WeHo by the Numbers: Noise from the Street, Noise from the Air

Traffic and aviation noise in West Hollywood (U.S. Department of Transportation)

Almost all of West Hollywood is reached by significant noise from cars, trucks, and planes. That is according to a report by WeHo by the Numbers based on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s new National Transportation Noise Map.

The government estimated road noise and aviation noise separately. For road noise, it took into account traffic volumes, speeds and vehicle types. In West Hollywood, it included vehicles on the city’s most heavily used streets, but not on most residential streets.

The road noise estimates for West Hollywood range from 35 to 70 decibels, averaged over the louder and quieter parts of a 24-hour period. Noise below 35 decibels was assumed to have an insignificant impact. The scale isn’t linear: an increase of 10 decibels sounds twice as loud.

For comparison, the hum of a refrigerator might register 40 decibels, a quiet office 50, a conversation 60, a vacuum cleaner 70, a garbage disposal 80, a lawnmower 90, and a jackhammer 100. The 24-hour estimates for nearby freeways are up to 85 decibels.

The aviation noise estimates show that many parts of the Los Angeles region are more affected than West Hollywood, but aviation still contributes to the city’s noise level. The estimates suggest all of West Hollywood’s Eastside and parts of Center City, Tri-West, and West Hollywood West are affected by flights to and from Santa Monica Municipal Airport. The impact is less intense than road noise: a 24-hour average of 35 to 40 decibels. Helicopters were not counted in the estimates.

When road and aviation noise estimates are combined, only a few spots in the city get less than 35 decibels of transportation noise on average over 24 hours. On the noise map, most of the city is colored.

To find out about noise from helicopters, see the full report, How loud is transportation noise in West Hollywood?

  1. Gas powered leaf blowers were outlawed. Complain.

    Helicopter noise has its own complaint line & website. When outside reading, I experience 4 – 6 passes an hour. That’s ridiculous. Saturday, I sent three complaints; one an hour. I have not gotten a response, but occasionally they travel to the west rather than directly overhead and sometimes they fly higher and faster. I cannot imagine what they are doing up there that necessitates such frequent overhead passes.

    Yes, people – it is a city. WeHo has a slew of noise ordinances. Laws are enforceable if you present a clear case of noise pollution.

  2. SERIOUSLY? WeHo By The Numbers is official “non-information”
    Apart from our deaf residents, do you really need to report to readers (residents of weho) about noise?

  3. People, we live in a city. If you don’t like noise, MOVE AWAY. We could use the space you’re currently occupying anyway.

  4. There is really nothing anyone can do about this. Its ambient street noise from a compact, congested area. You have major streets everywhere. Part of city life in my opinion.

  5. About seven years ago I owned a good logging noise dosimeter and made several measurements, both night and day and found that traffic often peaked around 82 dbA when commercial traffic resumed. A modeled survey doesn’t really get down to the street level as we’d like it to do. Perhaps the city could trot out its own noise monitors to bring some clarity. Whatever measurement happens noise is a constant and increasing health hazard. As a side note, being a natural provocateur, I wrote to the president of Athens, our trash removal outfit, to advise him that I believed how new trucks had an hydraulic system which has a very loud high frequency sound which, in my experience, could damage his employees hearing – those who worked the trucks. He told me, very nicely, of course, to mind my own business. Hearing loss claims are easy to prove and he may find that some of his employees are still on the payroll, drawing compensation long after they retire.

  6. Thanks for this map which confirms that WEHO is a noise and traffic pollution ghetto overrun by endless new developments not benefiting the citizens but the all male developers, greedy lobbyists and pay for play political hacks who are turning the so called “Creative City” into a foul nightmarish eyesore.

  7. Michael you are absolutely correct. Whatever ordinance planning & the cc takes hours to ruminate over after days and weeks of staff preparartion in useless in terms of enforcement. Weho has become a NOISE GHETTO.

  8. I’ve lived in L.A. for over four decades now. This is – by far – the loudest area I have experienced. Leaf blowers, helicopters, planes, street traffic, construction noise, club music, and neighbors – we are so overpopulated here! – makes WeHo sound like a war-zone every single day. And it seems like our city has no interest in curbing any of it, for fear of turning away a dime of profit.

  9. Alison is correct in saying that helicopter noise is not directly included in the noise results. Only complaints about helicopter noise from communities. West Hollywood didn’t even make the top 15 list of complaints, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have helicopter noise.

    Helicopters here are a noisy, bizarre, reality sideshow. Think about how many police copter chases and TV feeds we see here.

    And don’t get me started on leaf blowers here….

  10. I wished they had studied the music (bass) from the clubs on Friday, Saturday and Sundays starting at around 5pm. EVERY Weekend.

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