For a small city, Providence is often surprisingly loud. The Noise Project is an all-volunteer, resident-driven non-profit organization seeking to better understand and address the culture of noise in the city, including excessive sound levels from such common sources as:

  • Vehicles with modified exhaust systems deliberately designed and installed to amplify (rather than suppress) engine noise
  • Over-amplified music (65+ dB) from vehicles, houses, and commercial entertainment venues
  • Operating off-road motorcycles and other ATVs without mufflers on city streets
  • Setting off illegal fireworks in residential neighborhoods, especially late at night
  • Leafblowers, using car horns as “doorbells” to summon people from houses, commercial trucks, car alarms, broadcasting cellphones through car speakers, emergency-vehicle sirens, etc.

Noise pollution is first and foremost a public health issue, as well as an environmental and environmental justice issue. We’d like to hear how Providence residents experience noise in the city, and how they think it should be addressed — if you live in the city, please take our Community Noise Survey or contact us.

“It’s hard to avoid the noise when, in the case of loud music, the bass resonates throughout my whole house at times. … Perhaps some diplomatic group could pay a visit to the offending residents and inform them that they’re not the only ones living in their neighborhoods, and that having almost nightly parties with loud music is grossly inconsiderate to those around them.”
— George, Reservoir Triangle

“Gesler Street is where many people park while partying on Atwells Ave., and because of that we get people having after-parties in their cars, smoking and [doing] whatever else to continue the party. They can continue until 3:00 a.m. or later. It is definitely not safe to confront intoxicated people who are clearly not considerate enough to keep the volume down in their cars at 2:30am.”
— Self-identified Latino resident of Federal Hill

“When talking to the noise makers, I get lip. When talking to the police about it, I get kind discouragement. ‘There’s not much to be done about it,’ I am told.”
— Mount Hope resident

“It is absurd that motorcyclists with straight-pipe [exhausts] are not instantly fined. Also, if the police set up on Angell Street on any summer night with technology that measured noise levels, they could [cite] so many motorcyclists that excellent school programs could be funded. The same thing with [stereo] ‘subwoofers’. If we don’t have the technology, let’s buy it. It would pay for itself in no time. Last time I checked, there was not one single [citation] for vehicle noise, even though it has become a shocking deterrent to living a peaceful life on the East Side of Providence.”
— Wayland resident

“It’s absolutely ridiculous. I can’t sleep: It keeps me up at night. I tried earplugs and ended up with an ear infection. … Something needs to be done. The police are usually very responsive and send someone out, but the second they leave, the residents turn the music back up. There needs to be stiff fines and penalties. The noise from someone in their car or house should not be able to drown out the airconditioner / TV / fan in my home half a mile away.”
— Self-identified Asian resident, Lower South Providence

“With respect to cars and motorcycles with loud engines, sometimes associated with speeding, or loud music blaring from automobiles, it’s not about stopping individual incidents, it’s about enforcement and ticketing. This is a city-wide issue. Solidarity on this issue and enforcement of the law is key, as well as a campaign that makes this kind of behavior less ‘cool’.”
— Mt. Hope resident

“[It’s] mainly loud exhausts from cars and ATVs / motorcycles throughout the city and down on I-95”
— Self-identified Asian / Pacific Islander resident of Smith Hill

“It is frustrating when we call or report to the police department about neighbors’ constant house parties, loud music, drunk people screaming and fighting near to our bedroom and they don’t do anything about it.”
— Self-identified Latina resident, Peace Street

“Noise cameras! Issue tickets to obvious noise offenders with ear-deafening loud cars and motorcycles.”
— Fox Point resident

“My biggest issue is fireworks. Last year was enough to make me not want to live here anymore.”
— West End resident

“The vast majority of noise comes from incredibly loud car speakers playing music and motorcycles engaging in engine-revving contests outside my apartment. This is disruptive for everyone, and not only are the noise levels bothersome but they often also cause physical pain to my ears. I also live on the top (fourth) floor of my building — I can’t imagine what it would be like to live on the lower floors or work in the storefronts below.”
College Hill resident

“27% of the respondents at SpeakOuts noted that the ‘noise levels, especially along Broad Street, are too loud. Too much noise is coming from the music at night clubs.’ Also, ‘the noise levels along Highway 95 can be extraordinarily loud’.”
— West Elmwood / 02907 Health Equity Zone (HEZ) report, Oct. 2020

“Bars and restaurants close at 2:00 a.m. and rowdy folks empty out into the streets. I am constantly woken up by these folks.”
— Federal Hill resident

“What’s being done about cars blaring their music all hours? Police should be enforcing [noise limits], it is the worst form of noise pollution. People have to keep their windows closed in summer/spring and even then can’t sleep. You can hear the sound rattle windows.”
— West End resident

“It’s been horrible. The windows shake. I hate it. I’m moving.”
— Elmwood resident

“When the house parties are going until 3:00 a.m. I get no sleep and need to get up for work. I am stressed all week and start feeling nervous as the weekends approach. Sometimes I pray for rain during the summer so they cannot blast their music outside. The loud music and the lack of police citations really gets me frustrated, feeling helpless and anxious.”
— Self-described African-American resident at Branch and Charles Streets

“People playing loud music should be given tickets in the hundreds per offense committed. Once their pockets begin to hurt, they’ll think twice about doing it again. Many of them say that ‘Listening to [loud] music is not a crime,’ meaning that they don’t even know the ordinances of the city of Providence.”
— Self-identified Latina resident, Lower South Providence

“Loud music from passing cars is startling and auditory [assault].”
— Resident near Harold and Berkeley Streets, Valley

“My house is tiny and my little yard is my fifth ‘room.’ I resent not being able to use and enjoy it, and especially having the birds drowned out in the morning. I am planting more noise-buffering shrubs and small trees, but without mitigation of the sources, it’s a losing battle.”
— Fox Point resident

“Our councilman is great, but the noise is steadily increasing. The police rarely come, and when they do, there’s nothing they can do. Our building is a condo building with 24 units and everyone complains, from younger people to older. The noise is from motorcycles, bars, clubs, and goes up to 92 db (measured). We feel completely helpless about this. My wife (who’s much younger than me) and I have had to go for psychological help for anxiety, and we were told that the only solution is to move, but we don’t have the finances or desire for that.”
— Resident at Empire and Westminster Streets

“Uphold the rule that garbage trucks cannot operate at unreasonable hours [5:00 a.m.]”
— Wayland Square resident

“I love hearing the fabric of the neighborhood. When some neighbors take it too far and are extremely loud for extended periods of time, they are borrowing from my own peace. I needed to redecorate my house so that I had bookshelves and thick canvas on any exterior walls to try and create a noise buffer. I cannot afford new windows. It’d be great to have noise meters to collect information, but then we should plan to [implement both] passive and active noise-reducing elements in the city … Individuals are loud and careless because the city itself is loud with traffic, horns, and a drinking / nightclub culture in some neighborhoods and college areas. If we helped there, we wouldn’t need to punish individuals.”
— Federal Hill resident

