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Seeking a more silent world

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The noise created by seeming endless traffic is driving our columnist crazy.

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The noise created by seeming endless traffic is driving our columnist crazy. Photo Store

When the rubber hits the road, there is too much sound. Cars driving down the street are incredibly noisy and it seems no one objects to being bombarded with that racket. No one except myself and perhaps a few others.

Where in our homes is that kind of noise level tolerated? It seems, to the poor pedestrian trying to make a short trip to the corner store or going for an evening walk, that this noise is normal, necessary or even important, that all traffic moves in a great big hurry — sound levels be damned. (I could use stronger adjectives. Insane comes to mind.)

We seem to be oblivious to the sound waves we create. A baby wailing away at the top of its lungs is normal, and sometimes even cute!

But is it civilized to expect all city-dwellers to tolerate the extreme sound-waves that are generated when 144 cars go by every 15 minutes with the resultant hubbub, rattle and bang? And we think this is normal? Civilized? A sign of progress? An "everydayish" expected part of life in a metropolis?

I say we have been brainwashed into thinking this is a good thing.

Right now, as far as I know, there is no thought being put to eliminating sound while wheels are in motion. Why not?

If the light-rail trains in Calgary and SkyTrains in Vancouver can travel through the cities almost noiselessly, could our SUVs, semi-trailers, delivery trucks, mail trucks, food delivery vans, school buses and lawnmower tractors be programmed to glide along? Especially in dense neighbourhoods where only one person is in, or on, the vehicle?

When I pick up the daily paper, it is extra-heavy from ads, many of which are car advertisements. What would happen if that money spent on advertising was used to discover a way to make traffic noiseless in this, the 21st century?

On my walk this morning, I counted 11 parked vehicles with different-designed hubcaps. Someone had to design them. Could that person, or persons, be put to work on the problem of noisy emissions?

I predict that discovery alone would really sell cars, if that’s what’s behind all these ads that make my morning paper so heavy.  

Or is my ranting just blowing in the wind?

Bertha Klassen is a community correspondent for Elmwood.

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