Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Noise Could Doom Sidewalk Café

Preliminary plans to demolish the H Street Connection and re-build a retail and residential building were unveiled yesterday. Early plans include potential sidewalk cafés on each corner of the two-block redevelopment.

Architects envisioned one outdoor eatery at the corner of H and 8th Streets NE--directly in the firing line from several groups' amplified loudspeakers.

The buses and pedestrian traffic already create a bustling corner. The amplifiers—with no legal limit on volume for non-commercial speech between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.—will spoil anyone’s appetite. The proprietor of any sidewalk café located in that space would never survive under D.C.’s current noise law.

My theory is bolstered by the results of two amplified experiments in Georgetown and Adams Morgan.

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