Loud shriek of garage door alarm is thoroughly alarming: Fixer
Whatever happened to the idea that the area around a hospital should be a quiet zone?
It apparently doesn’t apply to Women’s College Hospital, where the shriek of an alarm to alert pedestrians that a car is exiting its parking garage is so loud it can be heard more than a block away.
If the intent is to alarm people, it’s a bingo. It not only startles pedestrians on the Grenville St. sidewalk in front of the exit, it pierces local office buildings and even the homes of people in nearby condo towers.
Jehan Teja, who lives on the 23rd floor of a condo building on the northeast corner of Grenville and Bay Sts., about a block away from the garage exit, says the relentless shriek is driving her nuts.
She forwarded us copies of emails she sent to the hospital, describing the sound and asking that the alarm be turned off, or at least turned down.
“Even with my windows and balcony door shut, I can constantly and very clearly hear the piercing alarm that sounds each and every time someone exits the garage.
“I work from home so this obnoxious noise recurs throughout my entire day. I can only imagine how infuriating it must be to the hundreds of people who work and live in the buildings directly around yours.
“There are countless underground parking garages in the area and none of them have such an alarm.”
Teja contacted us after she the hospital told her it wouldn’t be turned down. The noise began a couple months ago and has wormed its way into her head, she said, adding that the more she hears it, the louder it gets.
STATUS: Emily Hanft, the hospital’s director of communications, sent us the following note: “The overhead audible pedestrian warning at the entrance of our parking garage is a requirement of the City of Toronto’s Transportation Department as the garage opens directly onto the sidewalk. Since this is the case, the audible warning system is exempt from the Toronto Municipal Code (Noise By-Law, Chapter 591, Section 591-3).
“We take the safety of patients, hospital visitors and other pedestrians very seriously. Given that the street is highly traveled by both pedestrians and motor vehicles, a clearly audible warning system that alerts them to a vehicle is a key feature for ensuring everyone’s safety. Therefore, the volume of the signal is set to be heard above the normal street noise. We appreciate the concerns raised about the level of noise and we will continue to evaluate our systems as circumstances warrant.”
Transportation services spokesperson Steve Johnston confirmed that a warning system is required for the doors, “however, a decibel level was not specified.” Tammy Robinson, who deals with media for Municipal Licenisng and Standards, said the alarm is indeed exempt from noise bylaws. The bottom line is the hospital is unconcerned about being a good neighbour, because it is on the right side of the law.
What’s broken in your neighbourhood? Wherever you are in Greater Toronto, we want to know. To contact us, go to thestar.com/yourtoronto/the_fixer or call us at 416-869-4823 email email@example.com . To read our blog, go to thestar.com/news/the_fixer . Report problems and follow us on Twitter @TOStarFixer.