“City ‘noise ambassadors’ might work. Remind late-night people going to their cars that people are sleeping in the neighborhood. A great job for college kids to have.”
— Federal Hill resident

“The main sources of noise is this neighborhood are leafblowers, cars playing loud music, and delivery vehicles (mostly Amazon) playing loud music.”
— Mount Hope resident

“The noise is intolerable! These establishments do not comply with city regulations; no noise should be heard from outside the establishment. The residents in the area have been complaining for years, yet nothing gets resolved.”
— Gary, Federal Hill

“I’m at my wits end!!”
— Washington Park resident

“Please ban leaf blowers before 8:00 a.m.! They are a nuisance.”
— Mount Pleasant resident

“Motorcycles, ATVs, and loud car stereos make the most noise on our narrow residential street. Even though the street planters were meant to slow down traffic, it seems these drivers take the planters as a challenge to speed up once they have driven through a narrow stretch.”
— Resident at Messer and Westminster Streets, Armory District

“When police come and just ask them to turn it down, and then leave after warning, [the noise-making residents] turn the music on again low and then slowly turn it up high again. They need to fine the people doing this over and over — it’s basically the same handful of people. Start fining people after the first warning. I’m sure that will cure it.”
— Upper South Providence resident

“Se debe orientar más a la persona y sus efectos.”
— Self-identified Latino resident of Charles Street

“As soon as the [the weather gets warm] the dirt bikes come out. From College Hill you can hear the bikes make loops from Thayer Street to Gano Street to the highway and South Main. It sounds like you are sitting inside a race track. It’s time to move from proving that there’s a noise issue to finding solutions.”
— College Hill resident

“The volume of music is so bad that you [can feel] the bass vibration in your chest much of the time the music is on …. They should have sweeps like they did for fireworks, where they have a dedicated team for noise complaints and ticketing”
— Ophelia Street resident, Hartford

“18-wheelers that shouldn’t be in a residential area — [especially] with a ‘No Trucks’ sign!”
— North End / Charles resident

“I got so fed up with the noise, especially the loud music from cars and exhausts, that I am moving out of Providence. There are things I love about Providence, but I couldn’t take it any more.”
— Self-identified Latino resident, Federal Hill

“The firecrackers and the loud music was worse than ever this summer. My husband and I have lived here for 30 years. Today there is one or more new additions to our torment: extremely loud ATVs roaring up and down the street. It boggles the mind that this is allowed in Providence.”
— Smith Hill resident

“It’s so frustrating that nothing seems to be done about noise pollution. I’ve lived in big cities all around the world — in California, Germany, England, and the Czech Republic — and I have never heard so much noise pollution in my life.”
— Fox Point resident

“Noise / acoustic cameras at strategic points seem to be the best solution for motorcycles and cars with illegal exhaust mods and overly loud sound systems, with fines issued automatically so that the police are not burdened and enforcement does not endanger the riders. There needs to be consistent messaging and development of tactics, and consistent enforcement so that it is clear that Providence does not tolerate excessive noise.”
— Fox Point resident

“I’m not sure there’s a way to report complaints about car exhausts and stereos since there are many.”
— Mount Pleasant resident

“I want to help … reduce air, noise, and traffic pollution in Olneyville …”
— 2020 Ward 15 City Council candidate Casandra Inez

“Loud car music and trucks going down Wickenden Street often drown out [what I’m listening to].”
— Fox Point resident

“It’s getting worse — noise ordinances continue to be ignored without consequences.”
— Wayland resident

“Congress and the federal government must establish new programs to better measure the environmental and public health consequences of exposure to high levels of noise”
— Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA)

“Please measure noise, enforce ordinances, and assign consequences.”
— Elmhurst resident at College Road and River Ave

“[We have made] many ignored / unanswered requests for speed bumps on Killingly Street, which is used like a drag strip at night. We have good laws; we have no enforcement, at least around here”
— Valley resident

“Please help — I can’t stand [the noise]. It’s the only thing I hate about living in Providence.”
— West End resident

“The [noise] ordinance is strong, but is not enforced.”
— College Hill resident

“I get very frustrated that I can’t leave my windows open on a beautiful summers night [and] when I have to sleep on the couch in another room. The loud thumping music goes right through you and shakes our houses. I hear this thumping all over Providence. … I see cars with huge speakers in the back seat and trucks driving around just blasting music. We are all on edge. I have neighbors who have moved or are going to move out of the North End because of drug dealing and loud music. My neighbor’s two-year-old said, ‘Mommy, music too loud’.”
— Self-described Latino resident on the East Side

“I work late and [leafblowers] keep waking me up at 8:00 a.m. Additionally, there are no leaves on the ground right now, so they are not fulfilling any function at the moment other try an blowing around some dust.”
— Wayland resident

“Gas-powered leafblowers and edge trimmers are horrifically loud and toxic to humans, animals, and the natural world. They must be banned or replaced by battery-powered equipment. Limit the times of year when leafblowers can be used.’
— East Side resident

“House parties at 177 Lexington Ave. from afternoon until [early] morning — more than 12 hours — with loud music, screaming people, and people all over the yard and street.”
— Elmwood resident

“There are too many cars with loud exhausts and cars blasting music.”
— Federal Hill resident

“Every night I hear people driving by with their windows down blasting awful music because they think they are so cool. I don’t remember the last night I haven’t heard some jackass doing this, and it is usually 9:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. It wakes me up frequently even when I wear headphones.”
— Federal Hill resident

“The music blasting from vehicles at all hours is ABHORRENT, and it seems as though absolutely nothing is being done about it. What good is an ordinance if it’s not ENFORCED? Also, people in this town do not properly control their dogs’ excessive barking. … I deeply regret purchasing a home in Providence. Though we’ve been here for only 1.5 years, I will be putting the house back on the market as soon as it’s financially feasible for me to do so.”
— Elmhurst resident

“Every Spring and Summer the landscapers use gas-powered leafblowers to move debris from [my apartment building] parking lot, the sidewalks, and even public streets. It does not remove debris — it just moves it out of sight onto the grass area, and generates a lot of unnecessary noise and air pollution.”
— West End resident

“Increase Board of Licenses [BOL] enforcement of existing noise laws. … The BOL has no decibel-level meters and does not investigate noise violations.”
— Federal Hill resident

“There’s no need for gas-powered leafblowers. There should be an ordinance requiring quieter, electrical blowers and financial assistance to landscapers to make the transition.”
— Elmhurst resident

“Noise pollution is a huge problem, especially people playing loud music at night.”
— Self-described Latino resident, Federal Hill

