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Old Posted Aug 26, 2019, 10:11 PM
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Urban Noise: the symphony of the city

cut from an off-topic discussion from another thread:






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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post

Good Chicago neighborhoods aren't cheap. Apples-to-apples you're probably spending about the same as in Toronto.
i'm not so sure about that.

we got a 3 bed/3bath 2,300 SF condo in a 3-flat in a "good" neighborhood of chicago for $420K. granted, the brown line rumbles directly down our alley every several minutes, so that knocks down the value a bit, but still, not bad at all for a family-sized home in a major, urban US city.

i just zillowed toronto and couldn't find a single 3 bed/3 bath property of any type for sale under $450K ANYWHERE within city limits. not a single one.

i bumped the max up to $600K, and a handful of properties appeared on the fringes of the city (ie. the least urban, least interesting parts of city proper toronto).
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Old Posted Aug 26, 2019, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
i'm not so sure about that.

we got a 3 bed/3bath 2,300 SF condo in a 3 flat in a "good" neighborhood of chicago for $420K. granted, the brown line rumbles directly down our alley every several minutes, so that knocks down the value a bit, but still, not bad at all for a family-sized home in a good neighborhood of a major, urban US city.

i just zillowed toronto and couldn't find a single 3 bed/3 bath property of any type for sale under $450K ANYWHERE within city limits. not a single one.

i bumped the max up to $600K, and a handful of properties appeared on the fringes of the city (ie. the least urban, least interesting parts of city proper toronto).
https://www.realtor.ca/real-estate/2...oronto-malvern

That's in one of Toronto's...um.....less preferred areas. Best I could do, for 3 bed, 3 bath, except for one very undesirable condo. $549,000CAD, that's $414,000 USD (its also a condo)

$590,000CAD would get your this townhome in the inner burbs. (444,000 USD)

https://www.realtor.ca/real-estate/2...onto-guildwood

Cheapest fully-detached, 3brdm, 3bath I could find, that is not condo....

https://www.realtor.ca/real-estate/2...onto-rouge-e10

$689,000 CAD, $520,000USD.

Right at the edge of Toronto proper.

Anyways, were getting OT, that's my fault! Back to Englewood
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Old Posted Aug 26, 2019, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
i'm not so sure about that.
we got a 3 bed/3bath 2,300 SF condo in a 3-flat in a "good" neighborhood of chicago for $420K. granted, the brown line rumbles directly down our alley every several minutes, so that knocks down the value a bit, but still, not bad at all for a family-sized home in a major, urban US city.
I just stayed the weekend in a pretty standard, non-luxurious South Loop townhouse, and it's worth around $1 million. And there aren't really walkable nearby amenities outside of parks.

And I would imagine the L noise would be a major factor in your street's relative affordability. I've stayed at the Chicago Hilton and could barely sleep due to the L a block away. No doubt you get used to it, though.
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
i just zillowed toronto and couldn't find a single 3 bed/3 bath property of any type for sale under $450K ANYWHERE within city limits. not a single one.

i bumped the max up to $600K, and a handful of properties appeared on the fringes of the city (ie. the least urban, least interesting parts of city proper toronto).
But those are CAD. A 600k Toronto home in Toronto is a 430k home in Chicago. I don't think there are many central Chicago neighborhoods where you have Toronto-level good schools and no safety issues, where family-sized units are gonna go for 430k. And you have to factor in taxes and fees, which are minimal in Toronto.
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Old Posted Aug 27, 2019, 2:22 PM
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And I would imagine the L noise would be a major factor in your street's relative affordability. I've stayed at the Chicago Hilton and could barely sleep due to the L a block away. No doubt you get used to it, though.
our realtor told us that being DIRECTLY on the el tracks (with all of the attendant noise) probably gives our property a roughly $30K ding.

the main issue is when you go to sell, a certain percentage of people won't even consider something that close to the el tracks (similar to a property across the street from a sewage treatment plant or an airport), so with a smaller pool of potential buyers, it can take longer to move such properties.

our own home had been on the market for 6 months when we bought it. it was first listed at $480K, then dropped to $460K, then dropped to $440K, and we were then able to negotiate it down to $420K (420! LOL, it was meant to be ). $400K was our target, so we didn't go too much above, but because of the el track discount we did get more home than we otherwise could have comfortably afforded in a neighborhood like lincoln square.

and yes, you totally get used to the noise. this wasn't my first rodeo living next to the el, so it was no big deal for me. it probably took my wife a month or so before she was fully acclimated to it.

and the flip side of living with el noise is that it does mean you're VERY close to rail transit, which is highly sought after in chicago, so there is some silver lining.







