Traffic noise has only increased for Medford residents who live on the north side of Interstate 93 — and they want something to be done about the problem.
During Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, Medford residents told officals they want their own sound barrier built to help block the highway noise from I-93.
“Sleeping at night with the windows open, it’s a different experience,” said one resident who lives on Fountain Street, which is right by the highway. “It makes me worried to have children in the area.”
City Councilor George Scarpelli explained there is only one barrier on the south side of I-93 to block the noise for residents, and it was the always the intention for the state to add a second noise barrier.
However, no action has been taken since the first noise barrier was put in many years ago, and to the dismay of the residents in the area, the noise has only increased because it is bouncing off the one barrier to the other side.
“We need to start some dialogue now,” Scarpelli said. “Traffic is only getting worse. It is a huge quality of life issue. Let’s get this ball rolling in a a positive direction.”
Medford residents on Fountain Street want a noise barrier built to block the highway noise close to their homespic.twitter.com/Twfxt7ZCHg
One of the Medford residents who is relatively new to the area initially brought the issue to Scarpelli’s attention, and the resident explained that he “didn’t know how loud the highway would be” when he moved in two years ago. The individual created a petition to create a second barrier, which was signed by the neighbors, and many of the residents on Fountain Street further emphasized that the noise needs to be reduced.
“This issue is so important,” explained one resident, who has lived on Fountain Street for around 60 years. “It is amazing how much noise there is. It’s an interest of protecting our children and future children. I hope it gets done real quick. We are suffering.”
Scarpelli invited the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and all of Medford’s state representatives for a subcommittee meeting to discuss the addition of another noise barrier.
State Rep. Paul Donato said he has worked on the sound barrier issue for around 10 years, and he explained that many years ago, the residents on Fountain Street did not want a second barrier in that location. However, he said is going to check where they are on MassDOT’s list and attempt to speed up the process.
“There were some neighbors on Fountain Street who sent me communication saying, ‘Don’t put a barrier on this side of the street because we don’t want it,”‘ said Donato. “Now we have some new neighbors, and they are right. I am working hard to get that barrier done. I am going to find out now where they stand on the DOT list and what I can do to accelerate it.”
Donato explained the sound barrier went up on the south side of I-93 around 10 years ago, and he said it took him many years to accomplish it. He added the noise barrier is set by MassDOT and the Federal Highway Administration, but he said it is important to add it to help the community.
“This is a necessity,” Donato said. “This has been a major problem. People have been living with it for 40 years, and it’s time for the DOT to step up, move them up on the list and get the barrier done.”
“We are going to need state representatives, and the governor and all of them to fight for us,” Burke said. “I certainly will bring it to their attention. Certainly, we will support it and fight for it.”
During the Sept. 10 council meeting, Councilor Frederick Dello Russo admitted it will be challenging to get the second sound barrier built, but noted “it can be done.”
“I can only imagine how loud it is,” Dello Russo said. “It must be unbearable at times. The people are right. I hear it from Main Street. Rep. Donato will be indispensable in this matter.”
City Councilor Michael Marks agreed with Scarpelli’s opinion that everyone needs to get in the same room to discuss the issue.
“Nothing happens quickly with the state,” Marks said. “No one was following up on it. It needs to take place immediately. Sound barriers should be a given.”
Post time: Apr-13-2020