“Gas-powered leafblowers should be abolished for several reasons — pollution and noise. Also, some developers are negatively impacting formerly peaceful neighborhoods by purchasing homes and creating ‘mini-dorms’ when there are actually laws in place that could prevent this. They make huge profits, while students wind up spending just as much rent and the peaceful enjoyment of neighbors is impacted.”
— College Hill resident

“So many inconsiderate residents. Bad actors know that there will be little or no punishment, so the bad behavior continues.”
— Wanskuck resident

Noise is “especially annoying in spring and summer [because] we have to close our windows — and even then the music is too loud — or the motorcycles can still be heard. … In residential areas, have fines for cars with blaring music. The cops can’t be everywhere, but if it hits people in the pocketbook, they stop. Same with houses who have music overnight in residential areas. As to leafblowers, they have to be banned outright. People over-use them anyway.”
— Blackstone resident

“Noise affects my hearing, mood, and health. The street is quiet otherwise, but leafblowers and to some extent other lawncare activities are unbearable — a few neighbors use landscaping services, and it seems like every day for months they start early in the morning and go for hours.”
— Resident at Vassar and Elmgrove Streets

“The day will come when man will have to fight noise as inexorably as cholera and the plague.”
— Nobel Prize-winning bacteriologist Robert Koch

“The dirtbikes and cars without mufflers wake me up every single night. I have not slept through the night since moving here.”
— Fox Point resident

“The new changes to the 6/10 [connector] should include noise-absorbing walls, like other states.”
— Olneyville resident

“These attention-seeking immature high school drop-out losers shake my apartment with their music and scare the hell out of my pets with their mufflers. I moved here one year ago and the quality of [life] in this city is concerning. … I sit at the park and all I hear are obnoxious cars while I try to relax. For a small city it seems less controlled than Boston. The city needs some class and a lot of help.”
— Federal Hill resident

“I expect some fireworks noise in June and July, but fireworks noise can get out of hand. And at times, it’s not only the volume [level] of music that is offensive, but also the content. Excessively loud music that blasts offensive lyrics (f-bombs, misogynistic language, etc) produces a lot of anxiety, disgust, and anger in me. I hate that my elderly neighbors and neighbors with children have to hear it.”
— Hartford resident

“I have found that the gas-powered leafblowers have been the most offensive lately, because they are so loud and used for a long time. I also find that the noise in the middle of the night is caused by speeding police vehicles” using sirens.
— Elmhurst resident

“The ATVs are very noisy, this past summer [there were] fireworks most nights, and loud music being played on Mashapaug Pond”
— John, Reservoir Triangle

“When there is loud music after midnight I call the police and they show up right away.”
— Self-identified Latino resident of Lower South Providence

“Ban gas-powered leaf blowers, stop garbage trucks and other city service trucks from operating so early (5:00 a.m.), and write into Waste Management’s contract they will be fined if they ignore noise laws.”
— Blackstone resident

“The traffic noise is bothersome but goes away fast, the concert noise (music from outdoor venues) goes on for hours. People say [I should] sell the house and move away. The concert promoter offered to send me to a restaurant of her choice on concert nights.”
— Fox Point resident

“As far as I can see, [the police] can see and hear illegal noise activity happening and don’t enforce the law. More noise pollution training for them is necessary.”
— Downtown resident

“The noise is bad enough that we frequently consider moving out of the state to get away from it.”
— Downtown resident

“Highway noise, especially loud exhausts, [and] idling cars nearby with loud modified exhausts, which is more aggravating because they sit there for 20 minutes, especially in winter. Also, music from the Bold Point Park concert venue all summer is anxiety provoking, especially the pounding bass drum and bass guitar.”
— Fox Point resident

“I like cities and don’t mind the regular hum of city noise. I’ve lived in DC, NYC, and LA and this is the loudest noise environment I have ever experienced. … Abating leafblowers would be a big help alone, and restricting idling trucks would also help. … THANK YOU for organizing and surveying residents.”
— Mount Hope resident

“Educate people on the effects of noise on people in their own community. Let people know that what they do matters and can be detrimental to those around them.”
— Federal Hill resident

“I think music from cars is the main source of noise. Seems like traffic stops would be the only way to make people stop playing it so loud.”
— Smith Hill resident

“More needs to be done about noise. Living above a bar in Luoungo Square was quieter than living on Adelaide Avenue. [I suggest increased use of] speed bumps, re-directing traffic (one-way streets), removing traffic lights, banning large semi-trucks on residential streets, and noise detecting cameras, as they have in NY City.”
— Self-identified African-American / black resident of Elmwood

“Closing windows, going inside, going to a quieter room, earplugs, even wearing $100 noise-cancelling headphones have almost no effect because the music is so loud.”
— West End resident

“People who honk instead of texting a person to come out or ringing a doorbell – how can we get them to stop? A neighbor was running a daycare out of her house where all the parents honked for their kids, while waking up my napping baby … and just being so disruptive and distracting. And car alarms — why? No one hears one and thinks a car is being broken into.”
— Mt. Pleasant resident

“Often, city residents are expected to ‘put up’ with, or tolerate, noise nuisances simply because they choose to live in a city. This position is flawed in two ways: It assumes that 1) everyone who does in fact live in a city can afford to live elsewhere, but chooses not to, and 2) noise nuisances are unavoidable or incurable in an urban environment. I wholly disagree with the premise that nothing can be done towards mitigating noise nuisances and noise pollution.”
— Statement by 2020 candidate for Ward 15 City Council Doris De Los Santos

“Events [requiring noise permits] should have decibel limits, and these should account specifically for the way low frequencies travel far from the source.”
— Elmhurst resident

“I feel I have no support from police or city officials when I complain about a house that has been playing loud music for the last 4 years … With the new mega speakers and the disrespect of more loud house parties all day and night, citations need to be given.”
— Resident at Flora and Ashton Streets, North End

“[My] apartment only faces the dog park, no big deal, and the entrance to the Henderson Bridge, where the motorcycles accelerate to 60+ MPH. At all hours.”
— Wayland resident

“I moved from out of state and after 1.5 years I am actively trying to move out of Providence. The noise is a major factor in that decision.”
— Elmwood / Upper South Providence resident

“Currently looking for a house out of the city and in the country. We’re done here.”
— Mount Hope resident

“I live close to a fire station and close to Broad Street, so I hear emergency vehicle sirens; however, I think they’re used appropriately and have no complaints as this is part of city life. The fireworks and loud cars / off-road dirt bikes are more of an issue because they are noisy (anxiety inducing) and potentially dangerous.”
— Elmwood resident

“I would really love [for the city to install] noise cameras. Noise makes me really anxious and it is frustrating that there is no enforcement.”
— College Hill resident

“The noise level need to be addressed. The people who are identified as the noise-makers — especially a [specific] house — should be fined after a third warning. It is not fair that we have to tolerate it every time, especially during the summer time. Something needs to be done.”
— Self-described Latina resident of Hartford neighborhood

