Alderman wants to crack down on noisy Lake Shore Drive motorcyclists

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Two years ago, state Rep. Sara Feigenholz, D-Chicago, championed a new state law aimed at reducing motorcycle noise and loud mufflers on Lake Shore Drive that prevent residents from getting a good night’s sleep.

It empowered the city to install noise monitors along Lake Shore Drive similar to the ones that measure jet noise around the clock in neighborhoods surrounding O’Hare and Midway airports.

On Wednesday, Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) moved to take advantage of that 2017 state law — by introducing an ordinance authorizing the installation.

“Unmufflered motorcycles all summer long race up and down Lake Shore Drive. This is gonna help us get a handle on that problem by measuring the decibel levels so we can respond appropriately,” Hopkins said.

“They’re already breaking the law. They’re already exceeding all of the noise-control limits. But having noise control monitors on Lake Shore Drive is gonna help us determine the extent of the problem, how often it’s occurring and the hot spots along Lake Shore Drive where it’s happening, to help CPD enforce the existing laws.”

The noise monitoring proposal was on a virtual conveyor belt of quality-of-life ordinances introduced by Hopkins at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

Apparently determined to fill the headline-grabbing role formerly played by indicted Ald. Edward Burke (14th), Hopkins proposed:

  • Authorizing Chicago Police officers to wear their uniforms while working private security for so-called special service areas. Those are special taxing districts where businesses and other property owners within the boundaries pay higher property taxes for increased services, such as security and beautification. Chicago police officers moonlighting as security officers at Navy Pier and McCormick Place are already allowed to wear their uniforms.
  • Expanding the definition of “nuisance noise” in so-called “quiet zones” around hospitals to prohibit horn-honking, car alarms and noise makers. Hopkins said all of those are significant problems around Northwestern Memorial and Lurie Children’s Hospital.
  • Cracking down on underaged drinking by empowering police to impound vehicles used for the illegal transport and consumption of alcohol.

Hopkins wasn’t the only aldermen working overtime.

Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th), Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s City Council floor leader, proposed changes to the much-criticized city policies governing debt collection, impoundment and relocation of vehicles, as well as a resolution demanding hearings on, what he called Chicago’s “predatory towing epidemic.”

Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) introduced a compromise ordinance on civilian police review as well as a proposal to allow credit unions to serve as municipal depositories.

And Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) demanded City Council hearings on “existing policies and procedures to prevent and end sexual harassment by and among city officials and employees.”

Also on Wednesday, the Progressive Caucus that now counts 17 members elected Ald. Susan Sadlowski-Garza (10th) as its new chairman.

Garza replaces Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), who has his hands full as chairman of the City Council Finance Committee. Garza’s plate isn’t quite so full as chairman of the Workforce Development Committee.

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