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Strategies for living on a busy street?

Emily H
5 years ago




Do you now or have you ever lived on a busy street? Did you have any strategies that helped you with noise or with traffic and parking? What worked for you?


Share your experience! (photos encouraged)

Comments (38)

  • hushplease
    5 years ago

    I never put anything on my porch that can be carried away with two hands. It can invite trouble. People who are passing my house are going somewhere and they don't need the distractions.

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  • frenchtarragon
    5 years ago
    double paned windows and top down bottom up shades.
  • BJ
    5 years ago

    Framed, beveled glass window panes hung in the front windows to provide privacy while still letting in natural light.

  • hermothersdaughter
    5 years ago
    Plantation shutters with separate top and bottom louvers.
  • chloebud
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    The best solution is NOT buying/renting there.

    The closest we came was a previous home. The backyards of the neighbors across the street from us backed up to a busy street. They really couldn't use their backyards due to traffic noise. Busy streets and traffic noise would be a deal breaker for me. I'll never understand it not bothering people.

    I remember looking at a home once where the backyard was about 30' from a freeway. The noise was unreal. The realtor told us lots of people considered the sound "soothing"...like the sound of the ocean. Yeah, right.

  • Laura Doyle
    5 years ago

    Japanese blueberry trees make a wonderful hedge that also absorbs some of the traffic noise, and double or triple-paned windows will make you forget there's even a street.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Nice hedge across the front and a water feature where you sit in the back you would be surprised how much those 2 things help with street noise. Also triple paned windows for interior quiet.It is true that some noises become background, we lived near a busy airport and after wawhile we relly didn’t notice the noise until we would have company and they would make a comment.

  • katinparadise
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I lived on a 4 lane road for 26 years. Backing out into the road was an art developed over time. When my son was learning to drive, he backed out of the driveway and was facing the wrong direction into oncoming traffic! My girlfriend refused to pull out of my driveway and always parked at a commercial property nearby and walked over. I added triple pane windows that were filled with styrofoam to absorb vibrations. I also planted a boxwood hedge all across the front of my yard. It helped with everything except the tractor trailers who used their jake brakes on their way to stopping on the corner. When we finally moved, I told my husband absolutely no main roads in the new house. Now we're on a quiet street with limited traffic access. I can actually enjoy sitting in my backyard without all sorts of background noise.

  • gustaviatex
    5 years ago

    I once lived on a busy 4-lane street. The house had a circular driveway or you would have never been able to back out into the traffic. Events and celebrations had to be planned for the number of cars that could fit in the drive and the circular part; no street parking and cross streets where you could park were too far to walk. I don't recall noise issues; the house sat back a ways from the street, but never again. Too difficult.

  • User
    5 years ago

    What street - oh, that one - it's 1/4 mile down my driveway. My project - cottage in the woods will be - yeah, in the woods - won't be able to see the street. Besides there will be a large pond in the way! LOL

  • pennydesign
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    When we were first married we rented on a busy street....I have no strategy for backing out of the driveway..except maybe praying.

    I don't think the dust factor has been brought up yet so I'll add that open windows just didn't happen....

    Noise didn't bother me too much...

    I did LOVE being within walking distance to mom and pop shops. I miss that.

  • JOANIE STRUTHERS
    5 years ago

    we sold our old house really fast so we didnt have the time to really look for a new place and grabbed up the one we are now in . What a big mistake , its on a corner , leading to a popular school . every body must be dog crazy as they seem to have 3 dogs per home so not only do we get speeding cars we get to hear dogs barking ALL of the time . I bought an air horn and I let it blow when the dog noise is a bit much . Along with those issues we really really hate our house !

  • PRO
    Nancy Mellen Garden Design
    5 years ago

    I have an antique home that sits 3' from the sidewalk and have people looking in all the time. At night we close our raised paneled shutters for privacy and lessen the noise, otherwise, we aren't in the front rooms. Patricia is right, if you have the room, use sound absorbing shrubs and a water feature to distract you. Virtually all of our land is the the back yard where we have a patio, garden house, fountain, and gardens; thus, the road noise doesn't bother us.