“The unattended carwash bays at Elmwood Ave and Belden Street are used as impromptu music festivals. Over-amplified cars pull into a bay with music turned up to extremely high volumes. The walls of the bays create a reverberating sound, which in turn boost the music to ridiculously high levels. We have registered complaints with the Providence Police Department and City Hall’s 311″ but the problem persists.
— Office worker in Elmwood neighborhood

“The noise of leafblowers is far worse than car radios or motorcycles because it lasts for up to an hour at at time — and that’s just for one yard. Peaceful summer afternoons are ruined by these completely unnecessary monstrosities.”
— Elmhurst resident

“Cars from the highway … [are] just loud and there is no effort to dampen the sound like you see in other states along major highways. Cap the highway [and] put up sound barriers where it cuts through residential neighborhoods.”
— Washington Park resident

“[A nearby] church puts speakers outside and plays loud music with loud shouting, preaching, and screaming. Also, people put huge speakers on the ground in their backyards! When people put big speakers on the ground, the vibrations travel through the ground and make sleeping impossible, because you can feel the vibrations … It’s not brain surgery: Enforce existing laws and make the fines stiffer.”
— Self-identified African-American / black resident of West End

“Focus on engaging working-class neighborhoods (specifically women) because from my perspective people in those places are ‘hostages’ with no way [to escape noise]. Police won’t enforce in those places because it’s ‘expected’ or ‘how it is’.”
— Rankin Avenue resident

“Up until now there has been no one to complain to. I have called the police but the noise continues, especially the fireworks. I feel like I’m at Roger Williams Park.”
— Charles resident

“Sometimes we ask neighbors to turn down their music, but they just laugh in our faces. We don’t ever call the cops and we do not approach vehicles. We can’t leave our home, because usually it’s around bedtime. We usually ignore it and just feel really irritated.”
— Self-identified African-American / black resident of Charles

“These gasoline leafblowers are a horrible noise issue — could we try electric-powered [ones], if possible? It may bring the decibels down. Hoping for a more quiet lawn clean-up!!!”
— Mount Pleasant resident

“Providence everywhere actually is awash in bass, motorcycle, and muffler noise. I wanna leave so badly, but my family is here. The cops now make the determination about whether you should be bothered or not by a neighbor’s bass. My feeling is you shouldn’t have to hear any of that in your yard, much less your home, much less at any hour of the day or night.”
— Mount Pleasant resident

“I support [efforts to regulate leafblowers] because I am concerned about noise and air pollution in general here in Providence.”
— Federal Hill resident

“On weekends, Lincoln School has multiple gas-powered leafblowers operating for 4 hours. Mostly, they are just blowing dust around. In the fall when there are actual leaves on the ground, they sometimes go for 8 hours straight. It’s insufferable.”
— Wayland resident

“It’s hard to imagine the decibel levels of ATVs, motorcycles, and loud music from cars is legal, and I think police don’t want to deal with nuisance problems out of fear of what might result. It would be good if people got a ticket for breaking decibel limits in residential areas, the same way you get a ticket for going through a light or speeding more than ten miles over the speed limit around a school. Just some nudging in the right direction would help a lot. Police shouldn’t get involved, [but] there should be financial consequences for breaking the noise laws.”
— Federal Hill resident

“Noise cameras are desperately needed. Create a hotline for noise complaints!!! Involve citizens like myself. We are retired, but can’t use our yard …”
— College Hill resident

“My neighbor uses his leafblower all year long … Yes, in the winter too. Ridiculous.”
— Charles resident

“I moved to Providence in September and was shocked at how extraordinarily loud and constant leafblowers were from early September through November. They are also extremely dangerous for their operators. If there were regulations requiring use only of electric leafblowers that would protect the workers and the residents.”
— College Hill resident

“I didn’t know … where to go with the complaint, and I doubt anything would be done about it.”
— Federal Hill resident

“I have not opened the storm windows on the east side of my house for over 12 years. I moved my bedroom to the other side of the house, as my sleep was severely impacted [by noise].”
— Elmwood resident

“Noise is unbearable at times at our location, especially being outside. Cars with loud exhausts as well as speeding creates a toxic environment.”
— Mt. Pleasant resident

“I sleep on the couch in another room with windows shut and fan on. I love sleeping with the windows open in the summer, but can’t when there is loud noise. … I am mostly talking about loud house parties from 6pm to 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. The police, the mayor, PVD 311, and City Council do not care. … If [the police] show up they drive fast down the street, and don’t get out of their car to address the situation and give out citations. … These parties are too loud any time of day and need to be addressed. My law-abiding neighbors are moving out of Providence because of loud noise and speeding. There is no more quiet enjoyment in our Providence neighborhoods.”
— Charles resident

“I have been very surprised by the amount of noise since moving to Providence last year and highly affected. I had no idea about the health perspective and the way in which residents are affected systemically in Providence. I recently moved to a new house with higher rent in a different neighborhood in large part because the noise — daily early-morning dump trucks nearby, leafblowers, extremely loud car music, off-road vehicles and motorcycles, cargo trucks, construction — became impossible to live with and had a huge impact in my levels of anxiety, irritability, headache, and ability to focus and sleep. Thank you for this project and I am looking forward to learning more.”
— College Hill resident

“Auto mechanics tools / machinery as they work on cars is very loud — like an air gun firing. And there are so many tow trucks with their ‘beeeep beeeep beeeep’ even late at night and early in the morning.”
— Hope resident

“Definitely use noise-restricted leaf blowers. Leaf blowers above a certain decibel level should be outlawed.”
— Wayland Square resident

“The Elmwood police have been wonderful — always willing to help when they don’t have more pressing matters. Houses or businesses that are repeat offenders are not being ticketed, though. Every week it’s the same offenders causing extremely loud music.”
— Elmwood resident

“I am moving out of Providence in the Spring, specifically because of motorcycle / ATV / dirtbike-gang noise … cars with extra loud mufflers, [and] cars with extreme stereo systems. It’s all too much.”
— Chris, Weybosset Street

“WHEREAS, The reckless operation of [ATVs] on city streets and sidewalks can result in collisions with pedestrians and other motorists, confusion and fear for other motorists trying to safely use city streets, and significant noise pollution and degradation of the quality of life for residents in the surrounding area; and …

WHEREAS, The City Council has responded legislatively to the problem of increased ATV and dirt bike activity, provided all of the tools requested, and it now requires that a stronger commitment is made to enforce the existing ordinances of the City.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the Providence City Council hereby demands that the Mayor of Providence enforce the Providence Code of Ordinances, specifically Section 15-103, to prohibit the operation of ATVs and recreational vehicles within the limits of the City.”

