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Shoreline Noise - does anyone care any more?

Original post made by Deborah, Old Palo Alto, on Aug 30, 2007

I've lived in Palo Alto a long time, since before the Shoreline Amphitheatre was built. I clearly remember the first concert there, when the noise in my back yard was so loud and clear I could hear the patter of the musicians between the musical numbers! I've moved across town since, but I still live in an area where the Shoreline noise bounces into my neighborhood. Tonight is a typical night for bounce for us - it was a hot day after a couple of hot days.

So tonight I'm hearing the throbbing beat of whoever is playing there tonight, and I wonder - is it worth it to continue to complain when I hear the noise? I used to see news stories when the bounce was bad and lots of people complained. I can't remember a story like that in a long time. I have called the city recorder before, but I have no idea whether it makes a difference and whether it's worth my time. Does anyone at the city keep the statistics on how often there are noise complaints? Do they continue to inform the city of Mountain View? Or are we just stuck with the situation as it is?

Comments (38)

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Posted by joe
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 31, 2007 at 5:47 am

The Shoreline noise used to be miserable in the area of Crescent Park in which I lived. However after some years and a lot of complaints, and no help from the Shoreline people or the city of Mountain View, it was really reduced. My impression, although I don't remember exactly, is that that happened after Bill Graham died, presumably more responsible people started running things.

I moved out of state several years ago, so I can't address the current noise level.

If I were you, I'd call the Palo Alto police to get the skinny on what the current arrangement is about the noise. Calling Shoreline itself directly might get some info also.


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Posted by Close Shoreline
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 31, 2007 at 5:51 am

Deborah--I would contact our city council and have them demand that Shoreline Amphitheater be closed permanently.
Also where does all that traffic go that comes to these concerts?
How dare Mountain View offer an entertainment venue for the public that may create too much noise and too much traffic in Palo Alto!!!!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 31, 2007 at 8:10 am

I have lived in this area since 1990. When we first lived here, the noise was really bad on some occasions. Now, when there is a concert that I can hear, it is never as loud, the thumping is much less and it stops before the curfew.

Last night I heard no noise that I can remember. It may be localised more, or I may be getting older. But, it definitely isn't as bad as it was.


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Posted by Old Timer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 31, 2007 at 10:18 am

I haven't heard noise from Shoreline in years ... unless I'm at Shoreline, somewhere in the audience. Thanks to the noise abatement policies put in place over the years, it sucks to sit on the lawn. You can hear the people sitting on the next blanket over chatting better than you can hear the music. So when I go to Shoreline, I buy a seat rather than lawn space.


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Posted by Noise Noise
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 31, 2007 at 5:26 pm

Close Shoreline, don't get your hopes up; even if our City Council requests that Shoreline be closed permanently as you suggest, it won't happen. Lets face it, even when our City Council faces down the VTA the #88 and @22 bus lines still get closed down.

On the subject of noise. How many people are woken up night after night with the noise of CHP helecopters taking off and landing at Moffett?


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Posted by Noise, Noise, Noise
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 31, 2007 at 5:51 pm

I am with Noise Noise. The amount of aircraft noise - both small planes and jet airliners, in Palo Alto is horrific.

I live near the intersection of Middlefield and Embarcadero Road. Jets on the way to land at SFO jangle my nerves - even in the house - all day and night. I did a little investigating and found out three factors: 1. SFO changed the flight patterns a year or so ago so that all planes from the south and southwest approaching the bay area fly over Palo Alto. 2. THE FAA recently allowed jets to fly lower over inhabited areas on the theory that new planes are "quieter" than the old ones. 3. Aircraft traffic has increased by about 30% over the past few years. (You can check out the air traffic in the bay area on this cool mapping tool Web Link If you do a time lapse, you'll see that most sfo southern traffic passes directly over the Middlefield/Embacadero point.)

When you combine the jet traffic with the incessant small plane and helicopter traffic from the Palo ALto Airport (which should be closed anyway for budgetary reasons), and from Moffit, it's impossible to enjoy real peace and quiet in most of Palo Alto.

