"Don't Honk" Signs Do Little To Tone Down Street Noise
The sound of a horn honking is everywhere in New York City, and as the noise may be affecting residents' health, the city is doing little to lower the volume. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
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Honking is the anthem of New York City streets.
"It's nonstop honking for no reason," said one New Yorker.
"It's just a headache. It's just a headache," said another.
Noise ranks at or near the top of 311 complaints and horn blowing, when drivers are not in danger, ranks among the city's most flouted infractions.
Just 400 tickets for horn blowing are given a year on average, about as many as one hears in an hour on some blocks.
It also may be the most selfish and counterproductive infraction. Experts say the vast bulk of horn taps do nothing to speed things along.
"It's not going to change the world in one bit, except increase our blood pressure, the blood pressure of other drivers, the blood pressure of the pedestrians," said transportation consultant Sam Schwartz.
In Murray Hill, a NY1 crew spotted a livery driver who seemed to tap his horn to lure a fare, but he said otherwise.
"I never honk," he said.
Other drivers admitted they sound their horns.
"A lot of people in front of me, they are not paying attention to signs, on lights, and I have to wake them up," said one driver.
Over 1,000 locations in the city have signs that read, "Don't Honk. $350 Penalty," but one wonders if the signs are effective. Each sign costs $51 to put up.
"Putting up a sign violation and not enforcing it is laughable," said Schwartz.
NY1 asked the city’s transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, if the signs make sense.
"We haven't done studies in the efficacy of honking signs," she replied.
Of the 19 motorists who fought their tickets, 18 got them dismissed. The New York City Police Department did not respond for comment.
Transportation officials say they are trying to calm streets. It may be the government cannot do much, and it may come down to common courtesy.
Schwartz recommends taking a deep breath.
On reformed honker, Frank Alcamo, told NY1 he turned to prayer to keep his hand off the horn.
"We're in a technological age of instant answers and we're not used to waiting, so we honk," he said.
Maybe Alcamo can pray others get religion too.