Letter to the Editor | Noise is the norm on Linda Avenue

I am aware of the concerns voiced about the noise generated by pickleball play on Linda Avenue. In the years that my son attended Beach Elementary School, prior to the advent of pickleball, it was apparent that this was one of the noisiest streets in Piedmont.

The schoolyard was invariably noisy before school in the morning, during recess, and during lunch. Starting at 2 p.m., Minimates was in session and, from 3 p.m. till 6 p.m., Schoolmates was in session. When the weather allowed, the kids would be out on the school playground.

There are also summer camps. Of course, during inclement weather and after dark in the winter, the kids mostly stayed inside (pickleball, likewise, is not played under those conditions). Right next to the school was the play area for toddlers, where kids frequently shriek at the top of their lungs. Next down the line are the tennis courts which, being smaller than regulation size, were usually empty.

Further on is the athletic field which, when my son was a child, was covered in grass and mud, was in terrible shape, and was infrequently used. Since then, the athletic field has been redone with artificial turf and has become a magnet for after school and weekend play, mostly soccer but also lacrosse and other sports. The noise coming from this area has frequently been so cacophonous that pickleball players on the adjacent “tennis courts”, who announce the score before serving, cannot be heard by the opposing teams.

Barking from the dog park across the street is almost continuous from morning till dusk. There’s Linda Avenue itself, which is a relatively busy traffic street for Piedmont, with buses traversing this route all day.

To single out noise from pickleball as “excessive” seems like an exaggeration given all the activities on that stretch of the street.

Nevertheless, in the spirit of compromise, we have begun using softer, quieter, balls in an attempt to mitigate any noise from play. If pickleball noise is excessive and needs to be curtailed, why not mandate the same for the athletic field, playground, dog park, and schoolyard? That’s not terribly practical. Neither are the requests to limit or exclude a sport, which is growing exponentially and loved by all who play, from these seldom used courts.

2 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor | Noise is the norm on Linda Avenue

  1. At the same time that the Piedmont City Administrator is recommending permanent pickleball courts at Linda Park for 60 hrs/week during daylight saving months despite the strong opposition of many nearby residents , many other cities throughout the country are taking a very different direction .

    The Walnut Creek City Council will be considering the recommendation of the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Commission to relocate the Rudgear Park pickleball courts to alternative sites and to return the Rudgear courts to tennis or another activity.

    Here is an excerpt from the Staff Report: “Pickleball as a sport is louder than tennis as a result of more players in one location, the noise of the paddles and balls themselves, and the players’ overall enthusiasm. The challenges faced by communities throughout the country to balance the well-founded desire on the part of players to enjoy pickleball while supporting residents’ interests in a quieter environment are well documented.”

    The Staff Report also notes that the residents adjacent to the Rudgear courts “have been acutely impacted by the unintended consequences of pickleball’s popularity.”

    The City currently offers pickleball every day, including six courts at PMS after school on weekdays and all day on Saturday and Sunday and all day during school breaks, including summer. Linda and Hampton can continue accommodating pickleball play during certain hours but should not be permanent use due to the noise nuisance to the nearby neighbors.

    Hope the Piedmont City Council does not approve the City Administrator recommendations and finds a solution that starts bringing the Linda community together again .

  2. Many comments from the neighbors at the last Recreation Commission spoke to how incessant the noise from pickleball is. Pickleball runs from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm during the trial. This factor substantially distinguishes pickleball noise from the other noise sources that Neal sites.

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