New Humanity Movement

Politics and P.A.



A main road, a blind corner and motorists always racing along. A deadly cocktail that puts pedestrians’ lives at risk. Until someone decides, for the good of the whole community, to take the situation in hand.

from Luisa Busato – Venice, Italy

I live in a side road in Martellago, a district in Venice. Crossing this road is very dangerous because it’s very difficult to see on-coming traffic and the cars travel at high speed. The speed limit signs and the pedestrian crossing are often ignored. This results in the frequent need for brakes to be slammed on and in people overtaking in a dangerous way when others stop to let pedestrians, often children and old people, cross.

I had brought this problem to the attention of the Council in the past but to no avail; others had filed petitions with the police but without getting any response.

On more than one occasion our children were nearly knocked down. So after the umpteenth brush with near tragedy I felt responsible for doing what I could to find a solution to this problem which wasn’t mine alone but which affected everyone in the area. So I spoke to some of the other parents from my street and neighbouring streets.

One of the other parents who was also very worried about the daily risk, and I thought we would write a letter to the mayor. In order to have more impact, we thought we would ask some of the other locals to sign it too. In writing this letter we tried to emphasise the seriousness of the situation but without blaming anyone, suggesting possible solutions and mentioning positive intiatives which had been undertaken by the town council to limit the use of cars and reduce pollution, such as the introduction of a ‘pedibus’* and the use of cycling in the city.

Whilst we were collecting signatures, there were those who disagreed with what we were doing, saying that there had been endless petitions and that this one too would have no effect. But, in general, both the drafting of the letter and the collection of the signatures were opportunities to build beautiful relationships with our neighbours and the other parents. We all felt more of a sense of responsibilty as we actively searched together for the solution to a problem by working ‘for’ and not ‘against something’.

I shared what I was living with friends who, like me, try to live for fraternity in their cities and communities, receiving from them the strength and the courage to keep going.

We went together to the town hall to speak to the Mayor and to give him the letter with all the signatures.

One of his colleagues warned us that the Mayor would not be very pleased to receive another collection of signatures and so it turned out to be. At the start of our meeting the ‘first citizen’ expressed his aversion to these petitions.

At that point I summoned up all my courage and said to him, ‘Mayor, please read the text of our request carefully.’

He did read it, understood what we were trying to do and calmed down. And so we were able to engage in a dialogue, from which several possible solutions emerged but which turned out to be too expensive and not possible to implement.

And then I had an idea: in another road in our distict, a speed indicator had been installed which flashed on when approaching cars were goining at more than 30 miles an hour and the pedestrian crossing was picked out in red.

So I suggested these things. The Mayor immediately seized on these ideas, saying that they had one of the indicators available and that picking out the crossing in red would not be a problem. The following Saturday, we found ourselves again with the Mayor, who was very proud to show us the plans for the project. A month later, work began in the street.

From this experience, I understood the beauty and the power of living together for fraternity, being at the service of our city, our community, out of love.

© Photo Copyright Fernando Garrido, all rights reserved
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