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Pedestrian squashes common misconception about noise pollution in cities: 'It's not coming from people'

"Most cities get quiet at night."

"Most cities get quiet at night."

Photo Credit: TikTok

Some cities are considering banning cars because of the air pollution they cause, but one city resident called attention to another often overlooked type of pollution cars produce.

TikTok user Nathan Allebach (@nathanallebach), who shares the benefits of walkable communities on his account, shed light on a common misconception about the source of noise pollution in most cities. 

@nathanallebach People aren't loud, cars are. #walkablecities #walkability #urbanism #yimby #cardependency ♬ original sound - nathan allebach

"If you've ever been in a downtown district that's closed off to cars, whether during peak lunch hours or on a Friday night, you would know the noise pollution caused by people is nothing compared to the noise pollution caused by cars," he says while walking down a quiet residential street. 

"I'm on Main Street in the suburb right now, and all the noise pollution, it's not coming from people. It's coming from cars," he adds as cars whiz by him. 

Cars make it easier to get around in large cities, but they can lower the overall quality of life and make people feel disconnected from others. On the other hand, walkable cities encourage connection and can help counteract the effects of sitting at a desk or other types of sedentary work. 

Plus, plenty of studies show that noise pollution, whether from vehicle traffic, industrial activities, or construction, can cause hearing loss, sleep disorders, mental health problems, and even cardiovascular disease, among other issues. 

Even if you're used to the background noise of daily life in the city, it still takes a toll on your nervous system and can cause your body to overproduce stress hormones, per The New York Times

While cars aren't the only cause of noise pollution, they significantly contribute to the problem. Expecting people to give up driving is unreasonable, but walking or biking to stores near your home can make a big difference. 

Some cities are attempting to reduce car dependency by removing parking spots in urban areas, which makes cities safer and quieter. It also frees up space to install parks or trees, adding much-needed greenery to concrete-dominant cities, attracting pollinators, and reducing temperatures. 

One user commented, "The quietest times in the city where I live are when there's a snowstorm, and driving is reduced to a minimum."

"Let's not forget about the people mowing their f****** lawns at all hours in the suburbs," another added. 

"People think the city and Manhattan pops into their mind … most cities get quiet at night," said another.

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