Tucson illustrated noise guide

We hear barking dogs can be quite a headache, based on the comments generated by the write-up regarding the new dog barking ordinance.

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Yet yapping Yorkies are not the only sounds around town.

While Tucson’s noise levels aren’t anywhere near those of, say, New York City, don’t expect to hear an angel dancing on a pin. As in any city with a population higher than one, Tucson does have its share of cacophony.

A quick and easy noise guide illustrates some of the more common sounds that grace our airwaves.

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Traffic is a big one for Tucson, as driving is a way of life. Boom boom mobiles, or autos that blast music so loud the car shakes, produce some of the finer clamor. Other traffic sounds include squealing, sirens and screaming among motorists.

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Leaf blowers, lawn mowers and other landscaping and yard equipment are protected under a county code that makes them exempt from being reported as noisemakers. We do wish, however, those that play with such equipment would refrain from their games on Sunday mornings or holidays, like the guy who decided to power wash his driveway on Thanksgiving. P.S. Do leaf blowers have a point other than to simply move trash and debris into the neighbor’s yard?

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Helicopter and fighter plane noises can be comforting – or a real clamor. Helicopter sounds are somewhat soothing, as it means authorities are on patrol and maybe even chasing a vagabond through a neighborhood. Fighter plane noises are often not as welcome. Both noisemakers are also protected under the Pima County codes.


Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Off-road vehicles can be fun – unless we have to listen to them. These, too, have been a headache for many, not only for their noise levels but also for the way some of their drivers can be quite inconsiderate and leave tire tracks on top of young saguaro.

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Loud or unruly gatherings are annoying enough to even have their own city noise ordinance (No. 8683). A nice, fat red sticker rewards those who violate the ordinance.

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

PDAs, or public displays of anger, prove folks don’t need a gathering to be unruly. An irate couple arguing on the sidewalk will do. As annoying as they may be, these angry couples serve a very important purpose. They remind single people why they are single. They remind folks in a relationship to count their blessings.

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Coyote howls are a cozy sound – true music to our ears.


wb-logolilWhat do you think?

What noises annoy you the most?

Which do you find most soothing?

What other noises are common around town?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at ryngargulinski.com.
This entry was posted in Crime, danger, environment, life, Police/fire/law, Stupidity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Tucson illustrated noise guide

  1. leftfield says:

    My favorite noise is the one I am making (that and the sweet music of contented and well-fed chickens).  My least favorite noise is the one my fellow is making.  

    You are correct, Ryn.  Leaf blowers serve no useful function other than to create the illusion that work is being done and something useful is being accomplished.  

    I’m off to the Tea Party celebration downtown to take pictures and stare; slack-jawed in amazement, amusement and befuddlement.  If anyone is planning on going, it is recommended you wear sunglasses.  The Health Department is warning about the possibility of eye damage from the glare of the sun reflecting off that much whiteness concentrated in one place. 

    new henson

    • Rynski says:

      dear new henson,
      i, too, am fond of well-fed animal noises, as well as them eating. i enjoy  hearing the dogs chomp their chow, rip up a bone as if it were an enemy, the sweet rat nibble noise on their kibble. sawyer makes long, contented sighing noises while he’s napping, too.
      glad to hear my leaf blower theory is substantiated. actually, i’m not glad to hear it – hahah – i was hoping that thing did serve some kind of useful function.
      have fun! at the tea party. if you get some good, juicy pix, feel free to share them! oh, and yes, wear your sunglasses – hahah.
      p.s. befuddlement is a good word.

    • AnaNymous says:

      that was the BEST Tea Party comment EVER!

  2. Karen Moseley says:

    You forgot all about the darn trains.  I work next to the tracks at Ruthrauff and some times the horn blowing is really over done.  Once the train crosses the intersection, they just continue to blow the horn, WHY??? 

    • Rynski says:

      ahhh! I KNEW! i’d leave out a good one – thanks, karen.
      yes – the trains. i noted train noises, too, were exempt as noisemakers under the county noise codes. too bad there is not a separate clause just for the horn blowing. geesh!
      i always thought train noises, like foghorns on ships, were soothing sounds – but then again, i never had to live or work near either. i’m sure my opinion would change quickly if i worked near tracks like you do.
      when i go to solar culture art gallery openings on toole ave i know everyone has to stop conversations to wait for train to pass. yick.
      hopefully someone reading will know the answer to your train horn question…is there a train operator in the house? haha

  3. Ferraribubba says:

    The most annoying noise for me is when I’m in a restaurant, trying to enjoy my meal, and the person at the next table is yacking on his/her cell-phone about the latest hemorrhoid operation, or how well her new boyfriend is endowed. “Ethel, he’s hung like a moose!”
    “Waiter, could you please bring me another double tequillia shooter, muy pronto?”
    Yer pal, Ferrari Bubba

  4. Barker says:

    Love the illustrations Ryn. My vote on noise would be trains – I can hear the whistles blowing every night when the windows are open.

    • Rynski says:

      thanks, barker!
      hmmm, another train vote. they seem less soothing every second…
      hopefully the train sounds are something you can get used to, at least? one of my friends in farwell, texas, lived next to these grain silo things that made a horrible noise all day and night. but if you were over there for more than a couple of hours, you stopped noticing the noise…it just blended in with the landscape.

  5. andrew says:

    The Ki-yote art is very appealing to me, Ryn. Soothing ki-yotes howling at the moon, snacking on someones chickens no doubt. Nuisance clara

    • Rynski says:

      hiya nuisance clara,
      glad you dig the ki-yote art! ki-yotes are some of my fave – both art and noise wise. i also like seeing them sitting in a ditch and staring at me and my dogs. it makes us feel like we matter. hahahah.

  6. James says:

    I voted ‘Traffic’ but, specifically…Harleys.  Gotta be Harleys!

    Funny that the city of Tucson decided that we can’t have scooters (which are very fuel efficient) anywhere on the roads because of the “noise”, yet we can have the ever-present BLAT-BLAT-BLAT of those bikes blasting us out of bed at all hours.

    Crotch-rockets are no better.

    • Rynski says:

      hahaha! james, that is such a great noise description of the harleys: BLAT-BLAT-BLAT. hahaha.
      that is somewhat ironic that scooters were deemed too noisy. i don’t know about harley’s in particular, but motorcycles in general that cruise down our block are pretty dang loud.
      thanks for input.

  7. azmouse says:

    I like all the airplanes and jets. They sound cool.

    • Rynski says:

      they do sound cool – i’m sure they would be less cool, tho, if we heard them 24/7.
      i’m a helicopter fan – they confuse my dogs who are not sure what to make of them. i also like to wave at them.

  8. radmax says:

    Noise is necessary Rynski; how else could one appreciate silence? 🙂
    Good captcha-‘the rested’ 😉

  9. John says:

    I hate loud car stereos!

  10. tom sherman says:

    lawn mowers r used one after another.  one quits another starts.  people should cut their grass at roughly the same time.  say in a 2 houl/day time period

  11. Nice article .I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks.

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