Putting a lid on all that noise

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There’s an appropriate time for fire-breathing, smoke-belching, eardrum-shattering cars and trucks to wreak auditory havoc and send bystanders scurrying for cover.

This evening, as a matter of fact.

And that’s it.

Today’s the opening of the 27th annual Car d’Lane celebration. Dozens upon dozens of cars and trucks from 1975 and earlier will strut their stuff along downtown Coeur d’Alene streets. A silent parade it is not, nor should it be. Let those beautiful beasts roar.

But the other 364 days of the year? Exceedingly loud, smoky vehicles simply don’t belong in downtown Coeur d’Alene, where corridors of multi-level buildings form mini-canyons that only amplify the explosions.

You don’t have to be a champagne sipper and string quartet lover to look down your nose at excessive noise. Try having a plate of spaghetti or a nice cold beer at one of the eateries with outside seating sometime, or walking with friends to check out galleries and shops. It’s almost impossible to carry on a conversation when the bass in passing cars pounds so hard that windows literally rattle, and when engines roar so loud that car alarms are set off. Even a Coke and hamburger dining experience is ruined when the air is filled with exhaust. Go downtown for food, drink or a pleasant stroll on a gorgeous North Idaho summer’s eve? You might as well set up camp in a war zone.

Fortunately, the Coeur d’Alene City Council will be addressing excessive noise in its regular meeting next week. A great many residents and visitors will be delighted if the council embraces an ordinance that would prohibit excessive noise and smoke in its commercial center. Few will miss the show-offs who have decided the only way they can get attention is by detonating noise bombs in public places. If they can’t put their motorcycles, megatrucks and muscle cars on mute, they can head north on U.S. 95, where their kind of music will mingle better with thousands of other vehicles.

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