Ambient traffic sounds are everywhere, whether it is the daily hum of a busy street so loud that it limits normal conversation, or the roar of a muffler-less vehicle piercing through a residential street in the small hours of the morning. For some, the volume and type of traffic close to their homes cause diminished home enjoyment.
The impact of traffic noise on the listener can be reduced through the use of measures to block noise using berms and barriers. These may consist of built up earth mounds, or concrete walls or fences, with or without landscaping. The traffic sound attenuation program was created to help minimize the noise impact from high volume roadways to the outdoor spaces in surrounding residential areas. Only existing residential sites with a rear or side lot adjacent to high traffic roadways are considered for a sound attenuation barrier. Single family residential, and townhouse type (maximum of two storeys) multi-family land uses qualify for sound attenuation measures. Apartment-style residential, commercial or industrial land uses do not qualify for sound attenuation measures.
Monitoring, testing, and evaluation are important tools in the management of traffic noise problems. Once the evaluation is complete, those areas that are deemed to have sustained noise levels above acceptable levels are scheduled for a sound attenuation project.
Traffic noise sound attenuation is included in the construction of all new residential areas. Land developers build these measures and pay all costs for their construction. It is also provided for all new transportation infrastructure projects and is included in those project costs. As an example, sound attenuation was provided along all residential neighborhoods adjacent to the Circle Drive South project.
Traffic Noise Sound Attenuation Program
The Traffic Noise Sound Attenuation (TNSA) Program was created to help maintain the quality of the outdoor amenity space in residential areas located adjacent to high speed roadways.
TNSA policy framework and a TNSA monitoring program with a monitoring list of potential future sound wall projects was approved by City Council in November 2016. Locations adjacent to arterial roads or freeways/expressways with average daily traffic levels greater than 20,000 vehicles per day are included.
Potential locations will be added to the monitoring list when traffic volumes over 20,000 vehicles per day are measured. Noise measurements will be completed every three years beginning in 2019.
Common Noise Decibels
|In the Home||At Work||General|
|50-75 washing machine||65-95 power lawn mower||70 freeway traffic|
|55-70 dishwasher||90 tractor||85 noisy restaurant|
|60-85 vacuum cleaner||105 snow blower||90 truck, shouted conversation|
|60-95 hair dryer||110 leaf blower||95-110 motorcycle|
|80 doorbell||120 ambulance siren||100 snowmobile|
|80 ringing telephone||140 airplane taking off||110 car horn|
|110 baby crying||125 auto stereo (factory installed)|
|130 stock car races|
|157 balloon pop|
Planned Sound Attenuation Projects
Arbor Creek Sound Wall Project
This project consists of the construction of sound attenuation walls on the north side of College Drive. The existing stucco fence will be removed and replaced with a concrete sound wall. Construction of the wall (including extensions/expansions) is needed to minimize the noise impacts of traffic resulting from the new interchange.
In order to achieve sound reduction and ensure a safe environment for users of pedestrian facilities, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) reviews recommended the use of transparent sound attenuation walls. Transparent sound attenuation walls will increase the level of safety for users by increasing visibility, reducing the opportunity for crime to occur, and increasing user’s perception of safety.
Upcoming Transparent Sound Attenuation Wall installations locations
Transparent sound attenuation walls will be installed at the following three pedestrian walkway facilities in the spring of 2019:
- Tache Crescent adjacent to 22nd Street, near the at-grade pedestrian crosswalk at the intersection of 22nd Street and Hart Road.
- Dickey Crescent adjacent to 22nd Street, near the grade separated pedestrian overpass connecting the Pacific Heights neighbourhood to the Shaw Centre, Tommy Douglas Collegiate and Bethlehem Catholic High School.
- Marlborough Crescent adjacent to Circle Drive West, near the pedestrian underpass connecting the Massey Place and Mount Royal neighbourhoods.
Concrete sound attenuation wall segments have not been constructed adjacent to these pedestrian crossing locations for approximately one house lot width on either side of the pedestrian facility. Any short segment of stand-alone sound attenuation wall will be transparent.
Loud Vehicles - The Noise Bylaw Amendment
What is The Noise Bylaw Amendment, 2014?
Members of Saskatoon City Council have received numerous complaints about excessively loud vehicles. As a result, an amendment was made to the city’s noise bylaw in May 2014 to address these concerns. The purpose of the amendment is to regulate unreasonably loud vehicle noise that disturbs the peace and comfort of fellow city residents and visitors.
Do these amendments apply just to motorcycles?
No, the first amendment states that no person shall operate any vehicle in a manner that produces “any unreasonable or excessive noise.” The bylaw applies to cars, trucks, motorcycles or any other vehicle that is too noisy.
What types of excessive noise are regulated?
The bylaw already has provisions to deal with loud vehicle stereos, the new amendment prohibits excessive vehicle noises such as those caused by a modified exhaust system, intentional engine revving and driving in a manner that disturbs the public.
How loud is too loud?
Your location, the type of noise, and its duration are considerations. But if the sounds coming from your vehicle are loud enough to bother those around you, they’re too loud.
Aren’t there rules already to handle noisy vehicles?
Yes, there are provincial laws that regulate the manner of driving and prohibit such things as stunting, there are also provincial laws that require an operator to have a functional muffler on a vehicle. The amendments to The Noise Bylaw simply add another tool to the enforcement tool kit for police officers.
When do these amendments take effect?
The general provision for all motor vehicles is in force now, and the Saskatoon Police Service is already issuing tickets to those operators of cars and trucks that produce too much noise.
What are the rules for motorcycles?
In addition to the general rule, there are decibel limits imposed for motorcycles. The bylaw says any motorcycle that emits any sound exceeding 92 dB(A) at idle or 96dB(A) at any speed greater than idle is too loud and a violation.
Why do motorcycles have these different rules?
Right now, a simple roadside test that measures exhaust sound is possible for motorcycles, but there is no similar roadside test for other vehicles like cars and trucks. The standards of 92 and 96 dB(A) are based on what manufacturing standards must be met for a motorcycle to be made or imported into Canada.
What does that mean for motorcycle riders?
If you drive a non-modified stock motorcycle (any manufacturer) that’s in good repair, your bike will be fine. If your bike has been enhanced in ways that increase its exhaust volume or if it’s in need of maintenance, you may exceed the standard. The Saskatoon Police Service is offering a testing program, and more information about free testing can be found on the Saskatoon Police Service website.
How will these new rules for motorcycles be enforced?
The Saskatoon Police Service is in charge of enforcement, and has developed a program for the gradual implementation of the decibel limit changes. Free motorcycle testing clinics are scheduled May 30, 2015 at the same time a grace period will be in place. Public awareness and education campaigns will be ongoing.
How are charges dealt with?
These charges will be done by bylaw tickets. The first offence carries a fine of $100 if the ticket is paid within 14 days. The second offence carries a fine of not less than $200. A third offence carries a fine of not less than $400.
What if I want to dispute a ticket?
All these charges will be dealt with in our Bylaw Court, in the same way as parking tickets or animal control matters, and there will an opportunity to go to a trial, if one wishes, and present whatever defense that one feels is appropriate.
Can I report a complaint about excessive vehicle noise?
Yes. As with any noise disturbance, you may contact the Saskatoon Police Service at 306-975-8300, and the police will investigate. Your complaint may or may not lead to the issuing of a ticket as a variety of factors are considered. For more information about enforcement, contact the Saskatoon Police Service.
Where can I find more information?
You can view the complete City Noise Bylaw in the bylaws section here on the website or click to go directly to the specific bylaw. For questions about ticket fines and enforcement, you can visit the Saskatoon Police Service website.