— Providence City Council, Oct. 7, 2021

“The bass booming in cars is horrible, and is the worst part. My neighbors park their cars and do it, and people drive by do it. It’s horrible, shakes the house, wakes me up, and you can’t stop it. … I’ve tried talking to people [who are doing it] and get yelled at for it. So I call the cops because I have to to sleep.”
— Lockwood Street resident

“Police do not enforce noise laws, they seem to do nothing when you call them about disturbances like overnight loud music. They only seem interested in calls about guns or knives.”
— Public Street resident, Elmwood

“Enforce city ordinance on chickens and roosters.”
— Manton resident

“Parties and fights at neighbor’s house — he’s running an illegal AirBnB (it’s not owner occupied / he doesn’t live there), and it’s unsupervised.”
— Self-described Latino resident of Mount Hope

“This work goes back to 1996. Try dusting off the ordinance books, bring out the already purchased noise meters, and enforcing the laws ready established by the community.”
— Self-identified Latina resident, Moore and Updike Streets, Elmwood

“The police need more officers to address the noise, and the mayor’s office needs to be more vocal to let potential offenders know that it’s not a free for all. Noise downtown or near the bars is to be expected, but in residential neighborhoods it’s out of control. The current rules seem adequate, but they’re just not enforced consistently enough to let people know that Providence is not the place to act like you’re the only person in the world who matters.”
— Fox Point resident

“The dust blowers!! So-called ‘leafblowers’ are overwhelmingly used to blow dust into the air.”
— Blackstone resident

“Thanks for doing this.”
— Self-identified Latino, Federal Hill

“Noise pollution is a serious condition in Providence (and many cities). It is unfortunate that on a Sunday morning in summer, for example, one cannot enjoy a quiet morning outdoors listening to the birds without noise interruptions. Even more serious is noise intruding on life indoors. This is a serious quality-of-life issue in Providence.”
— Fox Point

“It seems there is a complete lack of common courtesy.”
— West End resident

“I just moved to Providence and it is the noisiest place I’ve lived — noisier than NYC, Detroit, and Chicago.”

“Enforce noise laws and fireworks bans. Increase patrolling by police instead of them sitting in their parked patrol cars in the lot across the street from Holy Name of Jesus Church. Crack down once and for all on the gangs of ATVs that flout the laws of the road.”
— Mount Hope resident

“So much of the noise I hear in my apartment is due to emergency vehicles and loud exhaust. It has really impacted my experience of living in PVD, and my fiancée and I want to live in a quieter neighborhood / apartment but it is cost prohibitive.”
— Fox Point resident

“Many people think that noise is not an issue to ‘diverse populations’ who [supposedly] enjoy listening to incredibly loud music at all hours of the day and night. This is not true; it’s a harmful stereotype.”
— Diego Tomas Arene-Morley, independent candidate for Providence City Council (Ward 9)

“Fireworks and dirt bikes / motorcycles really make me reconsider living in Providence”
— Resident near Melrose St. and Adelaide Ave., Elmwood

“It’s not just noise, it’s the vibrations from … big speakers placed on the ground so there is a constant, low vibration felt. There is no getting away from it. If from a car, the walls vibrate. There are noise ordinances in place. Enforce them, make fines stricter. If the people are renters, landlords should be involved. Tenants that are repeat offenders should be fined along with landlords, so it acts as a deterrent. My frustration comes because the city takes too passive an approach. We don’t need more committees. To do what — tell us what we already know? Residents already know the problem. … Enforce (or make stricter) existing laws. Hit people where it hurts (their wallets). We continue to have these problems because nothing is actually done. Listen to residents when they complain (and stop having City Council meetings early in the day when people work and can’t attend) … If you’re going to allow bars in residential neighborhoods, then enforce noise ordinances / laws.”
— Self-identified African-American / black West End resident

“Issue on-the-spot fines to those who are breaking noise ordinances, with amounts increasing for second, third, etc offenses.”
— Resident near Crescent Street and Reservoir Avenue

“Enforcement of [over-]amplified radio and muffler noise would be nice.”
— West End resident

“I can’t tell you how horrible this is. People in our building leave during special events. We have a decibel meter and it has registered up to 125 dB with the windows closed. Friday to Sunday nights we can’t sleep, and the club downstairs is always loud. They’re supposed to have their windows shut, but they don’t. At times there are outside speakers. The restaurant (Barnaby’s) is also loud a lot of the time.

Our corner is extremely noise with motorcycles and cars with loud music, [modified] mufflers, etc. We are worn out … Before this we lived in downtown Brooklyn, NY, and it was a lot quieter. This is an issue for everyone we know in this area. We’ve met with the police, speak at ward meetings, and so forth, but at this point we feel that complaining is useless.”
— Downtown resident

“College Hill and especially Thayer Street can be so loud! I have a 2-year-old who gets scared in the middle of the day because bikes and cars with loud exhausts drive down the street. It’s like they want to drive slowly to make more noise, which honestly sometimes is worse than if they just drove fast down the street. It is too loud for me and way too loud for any child.”
— College Hill resident

“The fireworks are a big problem in my neighborhood. They’ve been going since the beginning of May (started occasionally) and now, every night, are very loud — the other night [we were] woken up at 3:00 a.m. Loud music on the weekend, sometimes late at night. Sometimes it’s actually “city quiet” here, but not enough. Our neighbor has a very loud car, and although his daily pattern is predictable, it’s just another addition to the general noise listed above. We just bought [our house] in January and are now selling and moving out of the city.”
— Self-identified African American resident at Chalkstone and Aldine (Mt. Pleasant)

“Mayor Cianci, for all his faults, made keeping the volume of noise reasonable in the city. Police were stationed everywhere with directions to ticket all whose decibel level exceeded the city standard. Police were responsive to complaints. … The measures he took were very effective. But suppressing noise has to be a priority or we get the situation we have today.”
— Wayland Square resident

“I’m someone who works all day in Providence, but I don’t live here. My run-ins with the [leafblowers] are at lunch. I’d love for the city to stop [allowing] them all together. It’s a sick mix of noise, pollution, habitat / animal destruction, and for what? Someone’s instant gratification at seeing a ‘clean’ sidewalk?”
— Weekday worker in downtown Providence

“The noise of leafblowers is far worse than car radios or motorcycles because it lasts for up to an hour at at time — and that’s just for one yard. Peaceful summer afternoons are ruined by these completely unnecessary monstrosities.”
— Elmhurst resident

“It is hereby declared to be the policy of the city to prohibit unnecessary, excessive, and offensive noise from all sources subject to its police power, for the sole purpose of securing and promoting the public health, comfort, safety, and welfare of the citizenry.”
Providence municipal code (Chapter 16, Article III)

“Noise is so bad I have contemplated leaving Providence.”
— Wayland Square resident

“I think the word ‘noise’ has a really benign connotation, so when you talk about it, it’s a little like ‘What are you complaining about?’ … I do think this is a great issue to highlight though, since cities are so loud, and there are really great ways of making them so much more peaceful and pleasant places to live.”
— Summit resident

“My dog is constantly freaking out because of the loud stereos in cars”
— West End resident

