Published On: Tue, Aug 13th, 2013

New Hope Chamber of Commerce effort to ‘combat motorcycle noise’ causes business backlash

Rev It Down posterWhen New Hope Chamber of Commerce President Connie Gering announced a “Rev It Down” campaign last week to “try to combat the motorcycle noise in a way that respects both residents and those motorcyclists who do obey our noise ordinance,” she knew she was wading into contentious waters. After all, noise, and particularly motorcycle noise, has been a hot button issue in New Hope for decades.

But Gering, who also serves as Chairperson of the Borough’s Revitalization Committee, Co-Chair of New Hope for Our Canal, and is a candidate for a seat on New Hope Borough Council in November, says she believes that resident pressure for a quieter town could have resulted in more draconian enforcement measures against motorcyclists, and that the Rev It Down campaign is a good compromise that respects the 97-98% of motorcyclists “who obey our noise ordinance.”

“The campaign was initiated after a Revitalization Committee meeting where residents wanted to return to an era when motorcyclists were being targeted for ticketing,” said Gering. “Our goal with Rev It Down is to deal with the situation in a kinder manner with signs and a message that was designed by a fellow rider.”

Not everyone in New Hope’s business community, however, agrees that lessening motorcycle sound levels should be a high-priority issue for the area’s largest business group.

Joel Roberts, local resident and owner of Mechanic Street Mugs at 10 W. Mechanic St. said, “New Hope is not a quiet little New England town. If you don’t like a little noise, music, cars or people yelling from across the street, you don’t like New Hope.”

Jim Miscisin, owner of Affordable Art in the Four Seasons Mall, agreed, saying, “As a long-time merchant that has been located on both sides of town, I do not believe that motor cycle noise is significant enough to warrant any campaign to reduce it.”

Jeffrey Frydman, local resident and real estate developer went a step further, saying, “The bikers are keeping Main Street alive.”

But a bartender at a Main Street establishment who asked not to be identified because he hadn’t discussed the matter with management, said of the Rev It Down initiative, “What does revving do anyway? I’m in favor of the signs. Nothing against motorcycles…just revving.”

And an employee of a South Main Street retail business, who likewise requested not to be named because he wasn’t authorized to speak on behalf of his employer, said of motorcycles, “They’re annoying as hell, but they should be allowed.”

Two employees of a downtown restaurant disagreed with each other over the Chamber’s action. Said the first, “There’s no need to sit and rev in idle.”

The other, who also asked not to be identified, said, “The Chamber has no conception of helping downtown businesses, in fact, they’re doing everything they can to harass our customers and drive them away.”

Gering defended the Chamber of Commerce initiative, saying “The motorcycle visitors are an important asset to the business community of this town and we welcome them. There are only a small percentage of motorcyclists who choose to rev up their bikes while on our streets and we are asking them to wait until they are leaving town to do so.”

But long-time resident and owner of Mystikal Tymes Eric Lee at 127 S. Main St. said of the “Rev It Down” signs displayed about New Hope streets, “It’s the most ridiculous thing…it’s an oxymoron – you can’t ‘rev down’.”

Carl Glassman, owner of New Hope’s popular Wedgwood Inn, said of motorcyclists, “They are part of the New Hope landscape, and they are a welcome ingredient of the larger New Hope experience.”

Loretta M. Johnson, owner of the Surrender shop at 11 W. Mechanic St., summed up the sentiments of many interviewed for this article, saying, “Part of the character of New Hope is the noise – bikes, trucks, radios, guitars – the noise adds to the town. Once in a while it can be a little too noisy and disruptive to other people, however, there are people coming to town that enjoy the sounds and sights New Hope has to offer. In society today, we should be less judgmental, and certainly this is a town of acceptance of everyone.”

 

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  1. Rrob635@yahoo.com' Bill says:

    And what store in New Hope do you own Gerry?

  2. gerry.alden@maine.edu' gerry alden says:

    Gering-Asking bikers to Throttle jocky down low-noise-exhaust-emission regulated products, purposely modified by owners to raise standard volumes, is a stupid idea. Policing excessive noise by a law designed to identify “sound levels” is idiotic. It does not work. Why don’t you place entrance signage inviting only standard volume vehicles, and warn of strict enforcement efforts by easily written charges, and institutionally demand defendants provide court evidence by a successful Appendix A.3 Comparison Measurement as described in SAE J-1287 to after-the-fact measure, two exhaust on one bike at any same engine speed, to reverse the fine. Most jurisdictions have a traffic code statute that allows enforcement of any act to purposely make excessive and purposeful noise regardless of the vehicle configuration. Your New Hope problem is not a result of purposeful revving, it is a result of illicit operation of modified low-noise-exhaust-emission regulated products. YOUR LOCAL POLICE ARE THE FEDERAL “IN USE” REGULATORS!!! Get an effective method in place or remove yourself from public service.

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