My usual path to work takes me right along the Rideau Canal. It’s a pleasant walk – especially in summer – and, aside from a bit of traffic noise along Colonel By Drive, it’s pretty peaceful. Until I get near the office.
The last 5-10 minutes of my walk take me past two particularly noisy spots – a busy loading zone at the National Arts Centre and, across the canal, a major construction site at the new Ottawa Congress Centre.
Some days are worse than others, but the amount of beeping that goes on in this part of Ottawa is ridiculous. Every dump truck, transport van, snow plow, and forklift in existence now comes equipped with the shrillest, most cringe-inducing screech that echoes through the air whenever thrown into reverse.
I get it. It’s a safety thing. But does it really need to be THAT loud? You don’t need to warn people for miles around that you’re backing up. You just need to tell people that might be walking/driving behind you. Surely they can turn down the volume a bit – the noise pollution from the engines on these trucks is bad enough without adding unnecessarily loud shrieking to it.
You know, it’s not even so bad that these trucks beep when they back up. At least that would be a constant noise. No, it’s the vehicles that constantly switch back and forth between reverse and drive that are particularly annoying; the ones that are maneuvering a load of gravel around a construction yard, for example. You get about 1.5 beeps before they switch back to drive only to halt and slam their vehicle back into reverse for another couple of bleeps. And on and on it goes.
Maybe I should buy a set of noise-canceling headphones, but they’re expensive and it’s easier (if more damaging to my hearing) to just turn up my iTunes. Besides, with my luck, if I DID get noise-canceling headphones, I’d wind up getting smucked as I walked behind a reversing semi.