Vasona/Capitol/Tasman-East Light Rail Projects
Having provided the original noise and vibration, air quality and energy impact studies for the environmental review phase of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's Vasona Light Rail Project, this consultancy was selected to conduct tests and analyses of existing sound insulating properties of wayside residential units, as part of the implementation phase for the Authority's sound insulation improvement program for the three light rail projects. Roughly 150 affected units were inspected for the purpose of gathering the pertinent data on exterior door types and sealing, dimensions of rooms, windows, doors, and glazing thickness. With the detailed data on each unit in hand, noise levels that would exist in the future with the trains in service were projected for each living space of each unit. Certain categories of window and door replacement products were then specified that would bring about attainment of the interior noise level goal. The project architect was given assistance with the process of selecting products that would be acoustically effective, given the particular frequency characteristics of light rail train running noise.
Santa Clara Valley Water District Treated Water Improvement Projects
Changes in air contaminant emissions that would be brought about by improvements to three treatment plants were projected, for the District, for purposes of environmental review.
US 101/Route 85, Route 87/85 & Route 17/85 Interchanges Projects
Noise studies of these Caltrans-owned interchange projects were prepared for the sponsoring agency, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, on separate occasions. Existing noise levels were monitored and future levels were projected using the FHWA's traffic noise model. Various alternative wall designs were developed and investigated, and benefits to the adjacent receptors were calculated. Consultations were held with Caltrans and other project participants regarding the intended implementation of the cost effectiveness guidelines of Caltrans.
Reid Hillview Airport Air Contaminant Emission
The emissions that are associated with aircraft operation were estimated, in support of master plan development for the airport. The work involved performing a regressions analysis that combined US EPA test data with detailed information on the types of aircraft that are based at the airport.
Beer Distributor's Refrigeration Equipment Re-Location
A local distributor was moving its operations at a refrigerated warehouse to a larger warehouse in an adjacent city. Existing noise emissions from the outdoor refrigeration equipment were measured, and resultant noise levels at the neighboring businesses near the new warehouse were forecast. The provisions of the noise ordinance of the city were analyzed and applied to the new source. Suitable dimensions of an enclosure for the equipment were specified, so that the equipment would not bring about a violation of the noise ordinance.
Development of a Small Commercial Building
This mere 3,000-square foot building that would contain retail shops required a noise study to demonstrate that future noise levels on the site would be acceptable for the proposed use, and also to show that the HVAC equipment would not exceed Municipal Code performance standards at the property line. Train noise and vehicular traffic noise were measured on the site in order to provide a basis from which to project future noise levels. Existing HVAC noise from a building on an adjacent site was measured, and for the new building's HVAC equipment the maximum sound power that would meet the performance standard at the property line was calculated for various setbacks of the equipment from the property line. A suitable design for an enclosure that would further reduce HVAC noise was described.
An Interchange for Routes 156/152 in Santa Clara County
Existing traffic noise was measured and passing vehicles were classified as to type. Future noise levels were projected for the proposed interchange— for the lead environmental consultant for the project
Route 87 Lawsuit
A homeowner sued the Joint Powers Board that was responsible for the construction of Route 87, a new freeway in San Jose. Dr. O'Connor, the Proprietor of this consultancy, was retained by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority to provide testimony regarding the extent of the project's impacts and the mitigation that had been offered (the attorney for Caltrans took the lead in the defense of the Board).
Salinas Valley and City of Fremont Landfills
Two comprehensive toxic air contaminant health risk assessment studies were prepared for two authorities that plan expansions of four existing landfills: three in the Salinas Valley and one in the City of Fremont. Methane production and emissions of toxic air contaminants were estimated from basic data about the waste stream, for both the landfills and for the associated transfer stations, and cancer risks and other potential health effects that would be sustained by nearby residents were estimated for a host of contaminants (including diesel exhaust particulate matter).
Pacific Bell Fiber Optic Node Cabinets
The cabinets are terminal equipment that was intended to bring fiber optic cabling to residential areas. They contain standby generators, driven by a natural-gas-powered engine, that function during power outages so as to ensure continuity of service. The generators make some noise, and so measurements were made of the emissions, for the public works departments of the cities of Campbell and San Jose. The abating effect of enclosures was evaluated and the resultant levels were compared with each community's standards for acceptable noise levels.
Heald College Noise Study
Responding to concerns expressed by College officials, the project engineer for an intersection improvement project requested an acoustical evaluation of the project's impacts because it would move some traffic closer to the College's classrooms. Noise level measurements were made inside and outside of the classrooms and projected future levels with the project completed were compared with standards for background noise in classrooms.
The union representing transit drivers in Santa Clara County sued regarding a reduction in service that they claimed was a discretionary project that was subject to environmental review. Dr. O'Connor was retained to provide estimates of the overall effects of the reduction in service on vehicular emissions in the County, and he provided a declaration to Superior Court that conveyed the results of the analysis.
Rite Aid HVAC Equipment Noise
A Rite Aid store had installed a new HVAC unit on the roof, and fan noise from it had annoyed a nearby resident. Measurements were made along the property line at two elevations, and the results were compared with the standards set in the City's noise ordinance.
Equinix Standby Diesel Generators
This computer ‘server farm’ operator plans a new farm that will require as many as 12 large diesel-generator sets on standby, in order to maintain operations during power outages. A dispersion analysis was performed an estimates were thereby made of the cancer risks to nearby residents that would be associated with the diesel exhaust particulate matter emissions. Consultations were held with the local air pollution control authority and with the City concerning best available controls and the current status of the permitting process for such installations.