Does anyone else notice this?


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2007 at 7:27 pm

I live near 101 and constantly hear freeway noise, sirens, etc. Should that be closed down too?

No, this is an urban area, not the country. If you want/expect quiet and no noise, move out of the Valley.


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Posted by Deborah
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 31, 2007 at 7:56 pm

I'd like to draw the discussion back to my original questions.

1) Does the city of Palo Alto still monitor the noise recorder voicemail and keep statistics of noise complaints about Shoreline?

2) Does the city of Palo Alto still contact Shoreline and the city of Mountain View to report statistics when Shoreline noise is heard in Palo Alto?


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Posted by Close Shoreline
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 31, 2007 at 8:48 pm

Deborah--why are you wasting your time on this forum--contact City Hall and ask them about the so-called noise problems at Shoreline, if you are really interested.
Leave to someone in PA to find something to complain about.


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Posted by Giraffe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 1, 2007 at 12:24 am

Deborah is probably posting to this forum because she went to the new Palo Alto website and searched in every way she could think of for the way to post a shoreline noise complaint and couldn't find it.


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Posted by Sam
a resident of Southgate
on Sep 1, 2007 at 12:39 am

Deborah. Have some fun. Write an e-mail to all the city council members and city manager. Their addresses should be on the City web site. And do it again if you don't get an answer. After not receiving any response from one or more council members, go to a city council meeting and speak in open forum. Be sure to point out how many responses you did or didn't get.

Attend a candidate forum and ask the candidates what their position on Shoreline is. Nothing beats speaking out in front of an audience - many of whom might be very sympathetic.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 1, 2007 at 2:34 pm

For the SFO noise buffs a couple statistics and facts.

January 2007 SFO traffic (arrivals and departures) 29,669
January 1998 SFO traffic (arrivals and departures) 35,084

Nine year result: 16% decrease. I'm sure the 30 year trend is increase, but I can't find the numbers that far back.

Arrival routes into SFO have not changed. All SFO traffic must stay above 4000 feet until north of Stanford Stadium. The most common arrival from the south keeps traffic above 6000 feet until it reaches Menlo Park.

If you think this isn't happening, check with the FAA's San Jose Flight Standards District Office.


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Posted by GMC
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 1, 2007 at 4:55 pm

Complaining about commercial aircraft noise always seemed rather unproductive to me. I mean, you have an airport. Planes land and takeoff from the airport. What are you supposed to do? Close the airport?
I'm confident that complaining isn't just a Palo Alto thing, however.


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Posted by Danny
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 1, 2007 at 6:23 pm

Airports like SFO and SJC can and do alter their flight paths all the time. They (and the FAA) also regulate how low planes can fly over residential areas.

About 10 years ago, there was a big fuss about SFO planes flying too low over Atherton. I believe that SFO reacted to that by changing things. (So maybe complaining does work.)

True we have airports and airplanes. But that doesn't mean that they can't run their operations to minimize effects on residential areas. I believe there are federal laws that require them to do this.

If SFO weren't sensitive to this, they wouldn't have a big website (linked above) that emphasizes noise mitigation measures they take, where to complain, etc.

I have a friend who lives under the Embarcadero/Middlefield flight path mentioned in the post above. His place is noticeably more effected by jet overflight than my house which is less than a mile away. I'd hate it if they changed it so that the steady stream that flies over his place flew over mine instead. But I guess they might.


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Posted by Noise Noise
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 6, 2007 at 10:01 am

South Palo Alto suffers horribly from overflights of low flying planes going into both SFO and San Jose. I watch them fly over my house then turn either left or right depending on which airport they're heading.

But worse than low flying aircraft has been the stationing of CHP helicopters at Moffett. They are much louder than low flying aircraft and take off and land by flying over my house all the time. They snuck those noisy aircraft in with very little public input and now we'er stuck with them forever.


