What's that you say? Speak up, I can't hear you. There's a plan to reduce noise at Memorial Park? Well, why didn't you say so?
Under a plan that would be financed by the Texas Department of Transportation, the city's parks department is weighing whether to allow a large sound-barrier wall in a 2,000-foot swath along the freeway between Washington and the West Loop.
The 16-foot-high wall, which could cost as much as $480,000, could substantially reduce the traffic noise in a popular area near the small, asphalt track and nearby tennis center, parks officials say.
"It would make quite a bit of a difference," said Joe Turner, the city's Parks and Recreation Department director. "This is the piece where we're right on top of the freeway, with a huge concentration of runners and tennis players every day."
The barrier still is in the conceptual stages, as officials work to get input from City Council members and key stakeholders, such as the Memorial Park Conservancy.
Sally Tyler, the conservancy's executive director, said her organization is working with the city but isn't yet sold on the idea. The park's executive committee recently wrote Turner, saying it wants to see designs before passing judgment.
"In lieu of a concrete wall, trees might serve as a natural sound barrier," she said, adding that sound could travel over and around a wall.
Ambivalent to method, that is, not to the benefit. Reducing noise in general, especially near I-10 and 610, is a Good Thing. You may recall there was a lawsuit filed against TxDOT last January over the design of the interchanges at those freeways; the suit alleges that TxDOT did not follow federal regulations for noise abatement. More on that is here. I've also received
this letter (PDF) regarding the noise levels for I-10 near Memorial Park. It's pretty technical - I know I've got a few transportation geeks in my audience; this should be right up your alley. I'm hearing there's going to be a lot more, well, noise, regarding this issue, so stay tuned and we'll see what happens.