have less noise suppression than once was mandated.
I am not without knowledge of the manufacture of automotive noise suppression and these seeming compromises in favor of less restrictions on engine performance in the last few years. One bit of humor about noise, there is, I’m told, a very strict rule that model airplanes must have mufflers. I’m not too worried about a few more trains making noise while this city makes no effort to enforce the ordinances now on the books.
Lastly, I suspect that much of any opposition to this railroad venture will come from local elected authorities along the route because little revenue will be realized and they will have to deal with angry citizens. That is the real skepticism here. Any noise from more trains will be less, more often perhaps, but will be shorter in duration.