Pickleball players came closer to having a tennis court striped at the Palisades Recreation Center today.
At a Zoom meeting, the Board of Recreation and Park Commissioners voted to approve tennis court #7 striped for pickleball – provided the noise limit was checked before, to ensure that the sound did not exceed noise limits.
Since residences abut the tennis courts, Commissioner Joe Halper asked for a sound check to ensure there would no problems.
If no sound issues are found, the commissioners voted to go forward with the striping. The total cost will be $28,000 and will include replacement of the windscreens surrounding the tennis courts, resurfacing the tennis courts and the addition of hybrid pickle ball lines onto the tennis court #7.
Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the nation, but it has also garnered numerous noise lawsuits.
The L.A. Time reported in March that “Pickleball Noise is Fueling Neighborhood Drama from Coast to Coast” and YouTube has many stories about the noise “Driving Neighbors to Build New Walls,” “Pickleball Playing Leads to Noise Complaints in Berkeley” and in Philadelphia “Noise from Pickleball Court Has Nearby Community Fed Up.”
Even the Wall Street Journal reported in June that “Thwack. Pop. Whack. Pickleball Noises Turn Neighbors into Activists.”
The sport has been described as a cross between tennis and ping pong played on a badminton-size court.
In a July 26 Forbes article (“Here’s Why Pickleball – the Fastest-Growing Sport in American – Is Bill Gates’ Favorite Game”), Bill Gates says the game has gained traction because it is simple to learn, easy to play and includes all ages and “it’s just super fun.”
The average noise level coming from a pickleball court is measured around 70 decibels at 100 feet from the court, which is reduced to 64 decibels at 200 feet from the court.
The Greenwich Pickleball newsletter described a noise study done in 2017 in Santa Rosa.
“With 24 active Pickleball players wacking away, decibel levels were 43 to 49 dB. Without noise from Pickleball play, ambient levels were measured at 40-48 dB. These sound measurements were taken from the neighbors’ decks and patios.
“In this case, the decibel levels of Pickleball play didn’t violate town or community standards, and weren’t that much higher than ambient noise, but neighbors still perceived Pickleball noise as intrusive.
“Because of this perception, the community was planning to add some sound dampening features even though the courts were within city noise ordinances.
“Oakmont Village planned carefully and showed respect for all members of their community,” the newsletter concluded.
CTN received two letters from readers about the sport.
“Thank you for pointing out the Pickle Ball noise issue. As a tennis player, I find the sound dreadful if I can hear it while I am playing,” the resident said. “Additionally, when I am enjoying the park, the Pickle Ball sound makes me want to pull hair out.”
Another wrote, “You should also know that Pickleball has taken off in the Palisades like wildfire. It started over two years ago when the gym was closed due to Covid. It started with a smattering of former badminton players and has grown to well over 100 to date and growing.
“There is a genuine sense of community/camaraderie among players,” the reader continued. “Sportsmanship is a byword as players regularly applaud opponents and advanced players applaud, encourage beginners.
“It’s easy to learn, except for the scoring system. It’s been compared to ping pong on ‘steroids.’ The mix of players is wildly heterogenous, young, old, rich, more moderate income folks, black, brown, Asian, Caucasian, etc. A recent New Yorker article was titled ‘Can Pickleball Save America,’” the reader concluded.
It seems like the commissioners chose a balanced approach.
Halper said, “I don’t want to delay the vote/approval, I just want to make sure the noise level is checked.”