  • jenniferruth
    5 years ago

    If you are considering buying/renting on a busy road
    (perhaps because that will enable you to buy a house sooner, or because it will
    allow you to live close to work, or because you’ve found the Victorian house of
    your dreams and it’s right downtown), keep these things in mind:

    Choose a place where a nearby traffic signal causes breaks
    in the traffic, enabling you to back out of the driveway. We lived on a busy road, and that traffic
    signal was a life saver (perhaps literally as well as figuratively!),
    particularly since I’m a timid driver.

    Our next house was on a quiet road but was half a block plus
    the width of a street from the freeway. For the first three nights we were
    there, I was aware of the freeway noise but was far enough away for it not to
    be bothersome. After the first three nights, the noise faded into the
    background and really did become soothing. I actually missed it when we moved
    away. Before you buy near a freeway, listen to the noise of the traffic at
    various times of the day to be sure that you’re far enough for it not to be
    bothersome.

    One more suggestion: before you buy a house on a busy road
    or very close to a freeway, be aware that the house will indeed be harder to
    sell. People expect to get a real bargain in exchange for putting up with a
    busy road, so be very sure you don’t over-pay. You don’t want to find, when it’s
    time to move on, that you owe more than you can get (especially since you’ll
    also have to pay the realtor’s commission).

  • PRO
    Pasadena Mercantile & Woodworks | Pasadenaville
    5 years ago

    Repeating what was mentioned above, but I can't say enough on good double (and there are triple) paned windows to insulate the noise.

  • lbfunke
    5 years ago

    Has anyone tried Indow soundproofing window inserts? I am considering them for some of our original Victorian-era windows. Thank you.

  • User
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    @Ibfunke Depends on what you get and your style of windows. The cheapest is window foam inserts which will dampen sound but not totally block it. Some people don't even hear any difference. Cons: reduction of natural light. And it's ugly. Another type is interior acrylic or glass that you screw into your window frame from the inside via a metal frame that holds the glass or acrylic "window". It puts a couple inches of air between the window and the room. Most DIY use this type. However, unless you get the acoustic grade glass or laminated glass, you won't find it a big difference. It might be OK for minor noises, but not for constant loud noises like traffic, airplanes, etc. Also if your windows are double hung the installation will be troublesome. Windows won't look the same and it can diminish the value of your house.

    You might be better off money wise to look at a retro refit of double glazing window system. I presume you have single pane windows. Retrofitting is cheaper than new double glazed window.

    Also consider installing storm windows. Another layer of glass helps to cut the sound and improve insulation. The thicker the storm window the better. Also look at how well your frames are sealed. If not, you'll want to reseal them with a good long lasting special acoustical sealant in all the cracks around windows, doors, walls where windows meet.

    Also curtains, blinds/shutters will also help reduce outside noise. Honeycomb shades are best for sound reduction. Wood is porous and will absorb some of the sound, too.

    BTW consider this: acoustic foal is not safe in a fire - composed mostly of polyurethane which released high smoke levels when burning.

  • jessbiddle
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Funny, we bought an old house on Main St and it's quieter than when we lived on a corner where you heard every set of bad breaks. If you sleep in the front, I would suggest a white noise machine, especially during Harley season. I enjoy being able to walk to town, watch people walking and jogging by, decorating the house for holidays and being near the schools. I've been thinking about that water feature idea. I may have to add that! Oh, and our windows are like 180 years old!

  • emspher
    5 years ago

    I live on a moderately busy street and I always back into my driveway. Practice a few times and it will be a piece of cake' practice in a parking lot if you are too uncomfortable. You do need a slight lull in traffic. If there is traffic too close behind me, I pull onto the shoulder. You can easily make that 90 degree turn in reverse.


  • anne1121
    5 years ago

    I live in a 100 yr old Victorian and love the noise. The one and only thing no one has mentioned is all the horrible dust that settles everywhere. I live on a soft curve with the fairgrounds across the street with a hugh hill behind this. Great for the 4th of July!!! And, yes we have a 1,000 gal pond in the back.

