1. Thwack! Thwack!
Presidio Heights in San Francisco is "a rarefied community where Silicon Valley's elite mingle with affluent families," a real estate description coos. There are tennis and basketball facilities, swings and ballfields. It is also ground zero of the latest pickleball battle in America.
Holly Peterson, who lives in a 12,000-square-foot $29 million home (with a pickleball court) commanding views of the Golden Gate Bridge -- and of the free public pickleball courts--helped launch a petition asking the city to suspend pickleball in a nearby playground called Presidio Wall: "The endless racket threatens the fragile ecosystem and our community's prestige," the petition argued. Peterson said the loud whacking of pickleballs as early as 6:20 a.m. jeopardized property values, and said, "I personally have suffered irreversible damages" -- noting her own house had been on the market for six months. Peterson's neighbor also testified, describing a "frequent popping sound and the yelling and the shouting and the screaming that goes along with this very passionate sport."
San Francisco's park commission contracted with acoustics firm Salter for a noise-assessment study, which was conducted over a seven-day period. Ambient noise levels measured at about 40 decibels at several locations, including balconies and roof decks; pickleball readings spiked to as high as 94 decibels, equivalent to a hair dryer.
After review, they proceeded with a plan to take six of the 12 pickleball courts out of commission and turn them back into solely tennis courts.
(Pickleball is cross between tennis and ping pong, played with a hard ball and hard racquet, on a 1/4th size court) WSJ 22Ja24