Cars roar down Woodward Avenue in Birmingham Saturday, April 30. The city is working with other communities and lawmakers to address the problem of loud traffic noise.

Cars roar down Woodward Avenue in Birmingham Saturday, April 30. The city is working with other communities and lawmakers to address the problem of loud traffic noise.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Birmingham addresses Woodward Avenue noise concerns

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published May 4, 2022


BIRMINGHAM — As car enthusiasts return to cruising Woodward Avenue for the spring and summer months, noise concerns have been raised by the Birmingham community.

After-market exhaust systems and modified mufflers have led to community complaints about excessive vehicle noise. Birmingham Mayor Therese Longe said this issue arises every year when the weather gets warm.

The Birmingham Police Department has worked to address these noise concerns, but there is only so much they can do within the bounds of the law.

Since Birmingham adopted the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code as their mechanism to enforce traffic laws, all laws enforced by police officers on a public roadway have to follow that code.

“I understand it’s loud, and I’m doing everything I can as chief of police to assist with reducing the problem within the limits of the law,” said Birmingham Police Chief Mark H. Clemence.

The Birmingham Police Department is not allowed to supersede the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code with local noise ordinances on public roadways.

“I can’t just take the Birmingham City Code and go out there and enforce that on a public roadway governed by the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code, which we’ve adopted as law in our city,” Clemence said.

Communities including Birmingham have reached out to state representatives to clarify language that could help further enforce noise level regulations.

“We have reached out to our state representatives. And we will continue to do that, to ask for help with this issue, but it’s unfortunately not something that we can control,” Longe said.

Birmingham has been in contact with state officials including Sens. Mallory McMorrow and Mari Manoogian to look at the issue and help find a solution.

“This is an issue we have been working on with local officials,” states an email from McMorrow’s office. “In previous legislative sessions, there have been proposals to tackle the issue of noise reduction along Woodward but they have not been successful, so our office has been exploring new and creative ways to address the issue. Conversations are ongoing and we are committed to continuing working towards a solution.”

Manoogian said in an email, “Since my first day in office, the safety, livability, and attractiveness of our community — my hometown — have been my top priorities. While I, too, enjoy the Woodward Corridor’s longstanding cruising culture, it’s clear that the excessive noise generated by cars equipped with loud aftermarket products needs to be tamped down,” said Manoogian. “That’s why I requested that the Attorney General issue an opinion on this very issue back in 2020, the response to which I have shared with City officials. I will continue to make myself and my team available to work alongside our local police department, the City attorney, and community members, as I always have, to find an equitable and enforceable alternative and enact it into law.”

Clemence said they are still doing what is in their control to help lessen the noise problem.

The Birmingham Police Department said they have flooded the area during peak times with extra patrols and are working in conjunction with their partners from Royal Oak, Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township to enforce traffic laws on Woodward Avenue and to show a very strong, visible presence.

They are also continuing to enforce other laws on the roads, such as speed limits, adherence to traffic control devices, and equipment violations.

“I just want to make sure everyone understands that we are doing everything from the Police Department perspective and from the city perspective, not only Birmingham, but Royal Oak and Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Township, to try and address the issue,” Clemence said.

In a press release sent out by the city of Birmingham, Clemence encourages the community to help reach out to state representatives to request changes that will address these noise concerns.