Please, City Council, get tough on noisy cars and motorcycles downtown

By Chicago 7 Min Read

It was heartening to read of a proposed ordinance to address a quality of life issue: noise purposely generated by motor vehicles in the city (“Noise cameras would help ticket downtown drivers with loud mufflers under proposed city ordinance” — Nov. 2). 

Operators of cars, trucks and motorcycles inflict an unbelievable amount of intrusion into others’ lives when they operate modified muffler systems as well as window-shaking sound systems through neighborhoods throughout the day and often into the early morning hours. 

I’m stumped as to any rationale behind the drivers’ motivations. Are they so desperately in need of attention — even the negative type — or do they wish to add a degree of misery into other people’s lives to match their own?

Our society needs to increase the degree of individual responsibility for our actions. A starting point would be to implement technology to perhaps enhance the concept of accountability.

Both the reviled speed cameras and these potential noise scanners can begin that process. Full disclosure: I’ve been dinged four times by speed cameras and deserved many others, so I can speak with some degree of experience.

Certainly, CPD has more pressing issues, but this would be a start to enhance life in our neighborhoods.

Dwain Thomas, River North

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Loud cars, motorcycles roar on purpose

I would invite any alderman who is opposed to noise cameras to spend a night in my home next summer, or any warm evening in the spring or fall. The loud roars they will hear will quickly disabuse them of the notion that the noise is caused by poor people who can’t afford a new muffler.

Motorcycle clubs gather in groups of hundreds on otherwise calm nights to roar down Michigan Avenue and DuSable Lake Shore Drive, doing wheelies, going up on the sidewalks and making life very unpleasant for the many residents who call downtown their home.

If it’s not the motorcycles, it’s young men loudly gunning their motors at every stoplight, then peeling away, making as much noise as possible. ”Look at Me! Look at Me! I’m a Badass!” they seem to say. Can they afford a new muffler? Maybe if they sold the speakers in their trunks. Downtown residents have been complaining about this unnecessary noise for years. Finally— finally — a suggestion has been made that just may help.

Sharon Novickas, South Loop

‘From the river to the sea’

One would think that an article headlined, “What does ‘From the river to the sea’ mean to Palestinians, Jews?” (Oct. 29) would provide a balanced look at what this charged term means. Instead, most of the article quotes people who are engaged in revisionist history or have no understanding of the phrase’s implications.

“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” is problematic, in part, because it is not only a call to arms for Palestinian activists but it’s also a rallying cry for terrorist groups like Hamas. Despite the disingenuous, see-no-evil denials by Palestinian sympathizers, the phrase’s meaning is unambiguous.

“From the river to the sea” calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state that spans from the banks of the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. The only way that could occur is through Israel being erased from the map.

As the Translate Hate glossary from American Jewish Committee notes, there is nothing antisemitic about criticizing Israel. However, it points out that “calling for the elimination of the Jewish state, praising Hamas or other entities who call for Israel’s destruction, or suggesting that the Jews alone do not have the right to self-determination, is antisemitic.” The right to self-determination, I should add, to live in what is the ancestral homeland for most of the world’s Jews.

To ascribe any other meaning to the phrase is to ignore the reality of not only 75 years of conflicts between Israel and its enemies but also of the tenor of protests around the country that are not only anti-Israeli but often antisemitic as well.

Sarah van Loon, regional director, American Jewish Committee

A better way to recycle

I am an avid recycler, but I question our city’s expenditure on the blue bin program. Single-stream recycling programs, like the blue bin program where materials are mixed, result in contamination and the need for expensive sorting.

From what I see in my own alley, people are throwing materials into blue bins that aren’t even recyclable. Chicago has a current three-year contract for four out of its six zones with LRS for $79.6 million. This is money that could be better spent on other needs. Our city would be better served with voluntary drop-off centers that accept presorted clean recyclable materials.

Kenneth Golub, Lake View

Dreading time change

I always dread the change to standard time. Suddenly, it is dark at 4:30 p.m. and I’m driving or walking the dog in the gloom. Why? What’s the advantage? Winter is hard enough, without adding this additional challenge.

The time change itself is annoying and disruptive. Yes, it is a bit darker in the morning, but it’s usually dark on winter mornings anyway — and most people are not out and about at 6 a.m.

The Senate passed the Sunshine Act some years ago, but it languishes in the House. It is a bipartisan bill that benefits most people, the economy, and the country and costs nothing to implement.

Why isn’t this happening? Why do we have to go through another long, dark winter when there is an easy fix?

Carol Kraines, Deerfield

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