  • Robbi
    4 years ago

    The front of our house faces the ocean, the back a busy road. In the back part of the house we used Quiet Rock drywall and sound deadening insulation. I had seen a story on TV about a contractor building an apartment building near a freeway and they said they used Quiet Rock, so when we remodeled we decided it was worth the investment. We also used windows that were rated well for sound insulation. It made a huge difference. We can't do anything about the traffic, but now it's much quieter in our house.

  • chiflipper
    4 years ago

    Four lanes / corner house right next to the gigantic wall separating my property from the on-ramp to eight lane State Highway. Bought for "a song" / remodeled to eliminate all windows on the street side / no street parking allowed, got a variance for a garage. Garage was built between the master bedroom and the street so to provide sound elimination. Huge backyard with pool. Drawback was the dust, had to clean my roof AC compressor 3x a year. Central Phoenix, made a great profit, sold in one week. The worst part of "city" living is getting to the freeway, much easier when you live next to it.

  • Cheryl Smith
    4 years ago
    Back INTO the driveway when you get home so you can just drive out in the morning. Pull up to the curb and wait for an opening. Lots easier than having to do it when you're rushed to get to work.
  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
    4 years ago

    I lived on a busy street for about 18 months. Never got used to the noise of cars speeding by. So I moved to a quiet street with 2 dead ends. Been here over 30 years. Before you buy a house, make sure you LISTEN as well as look.

  • Bettina Hooper
    4 years ago

    One of Irma's tornados destroyed our hillside house so we're renting in a small Caribbean fishing village. The main road runs between our front porch and the bay beach; lots of foot traffic; everyone looks in. I bought 8' wide, 5 foot long matchstick bamboo blinds; short, so we can lash the bottom to the porch rail on windy days. Our landlord told us to chain the furniture but it's such a pain to use and cleanaround, I think we'll remove them- it's been 6 months, people have replaced lost furniture by now.

    The road was destroyed and our GF apartment was underwater (tarmac & concrete slabs were in, around & behind the apartment villas). The road has been entirely rebuilt but not paved and currently being used by A LOT of heavy construction vehicles; I'm hoping the blinds will help control the dust. We could have gone with solid, sunbrella type blinds, but need at least some sea breeze during the summer.

    I LOVE the village and neighbors but hadn't realized how much the utter lack of privacy would bother me.

  • writerinfact
    4 years ago

    I lived on the second and third floors on Main Street, a block and a half from the nearest traffic light and across from a cemetery for 8 years. It also happened to be under the holding pattern for Newark Airport. Besides the fact that the landlord refused to insulate the walls or fix the roof leaks, the noise wasn't too bad. As for getting from the driveway to the street, you sort of get used to making a K-turn using both your own and the neighbor's driveways, and driving out, making the all-important right turn and going around the block if you need to go left, coming down to Main Street at the light a quarter-mile down. I suppose neither the dust nor the noise was too bad because we were above the worst. There was no yard, front or back. My next house - my forever home - will be smack dab in the middle of my 200 or so acres. No noise except for my own dogs, horses, goats, sheep, chickens, and cow.

  • Carol Sybrowsky
    4 years ago

    Forty five years ago my new husband and I bought a house on what WAS a fairly quiet street. Then the city put in a grammar school and a middle school about 3 blocks from the house. For a while the morning traffic and noise was a real problem. Then the city put in some stop lights which slowed down the traffic and at least allowed us (after about a a 5 minute wait) to get out of our driveway to go to work in the morning. During the day big trucks still rumble down he street because the road is a "short cut". Interestingly, the house and back yard are very quiet. We rented it out because we did not want to live there when our son was young. However, now that we are retired, I don't think it would be too bad to live there because we don't have to try to get in and out of the driveway when traffic is heavy.

    By the way, I prefer to live on a through street rather than a cul de sac. Neighborhood children don't use a through street and neighborhood yards as a playground.

  • Margaret Bannerman
    4 years ago

    It's surprising how much noise reduction there is with a solid fence--wood, brick, stucco. Bushes are nicer, but not as effective.

  • User
    4 years ago

    Woods are also very effective at not only noise reduction but also soaking up rain water (100 gallons daily) depending size, type, age). Best flood control one can ever have. :)

  • Anastasya
    4 years ago

    If I lived on a busy street and the house was completely in my own with the land, then I would not tolerate noise around, and probably would put an acoustic barrier fence. My friends did so, and in their yard the noise really decreased.

