Living Near the BART Tracks

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Is living near BART tracks very noisy?

Jan 2014

Hi- We are looking to potentially buy in the Nobe/Bushrod area and wondering if living near the BART (half a block from MLK) is very loud? I am a fairly deep sleeper but just wondering how others have found the BART background noise. Thanks! Moderately sound sensitive

We lived for years across from the Rockridge BART parking lot and weren't bothered by the BART noise, even though we're pretty sensitive to noise of other kinds. The freeway noise was more noticeable, but we didn't find it bothersome and neither was loud enough to interfere with sleep. anon

When we bought our home, one block from the Del Norte station, I worried that the noise would bother me. But as a lover of train travel myself, I discovered that I actually love hearing the trains ... it sounds sort of romantic! Seriously the train noises make me happy. Hope you feel the same way. Del Norte amma

We live less than two blocks from BART. We can hear it from our house, but it's not very noticeable. I think the big issue is whether you live near where BART goes underground/comes out of a tunnel. I have a friend who lived near the tunnel exit between MacArthur and Ashby, and that was a lot louder than our house near a section of BART track that is consistently above ground. We also have double-paned windows, which I'm sure doesn't hurt. anonymous

I do find the noise of BART trains to be particularly bothersome compared to other urban sounds. I lived near the Ashby BART station for a while, and could hear the BART train at night - even though bart is below-ground at Ashby, the sound travels from where it goes above-ground in Oakland. Even from that distance it bothered me. I am glad to be near North Berkeley BART now where the train is inaudible. I hear the Amtrak train whistle from here but that is much more pleasant. Good luck in your housing hunt. sleeping well

We have lived on the corner of MLK and a numbered street between 54th and 61st (so, as close as you can get to the elevated tracks) for 6 years now and I don't find it to be disruptive. It's different than NYC's subway and other trains in that you don't have that 'cachunk cachunk' sound--it's just the whirr of the train. Which is relatively easy to ignore. I can hear it when the windows are closed but barely, and it really does become like background traffic noise.

In summer it is quite a bit louder because we keep the windows open, but again, not so awful. If we are in our yard and on the phone you have to wait until the train goes by to hear again.

It doesn't bother us when we sleep at all, though we have a toddler so it would be hard for anything to disrupt our exhaustion

In short I don't regret moving near the elevated tracks. It sounds like you will be further away from them than us, so I say if you like the house go for it! Happy to be near BART

We happen to live a 1/2 block from MLK and the BART (60th Street), and when I first moved in I was very skeptical, but to be honest, I hardly notice it. This will sound funny, but if you are a 'trains' person at all, it's actually kind of soothing. (some people love the sounds of trains!) Anyway, my 2 cents! Good luck with the move!

Keep in mind that BART starts at 4am or so, and that's when we hear it the most, 975 feet from the North Berkeley portal. Every 2-3 years BART will 'grind' the rails to match the shape of the wheels, so the sound changes over time. Overall the noise is not a bother. Bryce

Living under the BART tracks in Albany

Sept 2007

I am thinking of moving to Albany, but the only places in my price range are right under the BART tracks. Where I live now is very quiet, so I was a little bit shocked by noise from the trains passing overhead. How strongly does it impact day-to- day life? Is it something you get used to? I would love to hear from people who live in all those houses by the Ohlone Greenway bike path, which is where I am looking, or other BART tracks. Thanks. anon

I have lived in Albany for 13 years in two different houses, both next to the BART tracks. That means that yes, we moved from one house next to BART to another house next to BART, mainly for the sake of keeping our kids in the Albany schools. I can definitely say that the sound of the tracks varies from place to place, but as we have learned recently, it also varies over time depending on how well BART maintains the tracks. Over the past four years, BART has done no maintenance (track-grinding) and the sound has definitely gotten noticeably worse, as many recent letters to the editor in Albany papers attest. Even I, who am by now quite used to the sound and don't usually notice it, have been irritated by the increase in noise. Luckily, BART has just purchased new equipment and has begun resurfacing the line, but their squeaky wheels only ''get the grease'' when the community's ''squeaky wheels'' complain to them. When the tracks are well maintained, the sound does not seem particularly intrusive to me anymore inside the house--just a whoosh in the background every now and then. Currently, however, it definitely interrupts conversations outside and drowns out TV inside when it goes by. swissit

There was an article in the most recent ''Journal,'' the local weekly newspaper for Albany and El Cerrito, about BART's plans to do something to quiet the trains, so maybe there will be some improvement. For a while, I rented a house in Albany, on Evelyn Ave., a block away from the BART tracks. To me, the BART noise was always bothersome, and the electrical interference was also annoying as it briefly fouled radio & TV reception. My friend lives on Masonic, right across from BART, and she doesn't mind the noise. But, she NEVER opens her windows on the front side of her house, and that's how she copes. If you are noise sensitive, I wouldn't recommend living near BART tracks. likes quiet too

Moved 2 few blocks from the BART tracks on Gilman near boogie woogie bagel boy 3 years ago. At first i thought i would never get used to the tracks - within a month, i didn't hear them anymore. Also on the plus side, you are near the greenbelt - great place to walk the dog, etc. Good luck! Teri

Hi, We live on Evelyn, about 1 block below the BART tracks. Young kids love it - my nephews think it's a treat to visit a house and see BART. Personally I have a problem with it, but it is worth the sacrifice for the schools. It is exceptionally loud right now, but the mayors of El Cerrito and Albany have finally gotten BART to agree to straighten the tracks, which should reduce the noise quite a bit. During the day I really don't care. It's when they start up, around 5am, that it's hard. Our bedroom is the closest to it, though, without any trees for barrier or anything. When we lived in a different bedroom in the house, it was a non-issue. Good luck making your decision. I'd say, consider it a definite sacrifice and then decide if it's a sacrifice worth making. eob

Oh my god, BART is soooooo loud. I have a dear friend who lives just on the Ohlone Greenway at Gilman, and her entire apartment shakes and no one can speak when that damn train goes by. Forget about talking on the phone, too. After experiencing this I will never live close to the BART tracks. Lisa in Oakland

I used to live on Key Route Blvd. in Albany. The tracks were outside my back yard, and it was noisy. I got used to it eventually, but everyone has different tolerances. It may be a harder adjustment for someone who currently lives in a quiet 'hood. One thing to keep in mind: what rooms are closest to the tracks? Our bedroom was in the back of the house, which faced the tracks, and it was louder there. When I lived there (it's been a few years) about once a month BART ran a train that checked the tracks. It rolled by slowly in the middle of the night (3 or 4 AM), but had really bright lights. The first time it came by, I thought a UFO had landed in the back yard! Good luck making your decision. Kim

Hello, for three years I lived on Key Route Boulevard between Marin and Gilman, on the hill side of the street facing the BART tracks. You can't escape the BART noise anywhere in Albany really, but yes, the sound of the train really is loud from those homes right next to the tracks. The first night I slept in my house there, I thought I wouldn't be able to stand it but ... amazingly enough I got used to it and can honestly say that it stopped registering after a week or so. The sound inside the house wasn't bad at all--even with only single paned windows--but outside in the yard was kind of loud. You have to pause your conversations for a moment or two. If the place you live now is very quiet, it may take a while to get used to. BART only runs every twenty minutes or so and not at all during the night, though, so I actually found the sound of the railroad trains down in Berkeley below San Pablo Avenue more bothersome at night. Most of my neighbors were people who had lived on that street for decades--so I think it's actually a really wonderful location if you do get used to the sound, and the Greenway is great for walking and biking. Former Albany Resident