BELGRADE – Residents of the Belgrade district of Mirijevo, around a building whose distance from the nearest public transport motivated people to nickname it ‘the widow’, have shown how every citizen by his or her activism, working together in their districts, can do a lot of good for the welfare of many people and the quality of life.
At noon on 1st March 2013 a ceremony assembled many happy residents of Mirijevo, and representatives of the Municipality of Zvezdara and Belgrade City Hall, the first bus on the new changed bus line no. 79 set off along a slightly changed route, passing through Matice Srpske Street. In this way the most distant building in the district has lost its ominous title ‘the widow’.
Citizen’s Petitions Yield Fruit
Everything was the result of several e-mails agile individuals and tenants sent to their municipality and to everyone’s surprise received a reply just a few days later, and not only got a reply, but also received a visit from Edip Šerifov, the head of the Zvezdara municipal council, and a delegation of the council. Following the visit and acting on a proposal of the municipality, the Belgrade City Secretariat for Traffic found a practical solution for the problems of this part of Belgrade, ensuring better public transport for the residents of this part of Mirijevo, who had until now not had a direct link to the centre of town. Line 79 links Mirijevo with the district of Dorćol and the Milan Gale Muškatorivić sports centre on the banks of the Danube.
The line had already existed, but its changed route in Mirijevo is of enormous importance for the residents of that district.
From an Endless Staircase to a Bus Stop Next to Homes
Until today’s happy event and change of the bus’s route, tenants of the ‘widow’, including many elderly and ill people and parents with small children, had to run the gauntlet of an endless stairway.
This was quite tiring even for very fit people, let alone those we have mentioned, especially in the winter or bad weather.
Residents of this section of Mirijevo, including the ‘widow’ have been troubled by bad public transport links for decades.
Like in a fairy tale, Mirijevo residents told the Home of the Good News, just before the New Year’s and Christmas holidays the new head of the Zvezdara municipal council, the young and enterprising Edip Šerifov, issued a written notice to the citizens of Zvezdara in which he introduced himself and expressed a desire for the establishment of good and direct co-operation, to ensure the best possible resolution of the problems of that Belgrade City municipality.
Tenants of the ‘widow’ and surrounding buildings, who had lost all hope after decades of petitioning the authorities in connection with the said problem, tried once again to contact the municipality and list their problems.
To their pleasant surprise, a positive reaction from the other side came very fast. Information began coming from the municipality about what could be undertaken to resolve various problems in that part of the district.
Together to a Common Goal
Soon after it was announced that Šerifov would visit the part of the district affected by the problems and in direct contact with citizens discuss the situation and possibilities to resolve various problems, in particular the poor public transport links.
Šerifov and his team soon visited the ‘widow’ and the surrounding area, the first such visit in the history of that part of the district, Mirijevo residents told us.
The Zvezdara team scanned the situation, offered proposals for resolving the problems, but the municipal head did not make many promises, because, as he put it, he is a man who does not like to make false promises. Soon after the visit, bus line 79 was re-routed.
Official opening of the new bus route
Bojan Bovan, the Belgrade City Secretary for Traffic, said during the ceremony marking the departure of the first bus on re-routed line 79 that it was an example of good-quality communication between the citizens and their municipality and that after an analysis of the route was performed it was decided that the citizens’ request was justified.
"In this way, besides line no. 20, residents now have a possibility of using line 79. We now have about a dozen buses traversing this part of the district, ensuring shorter waiting times and considerably better and directs links with the city. The secretariat for Traffic will during the year analyse the entire Belgrade Public Transport network. In the past few years considerable changes have taken place in the life of the city, so that in our coming analysis we shall be able to see what is good and what should be changed for the sake of better organisation and making savings in public transport", Bovan said.
Šerifov said that when people organise themselves well they can realise their demands very fast. In the concrete case, more than a score representatives of buildings’ tenants councils have sent requests to the municipality, collecting over 3,000 signatures.
Source: Home of the Good News