In the small parking lot, the shrubs are blooming. It's one of the first really nice days of the year. Only: Nothing hums. Here, at the easternmost point of the Lindenhag settlement in Griesheim, one sound swallows up all the others. In front of the parking lot is a row of houses, behind it a green noise barrier protrudes. On the other side, the A5 thunders.

Kim Maurus

Editor in the Rhein-Main-Zeitung.

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Who is moving here? A local resident takes away the garbage. For the past two years, he has been living with his family in the front row in front of the noise barrier, a few meters from the parking lot. "I think it's beautiful here," says the forty-one-year-old, who doesn't want to see his name in the newspaper. "Lindenhag has a great settlement community." Elsewhere, he would not have moved so close to the highway. But: "We are all familiar with the tense market situation in Frankfurt. The motorway is not the decisive reason. I don't hear them."

However, he knows that the noise can unconsciously have a negative effect on hearing and head for years. "I look for moments of rest with the children, make sure that we close the windows and have the right sleep orientation. We also sometimes hear the train and the aircraft noise. It shouldn't be more than that."

Since Wednesday it has been clear: Hesse's Transport Minister Tarek Al-Wazir (The Greens) agrees with him. There will be no ten-lane, accelerated expansion of the A5 between Frankfurter Kreuz and Nordwestkreuz with the state government. Al-Wazir initially agrees to an eight-lane expansion between Nordwestkreuz and Friedberg, but this must be associated with noise protection, he says.

Hans Christoph Stoodt is not really satisfied with this decision. "First of all, of course, I'm relieved," says the pensioner. "This is a strengthening of our position when the Minister of Transport says that this expansion has no future. So far, so good." On the other hand, he has the feeling: "Nothing has been decided yet."

Citizens' initiative with a clear message: "It's too loud"

Stoodt lives in southern Griesheim, close to the Main River and the motorway. Last summer, he co-founded the citizens' initiative "It's too loud" to protest against the noise pollution caused by the motorways in the west of Frankfurt. Several dozen citizens have joined forces in the initiative, and a few are preparing the monthly meetings. In Stoodt's eyes, the Lindenhag estate is an example of what is going wrong in German transport policy. "The motorway has put the houses on their toes. Not the other way around."

In many places along the A5, according to data from the State Environment Agency, it is more than 70 decibels, significantly louder than the average exposure of 53 decibels during the day and 45 decibels at night recommended by the World Health Organization. People get used to noise, but it doesn't do them any good in the long run. Two acquaintances, Stoodt reports, had already returned from their holiday in the Rhön earlier because they had said: "We can't stand this thunderous silence." He finds the argument that you can move away if the noise bothers you interesting: "It's funny that those who always hold private property particularly high on these issues suddenly have a very lax attitude."