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But those are CAD. A 600k Toronto home in Toronto is a 430k home in Chicago.
whoops, i completely forgot about converting between dollars, doh!

still though, search zillow for 3 bed/3 bath homes in chicago for under $500K USD. hundreds upon hundreds of options all over the city.

search zillow for 3 bed/3 bath homes in toronto for under $662K CAD. a only a small handful of properties out in areas like scarborough and etobicoke.

toronto is simply a more expensive market than chicago for purchasing real estate. which isn't surprising considering that it's growing like a weed while chicago stagnates.

scarborough and etobicoke are nice enough places, but i'll take an old pre-war neighborhood like lincoln square any day, all day.
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Old Posted Aug 27, 2019, 3:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
our realtor told us that being DIRECTLY on the el tracks (with all of the attendant noise) probably gives our property a roughly $30K ding.

the main issue is when you go to sell, a certain percentage of people won't even consider something that close to the el tracks (similar to a property across the street from a sewage treatment plant or an airport), so with a smaller pool of potential buyers, it can take longer to move such properties.
Sounds like you got a great deal, and a 30k ding isn't much for resale.

Do you have a deck or outdoor space? I'd be afraid to have my kids playing outside, that close the train, for fear of debris or perhaps hearing loss.
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Old Posted Aug 27, 2019, 4:19 PM
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Do you have a deck or outdoor space? I'd be afraid to have my kids playing outside, that close the train, for fear of debris or perhaps hearing loss.
we have a private deck off the back of the building, a shared brick-paved patio below that, and a very small shared grass yard in front of our building, all connected by the gangway on the side. it's a different kind of outdoor play space than a typical big suburban back yard, but our kids have a ton fun with it none-the-less. they still wave to every train that goes by. and they actually refer to the landing on the exterior wood stairs that go up to our neighbors' units as their "treehouse", and they play in it as kids in a regular tree house would (gotta love city kids!).

there is absolutely zero concern of debris falling from the tracks because there is a 20' deep parking pad and a 22' wide alley ROW between our back "yard" and the elevated tracks.

as for hearing loss, i don't know if that's a real concern or not, but kids have been growing up next to the noisy-ass el tracks of chicago for well over a century now, and i've never heard anyone say anything about it. ie. there's no commonly shared knowledge saying not to do so that i'm aware of. it is pretty fucking loud when a train rumbles by, but it's a very sporadic noise that only lasts for like 5 seconds and then it's gone.

i can see how some people might be annoyed by living so close to the el, but i actually find it really cool. it makes me feel more connected to the big giant city i live within. in a weird way, it was actually kind of a selling point for me. i mean, TRAINS!!!!!!
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Old Posted Aug 27, 2019, 6:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post

i can see how some people might be annoyed by living so close to the el, but i actually find it really cool. it makes me feel more connected to the big giant city i live within. in a weird way, it was actually kind of a selling point for me. i mean, TRAINS!!!!!!
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Old Posted Aug 27, 2019, 6:26 PM
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^ LOL, such a classic chicago scene (hell, that whole fucking movie is such a classic chicago scene).

but a vanishing one. i don't think there are too many SRO's slapped up against the el tracks like that left anymore, for better or worse.
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Old Posted Aug 27, 2019, 8:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
we have a private deck off the back of the building, a shared brick-paved patio below that, and a very small shared grass yard in front of our building, all connected by the gangway on the side. it's a different kind of outdoor play space than a typical big suburban back yard, but our kids have a ton fun with it none-the-less. they still wave to every train that goes by. and they actually refer to the landing on the exterior wood stairs that go up to our neighbors' units as their "treehouse", and they play in it as kids in a regular tree house would (gotta love city kids!).

there is absolutely zero concern of debris falling from the tracks because there is a 20' deep parking pad and a 22' wide alley ROW between our back "yard" and the elevated tracks.

