Introducing the Sound Facts About Soundwalls series

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Engineering studies for possible soundwalls along parts of SR-24 in the Rockridge area have been included on the final list of the Caldecott Fourth Bore Settlement projects. The subject of soundwalls in Rockridge has a long history, and has generated much discussion and many questions over the years. To determine whether these sound wall projects will continue to move forward, residents of affected parts of Rockridge will be polled for their opinions.

To help inform community discussion, the Rockridge Community Planning Council (RCPC) board is starting an outreach and educational initiative centered around a series of articles in The Rockridge News. The group will also organize community meetings for further discussion. RCPC seeks to provide a context for — and accurate information about — the characteristics, performance, and costs and benefits of soundwalls, before any residents are asked to make binding decisions about whether the walls should or should not be installed.

These articles will explore topics relevant to noise pollution and its mitigation including: tutorials on sound and hearing; noise and its measurement; socioeconomic, psychological, and physiological effects of noise; surface traffic and traffic noise; local, state, federal, and international guidelines for regulating noise; noise control, suppression, and mitigation; what soundwalls do and do not do, and how they do it; what soundwalls might look like, and what they might cost; a brief history of soundwall issues in Rockridge; and a description of the soundwall public process moving forward.

The articles will be edited and abridged for publication in The Rockridge News in subsequent months. Fuller and somewhat more technical versions will be posted as fact sheets on the RCPC website for readers' further review.

We will try to address your concerns in this series. If you have any specific questions or comments about soundwalls or noise pollution, please contact the RCPC board via info@rockridge.org or The Rockridge News via editor@rockridge.org.