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Posted by Close Shoreline
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 6, 2007 at 10:26 am

Well, it's clear what Palo Alto needs to do--lobby for the closure of SFO, SJC, Moffett Field and Stanford Hospital (since helicopters land there also). Once that is done Palo Alto can then get to work on dealing with Caltrain and 101 noise.


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Posted by katie
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 6, 2007 at 11:11 am

Funny, I was up in SF the other day in the Inner Richmond and there was a concert in Golden Gate Park and you could definitely hear the music and make out the lyrics and all the people that I were with, well no one seemed bothered by it.


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Posted by Sirpha
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 23, 2007 at 10:41 pm

The installation of the Shorline Amphitheater was a REALLY BAD IDEA; no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Just a money maker for the city, and no regard for the residents in surrounding areas to enjoy the right to peace and quiet in their own homes.

BAD MOVE, MOUNTAIN VIEW!


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Posted by Close Shoreline
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 24, 2007 at 6:21 am

How dare Mountain View provide an entertainment venue for the region, which may impinge on the residents of PA "the right to peace and quiet in their own homes" (I am not sure if this is really a right or something that PA residents feel they received when they bought a house in town).
Events at Shoreline are not a nightly event and sometimes weeks go by between events. Surely the residents of PA can have soem understanding for occasional noise, especially when it entertains and brings pleasure to so many people.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Carly
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 24, 2007 at 8:57 am

Noise, noise is right. The jet traffic over Palo Alto from SFO and San Jose have become much worse in recent years. Some of this no doubt is that jet traffic overall has increased. But I am sure the flight patterns, and the altitudes have changed to the detriment of quiet in Palo Alto.

A friend of mine in Atherton said that five years or so ago, there were constant jets flying over. But that changed after the SM county negotiated with the airport. Now, it appears they've just moved south. When I moved here 15 years ago, I never heard jet planes. Now it's common.

I also agree that small plane traffic has become a bigger nuisance. I don't know if it's Moffett or Palo Alto's small airport, but small planes also seem to be omnipresent, especially on weekends.

And now, it appears local aviation activists are pushing for a plan to save Palo Alto's airport by, among other things, increasing the number of hangers - increasing capacity. Web Link think this is a bad idea because it will expose the city to financial risk. But it also will increase the noise pollution in town.


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Los Altos
on Apr 28, 2009 at 1:28 am

When some people sarcastically say that we should prohibit sirens, helicopters, airplanes and traffic because it makes noise too. Look, the kind of inane noise generated from the infamous amphitheater is a prolonged bass heavy, crowd screeching, drum thumping nightmare that goes on for hours. A siren is a fleeting sound; not something that goes on and on for hours. A helicopter or plane flying over and even traffic is nothing compared to loud, hideous bass from some hip-hop band or some old timers from some "classic" rock band banging away on drums and their guitars at that amphitheater. I REALLY sympathize with all the people who've been affected with the unacceptable noise levels produced from that amphitheater. To have YOUR right to peace and quiet violated is an abomination. I live is South Los Altos and a few times, when the wind direction is just right I could hear music from the amphitheater. Two summers ago I thought someone in my neighborhood was playing fairly noisy bass. I got in my car and drove all over my neighborhood and I even drove as far as one mile to see if I could locate the "offending neighbors" house. It turns out that nobody in my neighborhood or surrounding areas was playing noisy bass music. The culprit was, you guessed, the Shoreline Amphitheater! A call to the Los Altos Police netted this information because several other people called in to complain! Building an amphitheater so close to residential communities is about as hare-brained as you can get!


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Posted by Diann
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 22, 2010 at 11:02 pm

The air traffic noise over Palo Alto is constant and loud and seems increasingly worse at all times of the day and night. I noticed that previous posts are from years ago. I'd like to join forces with people with similar complaints to effectively alter the route of the aircraft or the altitude or both as I believe there is a workable plan within the realm of reason for residents of Palo Alto and the airport. Does anyone know of an existing/active group or venue for organizing action against the incessant and worsening air traffic?