“I am worried about my neighbors being hurt by police violence, but sometimes the fireworks / music is so much, I break down and call the non-emergency police number — though they don’t do anything! I wish there was an effective, non-police resource to address this.”
— Charles resident

“As I have discussed in previous Ward Letters, there is a lot of discussion in our neighborhoods about noise, and complaints about noise have increased during the pandemic as more people are working from home. One recurring issue is the use of leafblowers by landscape crews in our city. With several of my council colleagues, I have pressed for revisions to the city ordinance governing leafblowers.”
— Ward 2 City Council member Helen Anthony, in her Oct. 2021 newsletter

“The noise makes me want to go outside and hit the person responsible in the head and destroy their car radio. … The last time I reported noise to the police non-emergency phone line, it was about a car honking. When I went to ask the person to stop, they threatened to beat me. I told the police and they already knew who the person was and said that a police report wouldn’t do anything. The police told me to never approach those who make noise and to call the police instead, but they never do anything when I report noise! Police are complacent and enable noisy criminals.”
— Self-identified Latina resident of Smith Hill

“Cars and trucks far above the legal decibel level due to [modified] mufflers and other add-ons”
— Mount Hope resident

“Very encouraging to see such a credible effort to challenge such an overlooked peril.”
— Fox Point resident

“Like the cameras for speeding, we need cameras and microphones to target noise and ticket offenders.”
— Upper South Providence resident

“The mayor tolerates [anti-social] behavior with a ‘boys will be boys’ shrug, but there is no indulgence for someone to park in front of their own home without paying lots of fines.”
— East Side resident

“I think young people are bored and anxious, wanting to blow off steam with loud music or fast cars. Let’s give them a place to do that, away from us.”
— Washington Park resident

“Throughout my campaign [for mayor], I have heard what a problem sound is in our city. Whether it is loud nightclubs, modified mufflers, or ATVs — we need to do a better job of respecting and enforcing our own sound rules. This budget increases enforcement, technology, and the training that our staff needs, and will hopefully finally provide relief to our neighborhoods.”
— Providence Mayor Brett Smiley, announcing his first budget in May 2023

“The main problems we experience have to do with heavy bass waking us up around midnight and continuing for hours at times, and leafblowers. Leafblowers need to be banned, and late night noise should be cracked down on.”
— East Side resident

“Addressing the terrible noise issue in Providence holds great potential for effectively addressing the region’s emotional health crisis, a problem that cuts across social-economic strata.”
— Anna, College Hill

“The one time the police came, there were three squad cars that surrounded us like we were suspects. They suggested that the loud noise must be pizza deliveries (at 3:00 a.m.). We saw how little they cared and how little they patrolled. ‘Community Policing’ [in Providence] is a myth.”
— Valley resident

“Confused as to why the noise is so obnoxious at times: Kids riding ATVs up and around the block continuously. Sometimes people screaming / arguing at 4:00 a.m. … Thank you for creating this survey.”
— Self-identified African-American resident of the West End

“It’s been a frustrating experience feeling as though South Providence isn’t getting the help it needs so residents can enjoy a decent quality of life. The ongoing noise from Mi Sueño and neighbors who blast their music excessively is taking a toll on my health.”
— Self-identified Latina resident, Lower South Providence

“[We feel] trapped and helpless, as well as there is nothing we can do. The lack of sleep can also absolutely lead to feeling more depression and anxiety as well.”
— Self-identified Asian / Pacific Islander resident near Washington and Clemence Streets, citing the Rosendale

“PA speakers blaring … absolutely insanely loud music ’til 4:00 a.m. multiple nights of the week. Both myself and my partner have slept on the hardwood floor in the living-room so we can close the doors to the bedroom on that side of the apartment. I’m unable to offer a room to visiting friends or family, as this happens too frequently for me to trust they could [sleep in] peace. …

I truly wish I could get out of my living situation. I pay an incredible amount of money to live in my apartment, and the noise is absolutely unbearable. I feel trapped and helpless.”
— Self-identified Asian / Pacific Islander resident of the West End

“There’s no getting away from it. Sometimes our walls shake. We call the police, but nothing happens. We have little kids and a sick adult [living with us] — we can’t just leave our house!”
— Resident at Adelaide and Elmwood Avenues

“Stricter penalties for businesses who blatantly disregard noise ordinances”
— Charles resident

“It wakes me up repeatedly out of a sound sleep.”
— Resident at Daboll and Public Streets, near Broad Street

“I don’t know who to contact and don’t feel anything can be done to change it. It has become a sad fact of my existence that has negatively impacted my anxiety, stress, and irritability levels.”
— Downtown resident at Memorial and Westminster Streets

“Unable to sleep in the morning due to leafblowers. Unable to sleep at night (in summer) because of people driving up and down with blaring music. Motorcycles revving up and down the street. Friday night music on weekend nights down at India Point Park or wherever (East Providence) carrying up by the river. Also I hear music and revving coming from somewhere past Hope Street.”
— East Side resident

“Please let me know what I can do! It’s terrible here now. I want to leave.”
— Fox Point resident

“The fireworks are out of control, as are house parties.”
— Manton Street resident

“Amplified Loud music especially in the warmer weather is not taken seriously. Loud music at any hour should be illegal. Quality of life in my neighborhood has gone down when neighbors blast their music at any hour of the day … When you call the police they do not give out citations even when the music is heard over 200 feet. Loud music blasting through out a neighborhood causes stress, anxiety, and reduces the quality of life. These loud parties ‘til 3:00 a.m. is getting out of hand …”
— North End / Charles resident

“The noise generally comes from cars driving through blasting music.”
— Federal Hill resident

“People should get fined on the second complaint.”
— Self-described African-American resident of Upper South Providence

“The bar called ‘Syn’ on Spruce Street has been a repeated, major noise offender for sometime now and the city should [conduct] strict noise enforcement there.”
— Federal Hill resident

“It’s so stressful that I don’t know if I can deal with it for the remaining 6 months of my lease. It’s really affecting my quality of life.”
— Self-identified African-American downtown resident

“Between the four incessantly barking dogs on my block, the subwoofers from the many cars that drive around my area and idle on my street with their subwoofer on blast as they lay on the horn for whoever they are waiting for, as well as my neighbor who has get togethers on the sidewalk directly across from my house [that] involve putting commercial-sized industrial speakers and subwoofers on top of his parked car and running the power into them from his house — I am losing my mind. All I want is to rest without my walls shaking. I can’t even hear music from the cars — I hear the loud and disorienting bass through my floors, windows, and walls. It’s like they turn the bass up to overpower the music. What is the point? During the day, at night, after midnight — it’s constant. And with zero repercussions. … I feel as though my representatives and my city show to no regard for constituents. … I don’t understand why we are not consistently fining [those responsible] for these horrid frequent ‘booms’ rolling through the streets. It is hell. I love my home and my neighborhood. I don’t want to move and shouldn’t have to. Especially when chances are that I’ll face these issues at another house, since I already has faced this at my last apartment in Federal Hill. It’s everywhere. I’ve lived in New York City, and this is worse in terms of noise levels.”
— Olneyville resident

“The noise stops when police arrive, but then it sometimes starts up when they leave. Or the next day, it’s the same thing. No fines are handed out or anything that would act as a deterrent. … Enforce existing noise laws [and] levy fines after a certain number of complaints. … It’s unfortunate that I buy a home and cannot enjoy opening my windows because of the level of noise, and that we have people in office who make excuses for these type of problems.”
— Self-identified African-American resident, Elmwood Ave. and Peace St.

