Madison can be a noisy place, but it’s often hard to pin down the biggest culprit. Is it the constant clatter of construction? Is it the “woo-girls” ambling back home after a fishbowl too many at Wando’s? Or maybe it’s open-wheeled transportation like the Madtown Hopper, shuttling folks home to the tune of their choice of music?
The city seems to be hedging its bets on the Hopper. Under a proposed new ordinance, motor vehicles, pedal-cabs and commercial quadricycles would be held legally responsible for any music that could be heard from 50 feet away, a downgrade from the current legal limit of 75 feet.
Amir Morning, owner and operator of the Madtown Hopper, says this could deal a huge blow to his business. In a statement to The Cap Times, he notes that music is a huge part of how he gets his customers. Because the Hopper is electric, Morning contends they need to announce themselves, sometimes loudly. “(People) hear us before they see us,” he says.
But Ald. Ledell Zellers, District 2, makes a fair point: “The concern was we didn’t want that proliferating and have kind of a noise war for these kinds of vehicles.”
There are definite pros and cons to this proposal. On the plus side, it will do a great job in reducing the often obnoxious noise that pours out of some pedal-cabs. Tone Madison’s Chris Lay explained this perfectly in his hilarious 2014 deconstruction of trolley pubs. But then again, no one wants to be an old man yelling at clouds, berating the kids with their gol-darn loud hippity-hop music — especially in a city with such a rising population of young people. (Like you, dear reader… right? Yas queen?)