Resident Input Wanted on Route 32 Noise Concerns

The River Hill Community Association’s (RHCA) Board of Directors (BOD) has submitted public testimony to Howard County Executive Calvin Ball’s Listening Sessions concerning the excessive noise levels experienced by residents along Route 32 between Great Star Drive and Cedar Lane. Dating as far back as 2016 when the RHCA Board of Directors met with the State Highway Administration (SHA) prior to the widening of Route 32, concerns have been raised by homeowners about the excessive noise that would result from the increased volume of traffic along this commuter corridor. However, the noise level from vehicle trips along the expanded Route 32 has recently been exacerbated by modified engines, motorcycles, and large trucks. Noise, defined as unwanted sound, is a pollutant and a health hazard for some people. The Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization have recognized that sound levels, measured in decibels (dBA), above 65 dBA during the day and 55 dBA at night can cause health concerns such as an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and sleep disturbance.

Children may experience declining reading comprehension skills and sleep disorders. The Association’s liaison volunteers, led by Janet Munro and Jim Kirk, preliminarily measured noise levels above the recommended levels at two River Hill homes during a 24-hour period in January and presented this data in written public testimony for the Howard County Listening Session. The BOD is seeking public input at its February board meeting from residents and needs volunteers. Further, the Board will consider requesting that the State of Maryland and Howard County objectively measure the noise level in the residential neighborhoods using the testing method defined by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA-PD-96-046) and present their findings at an open meeting of the RHCA Board of Directors. Further, the Board will develop a framework to work with elected officials and transportation officials to request the necessary studies and secure the funding necessary to complete the project.

If you would like to provide input and/or volunteer to help, contact Jim Kirk via email at or Janet Munro via email at