Hate the ‘pock-pock’ noise of pickleball? Arlington Co. has a plan

The fast-growing sport of pickleball is popular with players — but the persistent “pock-pock” sound of a plastic ball hitting paddles is annoying for neighbors living near Walter Reed Community Center in South Arlington.

Next week, Arlington County’s government plans to erect a tall acoustic fence around the combination pickleball/tennis courts at Walter Reed, which is located near South 16th Street and Walter Reed Drive, south of Columbia Pike.

The acoustic fence will be installed between Monday, Aug. 28 and Friday, Sept. 1, weather permitting, according to the county, ahead of long-term plans to build dedicated pickleball courts as part of the Walter Reed Outdoor Pickleball Court project.

However, the major project, which would include six pickleball courts with permanent sound mitigation measures and landscaping built into the design, may not begin for up to two years.

Neighbors — some who have considered legal action because of the noise — say the courts affect their quality of life. The county has posted operating hours from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and installed locks at the gates to prevent late-night play.

According to the county, play won’t be allowed until 2 p.m. each day next week, during the fence installation.

Pickleball’s popularity exploded during the pandemic, both in the county and nationally.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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