According to the Valley Sun (“City inches toward sound walls,” May 19) The City Council has decided to take steps toward erecting sound walls along the 210 Freeway through our city. That may be good news. On the other hand, what kind of sound walls are we getting?
Going back more than a decade, it has been stated numerous times that with our valley topography, we need sound-absorbing walls. In other words, Caltrans sound-reflecting walls will not get the job done. I believe Parsons Corporation calculated that sound-reflecting walls would be as high as 16 feet and would therefore compete with the multistory parking structure in the Town Center for the ultimate eyesore in our city. It is far from certain that most La Cañadans would go for 16-foot inefficient sound walls vs. living with the freeway noise.
The question now becomes rather simple. Who writes the specifications for the sound-wall design? I may be mistaken, but I do not believe our city staff has any acoustic experts. The City Council has appointed a sound wall ad-hoc committee. I don’t know what the committee’s assignment is. Hopefully its members have acoustic expertise in their midst. If not, with JPL and Caltech in our neighborhood, talent to write precise specifications should not be difficult to find. Without clear specifications, we will only get what the lowest bidder has to offer.