Four New School Sites: Morgan Hill, Gilroy & Salinas, California
Noise studies were prepared for each of the sites. Existing noise levels were measured, future levels were projected, and measures to abate roadway noise intrusion, such as berms or soundwalls, were developed for some of the campuses.
Comprehensive (Santa Clara) County Expressway Planning Study
There are eight expressways, and this consultant was hired to provide data and estimates to the prime contractor pertaining to the effectiveness of existing soundwalls on the expressways and to the extent to which new or better soundwalls were needed. Every bit of frontage along each of the expressways was videotaped using a vehicle-mounted camera, and frames derived from the videotapes at hundreds of locations were analyzed using a computer program that was devised for that purpose. The program allowed metrical data from aerial photographs representing the horizontal dimensions to be combined with vertical data from the videotape frames (e.g., angles representing heights of existing walls) in such a way that noise levels at receptors were immediately estimated in an interactive manner, using whatever prospective soundwall height was entered. The prime contractor was thus able to arrive at cost estimates for improving existing soundwalls and providing new soundwalls for the entire County, which is the most populous county in the San Francisco Bay area.
Condominium Owners Sue Caltrans
A declaration was given by the Proprietor of this consultancy that the attorney for Caltrans submitted to Superior Court, in support of a motion for summary judgment to remove Caltrans from the matter. It principally dealt with the noise abatement process that is followed by Caltrans in the particular circumstances of a new roadway project being completed at about the same time as a new and adjacent residential development.
Del Monte Site Noise & Air Quality
To fulfill the purposes of the City of San Jose’s environmental review process, a noise analysis and a train vibration screening analysis were prepared for apartments and condominiums that are planned for a project site that is between two active rail lines. An air quality impact analysis was also prepared. The noise and vibration studies focused on the compatibility of the site for the proposed use, given the noise and vibration due to the train passbys and to vehicular traffic on local streets. Existing noise levels were monitored, and future noise and vibration levels at the proposed units were estimated. The outdoor/indoor attenuation factors that would be needed to reduce intruding train noise to acceptable levels in interior spaces were determined. The air quality study contained estimates of project-related emissions and of local carbon monoxide concentrations as affected by project-generated vehicle trips. The significance of the air quality impacts was determined in accordance with the standards of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
Masonic Drive Condominiums Air Quality
The City of San Jose required an air quality study of the potential impacts of this condominium development that was proposed for construction on a site near a freeway. The air quality study contained estimates of project-related emissions and of local carbon monoxide concentrations as affected by project-generated vehicle trips. The significance of the impacts was determined by applying the standards of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
Hayes Residential Project
Noise and air quality impact analyses were prepared for the environmental review phase of this Fort Ord reuse plan subdivision development. Abatement of existing roadway noise was proposed in the form of walls or fences of specified heights, and ventilation of selected units so as to allow closed-window operation in the summer. There were conferrals with the project engineer during the final design phase over details pertaining to the abatement measures.
US 101, I 580 and Route 17 Auxiliary Lanes
Three noise studies were prepared for the sponsoring authorities of these three separate San Francisco Bay area projects that will add lanes to Caltrans-owned facilities. A number of soundwall alignments were proposed and the benefits of soundwalls of various heights were compiled, using methods acceptable to Caltrans and the FHWA. Numerous apartment units, on sites that were posted ‘no-trespassing’, were aligned along Route 17 but were shielded from view by terrain features, trees and shrubs. Consequently aerial photographs were taken, in order to further define the impacts of the project and the benefits of the proposed soundwalls to the tenants. Along US 101 in San Mateo County, soundwalls with ‘dipped’ sections to allow lines of sight to businesses on frontage roads were investigated in order to respond to concerns of business owners.
City of Pleasant Hill Noise Element
A noise element is a component of a general plan. For the prime contractor, who was preparing a draft of a new general plan, background information on noise exposures in the City and summary information on the City's several existing noise policies were provided. The required future noise contour map of the City was also produced.
Traction Power Substation Noise
Transformer noise was measured for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, at a traction power substation along the Authority's new Capitol Avenue light rail line. The staff of the Authority assisted by conducting coordinated train runs for the tests. Special software was developed to filter out the substantial background noise that persisted during the measurement, so as to allow determination of whether or not the Authority's standard was being exceeded.
Chiller Compressor Noise Abatement
Twin chiller compressors on the roof of the Crystal Springs Uplands School gymnasium were annoying a nearby resident. Acoustical blankets were designed and installed, to reduce compressor noise emissions.
Sirf Technologies Diesel Generator Set
To meet the City of San Jose's environmental review requirements, toxic air contaminant health risks were estimated using the US EPA's Industrial Source Complex model, meteorological data from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and state toxicity guidelines. Emissions of the various exhaust components were also estimated.
Sunnyvale Mathilda Avenue Bridge Rehabilitation Project
For this project to upgrade a bridge that crosses freight and commuter rail (Caltrain) tracks, existing community noise levels were measured and future levels were forecast. The forecasting process involved digitally modeling the plans for the rehabilitated bridge using a three-dimensional noise model. Also investigated was the potential effectiveness of placing shields along the railing of the bridge, to reduce traffic noise levels at nearby residences.
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