Chris Carlsson published an SF noise story today in sf.streetsblog.org.
A paragraph regarding critical mass and the sound of bike transport:
“For us cyclists, the sounds of our whirring wheels and gentle gear changes is a pleasant confirmation of our self-propulsion. One of my favorite aspects of Critical Mass is the completely altered soundscape that accompanies our progress through the City. Sure, sometimes we’re hooting and hollering, and there are at least a half dozen folks who might show up with serious sound systems pumping loud tunes into the air (a side note: the SFPD ticketed all the sound systems last month for lack of sound permits in their ongoing war of attrition, trying to literally raise the price for participating in CM). But the majority of time the sound is that of rolling bikes, murmuring voices, tinkling bells, and laughter. It’s such a lovely kind of quiet, full of life and sweet energy, but so different from the anonymous, unaccountable thrumming of machines that fills our ears so often that we frequently stop noticing until they are turned off. And once you’ve ridden through the city in a mass of bicycles, it’s hard not to remember that different urban environment, and wonder why it can’t be more like that all the time.”
The second thing is this SF dept. of Health “Transportation Noise Map” which is quite visually beautiful (to my sensibility anyway) though I question it’s accuracy.
Transportation Noise Map of San Francisco, 2008
Scroll down to “Traffic Noise” and click the thumbnail map to download a PDF version
I haven’t done any digging, and am unlikely to, but I have to assume this is based on modeling not actual measured SPL (that would be far too expensive to accomplish) and I wonder modeled on what data? Strange that South Van Ness – a shade busier than Folsom, two shades less busy than Mission, is red while Mission is hardly even orange. Not sure I want this map to represent the city when it comes to making policy decisions. However if you zoom into the upper right corner, the image does bear some resemblance to the pride flag.
On the noise-complaint front, for better or worse or both, you can look at the inner workings of the SF Noise Task Force.