as for hearing loss, i don't know if that's a real concern or not, but kids have been growing up next to the noisy-ass el tracks of chicago for well over a century now, and i've never heard anyone say anything about it. ie. there's no commonly shared knowledge saying not to do so that i'm aware of. it is pretty fucking loud when a train rumbles by, but it's a very sporadic noise that only lasts for like 5 seconds and then it's gone.

i can see how some people might be annoyed by living so close to the el, but i actually find it really cool. it makes me feel more connected to the big giant city i live within. in a weird way, it was actually kind of a selling point for me. i mean, TRAINS!!!!!!
I've never understood the serious concern about noise and health(in the vast majority of cases).

I lived right below the path jets used from NAS Oceania when I lived in Virginia Beach. Was it loud? YES! Annoying sometimes? At first. Could it seriously have hurt my hearing? Highly...highly doubt it. And these are freaking jets...flying low.
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Old Posted Aug 27, 2019, 8:48 PM
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I've never understood the serious concern about noise and health(in the vast majority of cases).
You don't understand the concerns about living next to an earsplitting noise every few minutes? If a pack of Harleys with altered mufflers passed by your bedroom window every few minutes, or an endlessly repeating fireworks show happened steps from your apartment, wouldn't you agree some might be annoyed?

I won't stay at the Hilton, which is like 1.5 blocks from an L train. Obviously one can get used to the noise, but others won't consider living in such close proximity. And I seriously doubt that low-flying jets are remotely comparable to the L.
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Old Posted Aug 27, 2019, 9:07 PM
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And I seriously doubt that low-flying jets are remotely comparable to the L.
jet engines are far louder, particularly at take-off (max thrust).

el trains clock in at about 90 decibels along the brown line, if they are at speed. comparable to standing close to a gas lawn mower.

some of the screeching around curves can get pretty irritating in a "nails on a chalk board" kinda way, but we live next to a straight run of track, so it's just that deeper rumble of a fast moving train on an elevated steel structure, no screeching.

commercial jet engines vary anywhere from 120 - 140 decibels at take-off. military jets, like the kind that might fly in and out of NAS oceania can be even louder if they have their afterburner on.


coincidentally, we also live directly underneath the approach path to one of ohare's runways, so we also get jets flying overhead all day long to compliment the el trains. but we're about 10 miles from the end of the runway, so the planes are still several thousand feet up in the sky and not quite so loud, though still very, very audible, especially those old MD-80s.

we also live close to swedish convenant hospital, so we get a lot of ambulance sirens as well.

ah, the symphony of the city. i find dead quiet places to be a little spooky. where's the noise?
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Old Posted Aug 27, 2019, 9:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
^ LOL, such a classic chicago scene (hell, that whole fucking movie is such a classic chicago scene).

but a vanishing one. i don't think there are too many SRO's slapped up against the el tracks like that left anymore, for better or worse.
They were gritty and sketchy but there was something appealing about them. You were in the heart of the action but it was affordable.
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Old Posted Aug 28, 2019, 1:02 AM
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You don't understand the concerns about living next to an earsplitting noise every few minutes? If a pack of Harleys with altered mufflers passed by your bedroom window every few minutes, or an endlessly repeating fireworks show happened steps from your apartment, wouldn't you agree some might be annoyed?

I won't stay at the Hilton, which is like 1.5 blocks from an L train. Obviously one can get used to the noise, but others won't consider living in such close proximity. And I seriously doubt that low-flying jets are remotely comparable to the L.
"Earsplitting noise" ...Yes, some will be annoyed. But as a health issue? No.

It probably isn't the same. But I would bet you never heard a jet close up. I haven't heard the L in a long time(a dang shame) so I can't compare the two with any accuracy but it's loud enough to make the Navy alter their training paths during a music festival.

https://www.pilotonline.com/military...651cde505.html
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Old Posted Aug 28, 2019, 12:45 PM
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"Earsplitting noise" ...Yes, some will be annoyed. But as a health issue? No.
Hearing loss can occur at 80 decibels. Repeated exposure to train noise could cause hearing loss:
https://scienceline.org/2010/11/can-...-your-hearing/