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Posted by Judy
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 3, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Hi,
I am a Mountain View resident. I have lived here since 1981 and never attended a concert until this year. I attended the Brooks & Dunn concert and enjoyed it very much. I went to the S. F. Symphony concert with fireworks and had a great time. Unfortunately, on August 6, I attended a Toby Keith concert. The music was so loud that when I left my ears hurt and continued to hurt for three weeks. I left the concert with ringing in my head that has not stopped. I expected one good time and got a lifetime of medical issues. Live Nation is a super-large corporation. If you look at the company policy it states that it is not liable for any harm to you or your accompanying minor. This is a bad company and shame on Mountain View for allowing them into our community. The almighty dollor wins again.


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Posted by Poor judy
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 3, 2010 at 2:51 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Judy
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 13, 2010 at 12:59 pm

I did not realize that the loudness of the concert would damage my hearing. There were no warnings on the ticket or at the venue. Have you not heard of young people damaging their ears with ipods?
The answer to the original question is - NO ONE monitors the decibels at Shoreline. They can pretty much blow your ears out and you will have no recourse. Live Nation assumes no responsiblity for you or your minors. Let the buyer beware.
The decibel levels should be listed on the ticket.


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Posted by Michael
a resident of Los Altos
on Sep 14, 2013 at 8:58 pm

It is beyond me how the city of Mountain View could have ever approved the construction of the Shoreline Amphitheater.

For decades now this egregious facility has wreaked havoc on many communities. From as far as south Los Altos loud bass is clearly heard from the amphitheater.

I seriously pity any residents living closer to the amphitheater. It must be sheer hell to have to endure the high levels of noise pollution generated by the so-called concerts blaring rock, rap, country, etc.

If people want to blow out their hearing listening to "music" at such foolishly high decibels then let them "enjoy" their "music" in a soundproof enclosed theater. Why should respectable, law abiding and considerate residents have to be assaulted by this disgraceful racket?

Erecting that amphitheater was the most foolish decision the city planners in Mountain View ever approved. With total disregard to its residents and surrounding communities. Oh, but money speaks.........


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Posted by Bill guillen
a resident of another community
on Sep 22, 2013 at 4:38 am

Hello, i live in sunnyvale and lately we have been hearing thumping noises at nite which at first i attributed to weird sky noises Or loud car radios. On further investigation i discovered that they were actually coming from Shoreline. I live in Fair Oaks in Sunnyvale. The noise is quite loud and bothersome because it is a continous thumping noise. Keith Urban played last nite-isn't he a country singer?


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Posted by Sleepless in Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 30, 2014 at 10:53 pm

I am sick of this noise.
Seems like property values should be lower in the range of this noise pollution.
I have heard from numerous people that drug and alcohol use at Shoreline are uncontrolled with no real security.


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Posted by Oh Palo Alto, you're too cute
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 31, 2014 at 6:35 am

Close Shoreline? BWAHAHAHA! Yah, go for it, enjoy the efforts. Reading these comments proves to me that the article about PA being the snobbiest town in the US might not be too far off the mark. We already won the award for worst drivers in the state.


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Posted by beats airplane noise
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2014 at 8:42 am

Michael,

"I seriously pity any residents living closer to the amphitheater. It must be sheer hell to have to endure the high levels of noise pollution generated by the so-called concerts blaring rock, rap, country, etc. "

I've heard Shoreline over the years, but at least it's not a constant nuisance like the airplanes. Noise pollution can be hell.


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Posted by Pat
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 31, 2014 at 10:19 am

The phone number for the Shoreline Noise Complaint line is 329-2631.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2014 at 11:49 am

No thanks to all of you folks who do not take anything seriously and have to fill the forum with stupid and sarcastic remarks.

