Over the past twenty years, more than one hundred American cities, mainly in California, passed bans or limits on the use of gas-powered leafblowers.
Now additional cities are joining the list at an accelerating pace. The latest development is from Lincoln, Massachusetts, as reported in The Lincoln Squirrel. In the storied tradition of New England small-town governance, the measure was adopted by a public vote at a town meeting, 112-106.
The Squirrel article reports:
Supporters argued that gas-powered leaf blowers are unacceptably noisy and polluting and harm Lincoln’s rural atmosphere. “Gas blowers are the most polluting machine ever made,” one resident said. …
Eric Harris, who lives near Route 2, said he doesn’t notice the highway traffic noise much, “but the difference when you have a leaf blower is enormous, not just decibels but the kind of noise it makes — it’s the kind of noise you can’t escape from. I wish this proposal had been more draconian than it is.”
“This is a reasonable solution to a problem that’s resulted in over 70 unsolicited complaints on our website,” said John Koenig, a member of the Leaf Blower Study Committee, which has been studying the issue for several years and proposed the bylaw.
Lincoln includes Walden Pond. Had Henry David Thoreau been on hand for this town meeting, there presumably would have been at least 113 Yes votes.
Update The Quiet Communities site has a nice report on this development, with the headline “Making Thoreau Proud Again.”