Perhaps the worst traffic ordinance... in the world.
Seattle is home to some of the biggest, most ubiquitous companies in the world. Starbucks, Amazon, Microsoft, T-Mobile, Tableau, and Getty Images all call the greater Seattle area home. Boeing builds airplanes here and used to call this home until they moved to some dusty mid-west cow town. Ironically, Boeing decided to move somewhere people with things to do flyover, usually in Boeing aircraft. We have wonderful food, tremendous views, a thriving economy, and the people are all kind enough to leave you alone without being rude; unlike New York or Boston. No one just stops to chat you up about things you couldn’t care less about, but they will return your friendly passing smile or nod without stabbing you in the face. The weather gets a bad rap, but in reality, we see less rain than New York or London and no one spits in your mouth for asking directions. In fact, for three, maybe four months out of the year, Seattle might be the prettiest place in the world.
Thing is, even in this modern Utopia of friendly well-caffeinated faces, the city bears a dark stain on its cotton flannel button-up. Driving here is nearly impossible. Traffic is abysmal, a product of the area’s rapid growth and development over the last decade, no doubt. We have more cranes doing crane things in this city than LA, San Francisco, and New York combined. Fifty-thousand Amazon employees mill around a part of the city that was, for the most part, condemned two-decades ago. But the most significant detriment to traffic — without any shadow of a doubt — is the utterly useless city council that has been waging war on motorists for years now.
The most recent volley from their misguided and impotent salvo is to “Crackdown on loud exhaust systems.” Which has been on the books for a long time here. We have always had a pretty tight leash when it comes to excessive noise emanating from our vehicles. I have friends that have had the Police summoned to their homes by neighbors who apparently thought they were making too much noise when turning on their vehicles. They were all cited for noise violations. What makes this new decree different is that an Officer of the law no longer needs to measure the sound level from a predetermined distance to issue a citation. They only need to be able to hear your machine from 75 feet away. Just hear it. That’s all.
I live near a pretty busy stretch of road, where all day and all night I can hear cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, emergency vehicles, and homeless people tootling about. From my backyard, which faces the road, to the road itself is 108 feet. This means that were I a Policeist, I would be bound by duty to throw every motorist that passes by my house into prison for the remainder of their natural lives. Nonsense. This is a big city, and with it comes big city issues. There is rampant homelessness, to the point where the former mayor had to declare a state of emergency. There is also some amount of violent crime. Just last month a man — who upon learning that he was being evicted by his roommate — stabbed the woman 60 - 70 times, then headed to the gym. There are shootings, muggings, robberies, car theft and vandalism, and an oddly disproportionate amount of license plate theft.
Despite all of this actual crime, massive growth, homelessness, and horrendous traffic, The Ineffectuals™️ have decided yet again, to direct their repressed rage at the number one option for people to move about this great city. Yes, we have public transit, but that loses four dollars for every rider that steps aboard. We have bike lanes that due to ineptitude cost twelve million dollars per mile. We have hills that rival San Francisco and the city center is effectively surrounded by a moat, so walking is a non-starter. The motorized vehicle is the only actual way to get around here, and these addlepates simply cannot understand that. They claim that they’re being conscious of the environment, but the amount of noise a car makes has absolutely nothing to do with that. And even if it did, it should be enforced transparently with measurements taken and actual proof of the law being broken.
I can only hope that before this ludicrous rule gets rolled back with its tail between its legs, like everything the city council passes does, I have a chance to be cited under this ordinance. I relish the opportunity to stand before a judge and question their sanity for allowing such rubbish in front of their bench. Honestly, how can the city expect to enforce punishment without proof or corroboration? This won’t end well for Seattle, especially as it’s at an inflection point in the city's history. We need leaders focused on affecting positive change that ensures a safe, prosperous future. Not leaders that are focused on losing court cases. At least we don’t have to worry about them being re-elected.