Herbold: Alki vehicle noise enforcement
District 1 City Councilmember Lisa Herbold offers a report on enforcement of loud vehicles on Alki Ave SW, especially during the summer months.
In the Seattle Police response they note the problems with attempting to enforce the law in these matters. The SPD response says in part, "First, the ordinance requires that the initial complainant is not a police officer. This negates the ability for on-view enforcement. Second, the sound must be recorded by a noise meter to show that the noise (usually a loud muffler on a motorcycle or loud music from an enhanced stereo system) is above a certain decibel range for a period of time. Noise meters also require proof of calibration. Currently, police officers do not carry noise meters. The time component – even if officers had noise meters – would make it difficult to enforce given other law enforcement priorities. Public Health does have noise meters."
"Last summer my office worked with residents of Alki and adjacent neighborhoods to develop the Alki Public Safety and Health Survey. The results of this survey showed clear community concerns regarding vehicle noise and cruising, and were used to develop a budget action in November requesting that the Seattle Police Department submit a report to the Council on their enforcement policies with respect to vehicle noise and cruising in the Alki neighborhood during the warm-weather months, and identify possible solutions. The budget action also notes that other neighborhoods, such as Fauntleroy and the Downtown/Belltown corridor.
The Council received the response on March 16. Here’s a link to the response.
The SPD memo notes SPD has historically provided extra patrol officers during the warm weather months in the Alki neighborhood; it further notes that current laws regarding noise and cruising can be difficult to enforce, and that possible adjustments could improve SPD’s ability to enforce. For example, the memo says that the language in the municipal code specific to vehicle muffler noise is vague, and that the initial complaint cannot come from an officer. The memo also notes ordinances in Bellevue and Kirkland relating to vehicle and watercraft noise audible more than 50-75 feet from the source, and notes that the King County Auditor is reviewing the effectiveness of the King County Noise ordinance, and will share results upon completion, estimated for the end of June. It also notes the potential for technological solutions in development by private parties for noise enforcement, similar to automated speed zone cameras.
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.
Yes there are officers walking Alki in the summer. But just have one for a week on 63rd SW between Alki and beach drive giving out tickets for speeding. Good money for the city and maybe the offenders will get a clue.
I totally agree with Ann. Speeding on Alki Ave is not the problem. There is too much traffic to speed.. Speeding and noise related to speeding on 63rd SW is a major problem. Someone is going to get hurt.
Speeding IS an issue on Alki and so is noise from obnoxious car and motorcycle exhaust and stereos.