“It isn’t exactly police who should enforce [noise regulations]. Perhaps something equivalent to a meter maid who gives tickets.”
— Blackstone resident

“Providence Police are very responsive. The people making noise may temporarily remedy the situation, but soon return to making noise once the police have gone. Tenant in the duplex next door has three dogs that constantly bark when outside several times a day. She is aware it annoys neighbors but allows it to continue.”
— Mount Pleasant resident

“Providence is known for lack of enforcement and our city is targeted as a result. It is scary to hear the deafening noise all night long in the warm weather months. It is so loud and dangerous. Winter feels like a blessing and the quality of life drastically improves.”
— Martha, Wayland

“I never see cops patrolling our neighborhood. If they did, they would hear how loud the music is on a daily basis. You can’t speak to another person standing in your own house without yelling sometimes” due to the excessive noise levels.
— Hartford resident

“Terrific you are doing this!”
— Hope Village resident

“Noise is like any other pollution (i.e., air, water). It is unhealthy. It is the responsibility of our government to improve this important quality-of-life situation.”
— College Hill resident

The city should install “noise cameras [and] issue citations for 2nd violations. Currently violations rarely result in citations and fines. Survey the problem — conduct measurements. The worst times are weekend nights, but more recently weekdays have gotten bad, too.”
— Elmwood resident

“We have tried to noise-proof our bedroom window (in addition to wearing earplugs) and as a result no longer get natural light in the room.”
— David, Fox Point

“We hear a lot of road noise from Messer Street. We would love to see speed bumps on the street in order for cars to slow down and be quieter.”
— West End resident

“I don’t want to inflict [the police] on anyone. But it’s not like we can ask the guys on dirtbikes to stop, because they’re not likely to give a [darn] about how they’re bothering anyone else.”
— Elmwood resident

“General traffic from I-95 and I-195, depending on which way wind is blowing … [Other sources], especially these days when people are quick to anger, are not worth trying to do something about. I’d say that fireworks nearby present a different problem / situation.”
— Mount Hope resident

“Leafblower noise is horrible; always disrupts my work from home. Miriam Hospital snow-removing equipment with its high-pitched ‘safety?’ beeping is intolerable, and sometimes goes throughout the night. Their staff shuttlebuses are sometimes incredibly loud. Why haven’t they shifted to electric?”
— Hope resident

“Most noise is fine and part of urban living, but loud noise before 8:00 a.m. or after 8:00 p.m. is annoying.”
— Blackstone resident

“It’s hard to report fireworks without knowing the exact, multiple locations. The loud cars are constant.”
— Federal Hill resident

“[The police should] patrol more often, and issue fewer warnings — especially when they’re called regularly for complaints to the same address. The noise gets crazy, especially on weekends.”
— Self-identified Latino resident of the West End

“Ban leafblowers and emergency-vehicle sirens in the dead of night, except at intersections”
— Blackstone resident

“Even in my home with the windows and doors closed I can still hear the noise. I cannot escape [it]. … It’s a constant stressor. The anger I feel has accumulated to the point I might explode. I’ve contacted the non-emergency police line to file complaints, but it still happens over and over again.”
— West End resident

“I have a two year old daughter who says, ‘Mommy, too loud.’ We sleep in the basement, call the police hoping they will give a citation [after repeatedly going to] the same house, but they don’t. Then this makes us more anxious and frustrated that we can’t get help. They do not take loud noise seriously. We have to get rid of the 200-foot noise ordinance. Maybe this will help the police be able to give out tickets.

Police do not arrive with decibel readers, but they can hear the noise for blocks and do nothing. Change the noise ordinance to make sense for a city where houses are close to each other. … We are talking concert-style bass thumping music, not just a neighbor playing quiet music in their yard. This needs to be taken seriously. I love to sleep with my windows open in the summer. My baby needs to sleep peacefully at night and during the day.”

— Self-identified Latina resident of the North End

“We reported the loud music after hours and we are intimidated by noisy people and getting louder music. We are scared to complain. Noisy neighbors are acting like they are the right ones.”
— Resident of Providence public housing at Bodell Avenue (Hartford)

“The people who make noise calm down for a few days and return with the noise because there is no sanction, just talk. … Lawbreakers are persistent in breaking the law; thus, the authorities must be persistent in implementing the law. Sometimes I see authorities’ vehicles pass vehicles or houses with loud music without taking any action until someone calls and reports it. When there is [loud] music during the day, the law-enforcement agencies occasionally take no action because many assume that noise is only an issue late at night.”
— Self-identified Latino resident of public housing in Hartford

“Mis hijos no se concentran porque mi vecina del piso 3 toca la música muy alta casi toda la noche. He subido a decirle que bajé el volumen y nada [pasa]. … Deberían hacer algo para evitar tanto ruido con los vecinos.”
— Mount Pleasant resident

“Traffic on I-195 and the I-Way is constant and the prevailing winds amplify it into my neighborhood. … I can’t change my proximity to the I-Way and Rte 195. I do believe that a different (quieter) pavement would reduce noise from vehicles.”
— Fox Point resident

“The Providence Police have not ever responded to any of my noise complaints, so as a resident and taxpayer I am defeated. I am glad that there is such a project now that will look into this issue.”
— Self-identified Asian resident of the West End

“The nightclub noise on Federal Hill is terrible. Police do nothing. The Board of Licensing gives permits and licenses to establishments which continually violate the law. That practice must change because it is unlawful.”
— Federal Hill resident

“Riding dirt bikes is never legal in Providence, but people still ride them and rev their engines like they own the road. I have to bear with 75 or even 85+ dB of noise from dirt bikes and modified cars every day and every night. Some people purposefully rev their engines around 1:00 a.m. at night near my apartment. I don’t know why is this even tolerated or allowed. I am very disappointed at the way the city deals with this problem (if it has tried to deal with it). The dirt bike problem has made me seriously thinking about moving away from the city once I am able to.”
— Jewelry District resident

“Those who apply for event permits must adhere to the legal decibel levels. They seem to think that a permit is a free pass to play music as loud as it will go. Further, no permits should allow music to be played or loudspeaker noise when the event is in a [residential] neighborhood.”
— Upper South Providence resident

