noise barriers preferred
by Crocker-Stearns residents
By Jeff Gallatin
Published Sept. 21, 2005
Two groups of city residents
have presented their own united front supporting a 13-foot concrete
wall noise barrier for the upcoming $14.2 million Crocker-Stearns
road project instead of a natural dirt mound advocated by Mayor
Residents from the Pheasants
Walk Quail Run Civic Association and the West Park Forest Ridge
Civic Association presented two petitions to City Council Streets
Committee Chairman George Nashar with 90 signatures supporting the
noise walls for protection and opposing the moving of the walls
any closer to their homes. The residents, whose homes are all near
the proposed barriers, also sent a follow up letter Sept. 14 reiterating
their support for the concrete walls instead of the natural dirt
mound barrier suggested by Mayor Thomas O’Grady as a possible alternative.
When O’Grady first suggested the natural barrier earlier this month,
several officials said it would take a united front to try and get
the concrete barrier idea changed.
Sharon Lepore, a Quail Run
resident who wrote the cover letter for the petition on behalf of
the two civic groups, said the natural dirt mound barrier was considered
in the early stage of the project several years ago.
“It wont’ work,” Lepore
said. “It won’t meet the requirements for alleviating the decibels
levels and noise near the homes.”
She said the first letter
came about because of neighborhood concerns after the Aug. 30 council
streets committee meeting where county officials discussed the project
with city officials. Another public meeting has been set for 7 p.m.
Sept. 26 in the council chambers.
Lepore said an engineer
from the Cuyahoga County Engineers office came our and walked the
areas which would be affected by noise from the multi-million dollar
“When they did the projections
and work for seeing what would bring the noise levels from the heavy
traffic down to acceptable levels, they found the concrete walls
would work best; the dirt mounds were talked about but they couldn’t
bring stop the noise as well,” Lepore said.
Even the 13-foot height
of the concrete barriers is a result of the earlier work and testing.
“They considered all the
information and then set the barrier to a certain height which would
meet the criteria for lowering the noise by the homes to acceptable
levels,” Lepore said. “You’re talking about a tremendous amount
of traffic being anticipated on those roads.”
O’Grady said his personal
preference remains a natural barrier but said he would not seek
it if residents are opposed to it.
“I personally find the natural
mound a more attractive method. but I will not oppose the residents,”
O’Grady said. “If they want the concrete walls, we’ll go with that.”
In her letter which was
presented with the petitions, Lepore cited neighborhood concerns
about the placement of the barriers and noise protection.
“I am especially concerned
with suggestions raised to move the noise walls closer to the property
lines,” she said in the letter.
“From the inception of the
Crocker/Stearns Road project, our residents have been deeply concerned
about the impact to our homes and properties from a four lane highway
carrying 35,000 cars a day. We have always been in favor of noise
walls for protection.
“Our concern is with the
proximity of the noise walls to our properties. Our properties are
already extremely close to the road as it is. Any suggestion to
move the noise wall barriers even closer to our properties is unacceptable.
“We adamantly implore that
the City Council committee withdraw any further action to push the
noise walls any closer to our homes and properties.”
Lepore said both neighborhood
groups were concerned about discussion by city officials asking
about potential movement of the walls.
“All this work was done
years ago and these were arrived at as the best possible alternatives,”
Lepore said. “We don’t want the walls closer to our homes, nor do
we want a dirt mound which goes into our yards or causes our remaining
woods to be torn down. There’s just no room for mounds.”
Nashar said council members
were merely trying to find the best plan for the city.
“If this is what the residents
want, then we will go for that,” Nashar said. “We discussed other
plans and ideas because there was concern about the closeness of
the walls and their height. We just want to have the best possible
plan because we want to get the project going on schedule next year.”
Lepore said that’s another
reason to keep moving forward with the current plans.
“Remember, the county officials
said the city would be responsible for paying for any major changes,”
she said. “We still favor the walls and we certainly don’t want
to make any changes which would alter them, add to the costs or
delay work. That’s why we sent a followup letter as well.”
Safety Committee Chairman
Paul Miller, who had expressed concern about pedestrians’ and bicyclists’
safety, said council is trying to find what’s best for the entire
“We’re trying to listen
to everybody and consider everything about it,” Miller said. “Ideally,
we will have a final plan with the county that has the right solution.”