While in Crescent Park I really never hear Shoreline sound at all, I used to when I lived in Mountain View. It is annoying and I would like it to be turned down. Having been to lots and lots of concerts I have always felt there is no reason why they have to have music up at the level where it destroys people's hearing. Not everyone likes that, even those who go to concerts. I still remember the first concert I ever went to and how my ears were ringing for 2-3 days afterward. Maybe we are just bombarded with so much noise now we do not notice it.

I would agree with those who bring up the seemingly irrelevant airplane noise though. The subject is noise and irritation and the airplane noise is constant every day all day. Shoreline is only every once in a while, and it does not continue all night. If we are going to prioritize logically the airplane noise should take precedence.

The thing I see is that we do not have numbers on this issue. What we need is monitoring, and then some way to evaluate the monitoring numbers to decide what is acceptable or unacceptable. Do we just say majority rules so that 100 people who do not mind the noise get to dismiss real problems from the 99 who do mind the noise.

What if just 1 person in Palo Alto has a real basis for complaining based on health or safety regulations ... why shouldn't they be considered instead of beaten down with this idiotic ... "it's a city, there's noise, take it like man, get used to it, suck it up, blah, blah, blah" ... from people who don't have a problem, - but who are the kind of people who if they did have the same problem would be using the same obnoxious tone the other way and don't help anything either way.

Can't people be a little tolerant and civilized when discussing a problem without always just thinking about themselves?

Shoreline needs to have some kind of microphones throughout the local area that tells them how loud they are getting in some kind of reasonable way that looks at the peaks of the noise averages them and then leaves a record of evidence. Looking at the history then they should be fined so much, or sold to a new operator, and eventually put out of business if they cannot be considerate of the communities where they operate.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2014 at 11:52 am

>> The phone number for the Shoreline Noise Complaint line is 329-2631.

Thanks Pat.

Maybe this number could be put on the video billboards around town, mentioned on radio stations, and otherwise given out so people can respond when things get too loud. I never knew about this number, and if it was affecting me I get I'd have already forgotten about it, or would not have it on hand or know where to look for it when I needed it.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 31, 2014 at 12:02 pm

In response to anonymous concerning the FAA designated altitude limits the SJX incoming when arriving over the Sunnyvale, Palo alto Area are at less than 4,000 feet. I have complained to SJX about that. That is info directly off their tracker.
Many large planes arriving at SFO are at less than 4,000 feet but the system used - a commercial system has a gap and artificially fills in the required number. They come in low then correct over Redwood City.

Time to address the security issue versus the noise issue. We do not need planes arriving over the 8th biggest economy when they can arrive over the open land with least population, and ocean - bay. They did that during the 4th holiday weekend so we know it can be done.


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2014 at 12:43 pm

I definitely heard the throbbing base last night until about 10:30 (curfew?).

I didn't realize it was coming from Shoreline, since I have not noticed noise from Shoreline in quite some time. I can't find and record of this... but as I recall, after many complaints from Palo Alto, Shoreline hired an acoustical engineering firm to conduct a study. The study found that the noise had something to do with a inversion layer reflecting sound from Shoreline onto Palo Alto in an irregular pattern (does anyone out there remember more details?).

The inversion layer might be playing a role in the aircraft noise problem as well. At a recent FAA workshop I talked to the engineer who does the noise modeling for the FAA, and he said the computer model they use does not model the inversion layer.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 31, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Jetman - I found the noise over the top when it was close to 11pm. I think it was the closing number. Even with fans on in the house, it's distractingly loud on a work night. The bummer is that locals really don't benefit much from having Shoreline close by, unless we're big concertgoers who don't like to drive far.


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Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

There's still noise in the evenings...seems like it comes from beyond the Four Seasons. I don't hear anything at night...always 5pm-8pm or so. Sounds like a concert. But doesn't coincide with Shorline shows. I've never been able to figure out what it is coming from


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Posted by Jetman
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2014 at 5:36 pm

There is an ad hoc group of citizens working on the aircraft noise problem in Palo Alto. Contact veroforyou@gmail.com to help out, and/or stay informed.


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