GZA completed a comprehensive noise study during a rezoning process that amended a manufacturing district to a residential district. Several New York City public policies supported the rezoning, including initiatives that promoted affordable housing, equity, economic development, and sustainability.


The property, housing a one-story structure, is adjacent to the heavily traveled Whitestone Expressway and is subject to significant vehicular noise. The proposed development would result in a nine-story, 430-unit residential building. While operational aspects of the noise study were readily observable during the rezoning review, determining future construction noise in that phase of the project was a challenge. A remarkably compressed schedule was necessary to achieve project approvals, requiring immediate mobilization of field staff and seamless coordination with the development team and acoustic professionals.


Noise specialists reviewed operational and construction noise as part of a larger Environmental Assessment effort to determine if those elements would have potential noise impact on the proposed development. Noise monitoring to assess existing vehicular traffic noise was conducted at five locations on the site during peak weekday vehicular travel periods (AM, midday, PM) on a typical midweek day for 20-minute periods. Analysis of field data on existing traffic resulted in window wall attenuation recommendations for the proposed design. Proposed traffic changes caused by the proposed development were also considered and, since the radius of the study area included LaGuardia International Airport, the initial impact analysis also considered aircraft noise; neither of those impacts were deemed to produce significant adverse impacts. While it was challenging to assess the impact of long-term construction on nearby sensitive receptors (low- to medium-density residential buildings), the team drew upon field noise data from comparable, active construction projects in the area to build a detailed acoustical model of monthly construction activity to assess impact. As a result, several construction-related noise mitigation measures were recommended, including a cantilevered construction fence, use of electric (vs. diesel) equipment where possible, minimized idling of vehicles, and alternative equipment for high-noise-generating activities such as pile driving.


GZA’s noise study facilitated the project’s rezoning by the New York City Department of City Planning, Environmental Assessment Review Division, contributing to the advancement of multiple public policy initiatives. The noise attenuation recommendations were formalized in the property’s E-Designation, incorporating measures protective of human health into this and any future developments on the site.