I'm not saying that all, or even most will be affected, but it's an issue. And it isn't just the health risk; some don't like loud noises. When we were apartment-hunting, I wouldn't consider anyplace near Flatbush Ave., since it's a major arterial with tons of traffic. I don't want to hear honking and trucks braking.
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Old Posted Aug 28, 2019, 2:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
we have a private deck off the back of the building, a shared brick-paved patio below that, and a very small shared grass yard in front of our building, all connected by the gangway on the side. it's a different kind of outdoor play space than a typical big suburban back yard, but our kids have a ton fun with it none-the-less. they still wave to every train that goes by. and they actually refer to the landing on the exterior wood stairs that go up to our neighbors' units as their "treehouse", and they play in it as kids in a regular tree house would (gotta love city kids!).

there is absolutely zero concern of debris falling from the tracks because there is a 20' deep parking pad and a 22' wide alley ROW between our back "yard" and the elevated tracks.

as for hearing loss, i don't know if that's a real concern or not, but kids have been growing up next to the noisy-ass el tracks of chicago for well over a century now, and i've never heard anyone say anything about it. ie. there's no commonly shared knowledge saying not to do so that i'm aware of. it is pretty fucking loud when a train rumbles by, but it's a very sporadic noise that only lasts for like 5 seconds and then it's gone.

i can see how some people might be annoyed by living so close to the el, but i actually find it really cool. it makes me feel more connected to the big giant city i live within. in a weird way, it was actually kind of a selling point for me. i mean, TRAINS!!!!!!
Time for another "show us your house" or "show us the view from your back yard" thread.
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Old Posted Aug 28, 2019, 2:29 PM
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^ here's a pic from a year ago of my kids watching an el train roll past our back deck.






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I'm not saying that all, or even most will be affected, but it's an issue. And it isn't just the health risk; some don't like loud noises.
i can understand why some people wouldn't like it (hence the "el track discount" when we bought our place), but am i actually worried about sporadic 5 second bursts of 90 decibel sound from el trains rolling by every several minutes causing hearing loss in my children as they play in our back "yard"?

no, not at all.

kids have been growing up next to the el tracks for over a century now, apparently without issue.
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Old Posted Aug 28, 2019, 3:01 PM
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On a related note, I own 2 rental properties that have the L running directly behind them.

One of them is separated by a decent sized yard, so that one hasn't been a problem.

The other one is on N Bissell in the Ranch Triangle area of Lincoln Park and has the L running literally right out the rear window.

Despite being a kick ass apartment, I have often had difficulty getting the top floor apartment rented. My leasing agent tells me that countless prospects love the apartment until they get to the bedroom next to the L. Then they stop, stare out the window, and watch the L go by over and over again.

Afterwards, they leave and never call her back!
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Old Posted Aug 28, 2019, 3:11 PM
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Despite being a kick ass apartment, I have often had difficulty getting the top floor apartment rented. My leasing agent tells me that countless prospects love the apartment until they get to the bedroom next to the L. Then they stop, stare out the window, and watch the L go by over and over again.

Afterwards, they leave and never call her back!
That would be me. Love cities but hate noise. I'd rather take the crappier apartment as long as I don't have ambulance sirens, screeching buses, etc. within earshot of bedroom.
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Old Posted Aug 28, 2019, 3:26 PM
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That would be me. Love cities but hate noise. I'd rather take the crappier apartment as long as I don't have ambulance sirens, screeching buses, etc. within earshot of bedroom.
I don't know about the L, that's obviously a fixed thing that's going to keep running behind your back door over and over again forever.

But even when I lived out in Queens (Forest Hills) we would hear ambulance sirens, police cars, and honking cars all of the time. And keep in mind that I lived on the 30th floor of an apartment building. It's hard to escape those sounds in cities.

When we lived in Manhattan it was actually less noisy because we were at the back of the building (away from the street), plus I believe NYC must have some sort of law that requires emergency vehicles to switch to a lower decibel siren at nighttime. I really appreciated that when I lived there.
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Old Posted Aug 28, 2019, 3:55 PM
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If noise means you can't get to sleep, that's a serious health issue.

When back-up alarms were mandated, that must have been a big problem for anyone living near a store with late-night deliveries for example.

I bought my current place on the alley side, on a block where businesses don't have doors to the alley. It's blissfully quiet.
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