“Enforce noise ordinances that would end music at events by 10:00 p.m. on weeknights and 11:00 p.m. on weekends.”
— Downtown resident

“The Stable Bar often plays music extremely loud. They also leave their door open, which results in louder noise for local residents.”
— Downtown resident

“The bass frequencies travel right through the windows and walls of the house. I refuse to let it drive me out of my abode on Friday or Saturday. Hours and hours of time pass before the sound is gone — way too long to wear noise canceling headphones.”
— Fox Point resident

“Landscaping companies use multiple leafblowers at the same time, each with an excessive amount of noise, and they do not adhere to laws about time of day. There is no way to enforce noise complaints and this greatly affects quality of life.”
— Mount Pleasant resident

“The near constant noise of leafblowers throughout my neighborhood is driving me nuts. I’d be happy to join any effort to limit their use and, ideally, to ban them altogether.”
— Fox Point resident

“Noise violations are so frequent in Elmwood … if I reported every time, I’d be calling daily. I’ve gotten to the point where I leave the neighborhood on weekends just to avoid the loud noise all day and into the night. It’s not the music that’s off-putting, it’s the volume of the music. The birds are so beautiful in this area, and you can’t hear them over the blasting of music all day long. I’m a student and find it extremely challenging to get work / writing done between Friday and Sunday because the noise is so distracting.”
— Resident at Sassafras and Broad Streets (Elmwood)

“The best way to experience the pounding noise would be to come to Parkside Drive on a sunny day after 2:00 p.m., especially on a Saturday or Sunday. It sounds like Roger Williams Park is the Wild West of noise.”
— South Elmwood resident

“I often heard noise that disrupted my life. It was outrageously loud and went on until the wee hours. Nightclubs and restaurants with live music inside and doors open, or outside on performance stages, were incredibly loud and could be heard — even though they’re a long way away — starting in late afternoon and going until after 2:00 a.m. We often moved furniture and the TV to a room that was further from the noise. We put up noise buffering curtains (which don’t really help) and sometimes called the police.”
— Former Federal Hill resident who left Providence due to noise

“We’ve complained for a long time. We’re known to complain. We complain for others as well. Nothing is done. I’m not giving my name or email, because it’s useless. We’re still trying to move out of PVD. A lot of people we know already have. The whole system is a mess.”
— Resident (for now) at 385 Westminster Street, Aug. 2023

“Loud thumping bass music occurs for hours into the early morning. I’m writing this at 4:00 a.m. because LOUD deep bass music that I cannot seem to locate has been going on since before 10:00 pm and has woken me up. This occurred every Saturday, and many Thursdays and Fridays last summer. … Summit neighborhood used to be quiet. Now I can’t even sleep with ear plugs in my own house with the windows shut.”
— Summit resident

“Fireworks are the most problematic! Then motorcycles and emergency vehicles from N. Main Street. Also ATVs!!”
— Summit / Hope Village resident

Responses to the Noise Project’s Community Noise Survey

Q: How do you feel when you notice noise?

A: Afraid to even go to my bedroom.

Q: Do you do things to try to avoid noise?

A: Take sleeping pills.

— Self-identified Latino resident of South Providence

“Automatic fines for noise; remove vehicles with altered mufflers; big fines for the shops that alter the mufflers; find a safe place where folks who like cycles and drag-racing can go. … It’s a bigger quality of life issue than I’d anticipated and seems much worse now than in the past.”
— College Hill resident

“It’s one business: John Music Car Audio. They BLAST extremely loud music with no regard to the neighborhood. I’ve called the police hundreds of times and they do nothing. There is no avoiding it in my apartment. The bass shakes my building. The music is ear piercing loud. I’ve messaged the city on their online form and never received a response. I don’t know who or how else to contact.”
— South Providence resident

“I lived in central Paris in Spring [2022], and the noise there came nowhere close to the level of disruptive noise in Providence. The street noise — motorcycles, unregulated car engines, I-95 — here is deafening. Add to that the summer rock concerts, college parties, and of course insufferable fireworks, and this is the noisiest place I have ever experienced. It may drive us out of the city. The fact that central Paris was quieter than everyday Providence was eye-opening, and very depressing.”
— Fox Point resident

“Every night I’m woken up by people blasting music in their car parked on the street. I call the cops and they drive past and do nothing.”
— Self-identified Latina resident, Federal Hill

“As Mayor, I will work with the City Council and residents to thoroughly understand the level of noise in our city and develop a plan to address it, which includes increased enforcement of existing policies and ordinances.”
— Mayoral candidate Brett Smiley, in response to the Noise Project’s survey of all three candidates in Providence’s 2022 mayoral election. If now-Mayor Smiley’s administration has a formal plan to address noise, it has not been publicly released or even mentioned.

“Air and water pollution are widely recognized as lowering of our quality of life. It is a shame that little or no effort is made to address the problem of noise pollution. In my opinion noise pollution has an equal impact in the degradation of our environment and our quality of life.”
— College Hill resident

“Our City Council member responds. Police rarely do. The problem remains the same. Decibel readings from 85 dB (often) to over 110 dB (rarely). Temporarily close bars and restaurants down that exceed noise levels; [cite] illegal vehicles more frequently. I may be the oldest [resident] in our building, but a lot of people younger than I am have had to move as a result of noise. It’s intolerable, mainly from clubs and cars/motorcycles. We’ve been to meetings and spoken to the police and basically nothing happens. At this point my wife (she’s 47) and I want to leave RI. We lived in downtown Brooklyn, with nightclubs all around, and it was quieter. This makes us (and other people we know) physically ill.”
— Downtown resident

“There are now plenty of studies detailing a long list of health effects of excessive noise. Leafblowers are low-hanging fruit to start to bring awareness to this issue and make a significant difference immediately. A sensible plan for phasing out the gas-powered ones over time, but not too long, would be better for landscaping employees as well.”
— College Hill resident

“The large number of vehicles with modified exhaust systems is the biggest problem for me. It has rendered my patio almost unusable during summer months.”
— Fox Point resident

“What the [Board of Licenses] is doing is against the city ordinances, which explicitly mandate that the BOL ensure licensees adhere to the sound standards. Lives are being ruined and whatever the City Council is saying about noise pollution is falling on deaf ears at the BOL … We simply need to enforce the existing city ordinances.”
— Federal Hill resident

“I’d be fine with designated days for lawncare or excessive noise if there were quiet days in between the noisy ones and I could plan around it. I’m 100% behind a leafblower ban.”
— Resident at 4th and Brewster Streets

“The dump trucks — particularly Mega — often come before 6:00 a.m. and wake up the entire house. Neighbors have complained. A neighbor has constant concerts without a permit on the street with amplifiers. They never ask the neighbors if it’s OK and they won’t stop. The police haven’t made a difference to my knowledge. Feeling very helpless and exhausted over here!”
— Wayland resident