The sun’s out, and the season of long warm nights is almost here. That invariably brings cruising and vehicle noise to Alki Beach. The city has noise rules, but they’re tough to enforce, Seattle Police say. For more than a year, multiple initiatives have sought to see if something can be done to change that. Local community groups including the Alki Community Council hosted presentations by and discussions with a representative of a group working on new technology, and in the meantime, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold circulated a survey with results that showed the level of concern about the noise problem. She also got an item into the newest city budget requesting a report on the noise-enforcement situation. She released that report in her newest weekly update. You can read it here. In addition to explaining the challenges of enforcing noise rules, the report explains, for the first time, the “new technology”:
In a recent meeting with a community member concerning vehicle noise on Alki, the \ individual shared an emerging technology that could impact the enforcement of vehicle noise. The option utilizes an approach similar to that of automated speed zone cameras. As described, it uses air pressure generated from changes in noise levels to detect excessive noise. Pads or readers on the roadway identify the source vehicle and that vehicle’s license plate is read similar to the existing red light traffic enforcement process.
Should it operate correctly and be validated and accepted, it could operationally function as the automated camera enforcement program does. It would issue the vehicle owner a citation. This concept is early in development, but presents an interesting and innovative approach to the issue of excessive vehicle noise. Such a solution would have to be vetted against both the process and the spirit of the surveillance ordinance, as well as community and city priorities.
So what’s next? Herbold’s update concludes, “My office is currently working with Council Central Staff on follow-up questions for additional detail, and with community on next steps and potential solutions.”