by Amby Sarabia
A recent report issued by the cities of La Verne and Claremont shows that while most residents sleep, those near the 210 Freeway are kept awake by a sound level that exceeds state approved levels.
Unhappy residents close to the year-old freeway extension hope the report spurs CalTrans to do what is needed mitigate the noise they say has diminished their quality of life.
These residents have been working with authorities from both cities to try to find a solution to the noise problem.
Elliot Barkan, a professor at Cal State San Bernardino and self-described victim of the freeway noise, organized Citizens Against Freeway Noise soon after the 210 was completed one year ago.
“The noise has affected the quality of life,” said Barkan. “The noise level is greater than we were led to believe.”
Since the building of the freeway, nearby residents have resorted to sleeping with their windows closed, installing double-paned windows and putting in extra insulation.
“Double-paned windows are expensive and people want to sleep with their windows open at night,” said Jay Winderman, committee member.
Winderman is also an engineer, one of the three engineers in CAFN. The committee also includes a lawyer.
Together the team has researched ways to decrease the noise level. They have joined with the La Verne and Claremont City Councils to ensure that their opinions and findings are taken into consideration.
“It is CAFN and the City of Claremont, not CAFN against the City of Claremont,” said Winderman.
As an engineer, Winderman has worked alongside his committee members to gather information regarding freeway noise levels and what can be done to fix it.
Through research, Winderman and the committee have come up with an answer: rubberized asphalt.
“We are looking to get the freeway paved in Claremont first, since the organization was based there,” he said. “If you ask for too much you may not get anything.”
To further this cause, the committee, along with the cities of Claremont and La Verne, prepared a study on the noise impact. The committee and city will present the results to CalTrans representatives in Claremont.
The presentation discusses the complaints issued by residents, the fundamental issues, noise level measurements and finally a recommended course of action, as stated by the State Route 210 Freeway Draft Noise Impact Assessment.
“We received a verbalized agreement from CalTrans that if we can come up with the money to fund the program they will repave the freeway,” said Winderman.
After much research the committee found that many of the sound walls in the study area have gaps or landscaping holes, as stated by the State Route 210 Freeway Draft Noise Impact Assessment.
Included in the study were recommendations such as having all the gaps and holes sealed in the sound holes, higher sound walls built, police agencies enforce posted speed limits and other regulations which impact highway noise levels.
“The continuous sound can drive people crazy,” said Winderman.
The committee members are hoping that the results will convince CalTrans to re-pave the freeway, which will soften the repercussions of the newly built freeway.