How Phoenix-area residents can track neighborhood noise levels

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(Source: National Transportation Noise Map) (Source: National Transportation Noise Map)

It's noisy out there. With at least six airports and about a dozen freeways, the Valley of the Sun is a loud place to live.

No surprise here, Sky Harbor Airport and its surrounding neighborhoods are some of the loudest in the Valley.

As the Phoenix area expands, quiet places are becoming harder and harder to find. 

 A relatively new map made by the U.S. Department of Transportation helps point them out. It compiles street and airport traffic data and color codes it much like a weather map. The more intense the color, the louder the area. 

According to that map, Queen Creek and Carefree as one of the quietest areas in the Valley. 

"It's very quiet back here, very beautiful," said Seth Nichols, who likes hiking Black Mountain trail for that very reason. 

Farther south, Rio Salado park in Tempe is one of the noisier places in town, according to the map. It registers between 55 and 65 decibels, about the same as an air conditioner unit running 100 feet away.

 "One of the reasons why I moved to Phoenix, the faster pace of life," said Xavier Talton.  

You can start to lose your hearing from continued exposure to 85 decibels, the same loudness as a blender.

There's nowhere in the Valley that loud, so long as you're not standing on any airport runways. 

Thankfully, Arizona as a whole is a relatively quiet state with plenty of silent space, to which you can escape to avoid the clamor if you wish. 

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