  • Kathleen
    4 years ago
    If your back garden is private, or has more space, plan your outdoor activities toward it. If, in the budget, open up the back of the house focusing on the back, rearrange your rooms, windows and doors toward the back. I disagree with the posts about resale. Many desirable inner city neighborhoods are bustling hives of activity that people want to live in.
    There have been many articles on Houzz showing Homes on small lots in cities. London especially.
  • Joan D
    4 years ago
    I put a product called Citiquiet windows in my apartment in Midtown Manhattan, one of the loudest areas in the country. They block everything except sirens and jackhammers. Truly, it is like walking into a soundproof chamber. It’s a laminate product in a narrow frame that sits an inch or so off the actual window and provides extraordinary sound deadening. You can find the same principal in actual replace,net windows but it would be exorbitantly expensive to replace your windows. There are several companies that produce the laminate product or you might be able to make your own if you are handy. Outside, I’ve used fountains...anything from tabletop to installed wall fountains made of granite....to block unwanted noise. They do a nice job on any budget.
  • User
    4 years ago

    @Joan D: Yes, Laminated windows (one brand is Citiquet) are very popular glass windows. Basically they have a PVB (polyvinyl butyl layer aka vinyl in-between two glass layers. So it becomes a safety glass and can eliminate noise as long as there is enough air layers in between the 3 sheets (glass & vinyl). It's the vinyl layer that provides the protection from shattered glass as it will stick to the vinyl if it's broken from the outside or inside. Glass cutters don't work well on this type either.


    As for noise, yeah, it is as advertised wether you are keeping noise from the outside getting inside or visa versa such as loud telly or music blasting. You won't annoy your neighbors anymore! :)


    As for disadvantages, unless you know what you are doing, get a pro to install it. More problems occur because a DIY didn't really know how to install laminated glass correctly. And yes, it is a bit more expensive than normal glass windows, but in many cases it is well worth the difference.


    Houzz has a few articles about safety glass.

  • queenvictorian
    4 years ago

    We solved the problem of noisy busy streets by buying a house on a quiet side street. The house is made out of stone, brick, and plaster, so it's very quiet inside. Despite being only a couple blocks from major streets, the rows of other houses and trees make a pretty good buffer. Predominant outdoor sound in the evening is the insect chorus. This is a fairly urban neighborhood in city proper, too. The house ended up being in a very good location in regards to noise concerns.


    One house we looked at while house shopping was perfect in just about every way, except it was just off the intersection of a very busy two lane street (which proved difficult to back out onto from the driveway due to traffic) and an extremely busy four lane road that was basically a highway with stoplights. Instant deal breaker for me. I didn't particularly like the more suburban location, either.

  • Joan D
    4 years ago

    Our laminate windows were applied inside the sill not inside the glass windows so the cost was relatively small. They can be opened easily to clean the windows although the glass rarely gets dirty because of the laminate addition or for ventilation. So you don’t have the expense of replacing your windows in this application and it works great. It’s also inobtrusive because the frame around the laminate is very narrow.

  • silviakunst
    4 years ago
    Your house is beautiful ! That said ...if you have room to put some trees or higher shrubs ...?? I would get shudders for the Windows and double or triple Windows ...a water feature which make a soothing noise ...as mentioned by someone else ...and when you have guests or for yourself put on soothing music and speakers near the Windows ....not much else you can do ...enjoy your house !!!
  • silviakunst
    4 years ago
    Ps ... I live on a street where some like to race by the houses ...so , I asked the town to put speed bumps on my street ...it took a while but with signatures from all the neighbors ...I got over 400 signatures ...it was done ...also I got a traffic light near us ..now the driving habits of others have become quiet and more respectful ..., if you have children in the house...or your neighbors have children ...there is ground for more slow down protection from the town ......so, see what you can do in your neighborhood ...it looks like a beautiful neighborhood that you live in ..perhaps it's a row of historic houses ...? Perhaps you can make the portion of your street into a " historic "walkway ?? Plant trees on the street ...on both sides ..??? It would be worth a try .....!
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