petition

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We citizens of Milan, Italian citizens and citizens of the world turn to you, Mr. Mayor, in a renewed appeal to stop the eyesore of the car park in Piazza Sant'Ambrogio.
It would indeed be an irreversible damage to turn into a roof of a five-story underground silos a historic piazza, which is the symbolic heart of Milan, comparable in dignity and meaning, despite its exceptional peculiarities, to Piazza del Duomo and Piazza San Pietro. In its ancient foundations this place preserves the memories of those martyrs, to whose honour Ambrose erected the first church, later dedicated to him. Here the sanctity of the religious rites that took place in the basilica are still echoed; in this space, experienced by the faithful of all times as a sacred and public place, those rites naturally continued as liturgy and devotion. For this reason, much more recently, right here in this square, the Shrine of the Fallen Soldiers was erected, because, through these new martyrs the sacred memory could continue to be preserved, the memory from which our deepest identity as citizens of Milan originates.
It is the Italian Constitution (Art. 9) and the Code of Cultural Heritage (Art. 10 and 20) that prohibits the destruction of such an important square.
Mr. Mayor, even simple urban and road planning considerations would be enough to stop this abomination: conceived in 1985, today the car park no longer makes sense, as it would be incongruously placed in a city center that is increasingly being precluded to private traffic. The area is also very well served by public transport and car places nearby are abundant, including the parking lot recently put into operation (people had been asking for it for years) in via Olona.
What is then the public interest in building another parking lot? It would just be another instance of privatization of public space for the benefit of few.
During the election campaign we have taken as a promise your statement that you would suspend construction of the parking spaces in Piazza Lavater and Piazza Sant'Ambrogio.
We know that the hesitation of the new Administration is due to financial reasons motivated by several million euros in penalties - as reported by newspapers- that the City of Milan would have to pay to the construction company in case of cancellation of the work. The amount due by the City as reimbursement of expenses incurred to date by the company (consequential damage), deserves, in our opinion, a serious public review and alternative forms of compensation should be assessed. We believe those costs should be weighed against the damage resulting from the profound and permanent change and trivialization of the square, following the construction of an underground car park (with canopies, air vents, exit and entry slides, and scrubby trees as cosmetics to cover it all): this would really be a perpetual penalty to pay for all those in the world who recognize the Sant'Ambrogio square as an unparalleled artistic and historic heritage.
Some people maintain that the car park not only would not be detrimental to the square, but rather it would improve its current appearance, an amorphous space, defaced by illegal and disordered parking, deeply altered and rebuilt over the centuries, especially after the bombing that hit Milan in 1943. But protecting historic properties on the basis of their "original" integrity would exclude from protection any historic heritage, including the Duomo of Milan (whose current facade dates back to the nineteenth century) or even the "Scala" (bombed in 1943), just to mention some examples. The square can certainly be improved, getting rid of cars on the surface, even without the new parking space! 
We insist that, even if the work has all the necessary clearance from the Superintendents, turning an historic property into a public garage roof would be a destructive destination, incompatible with the constraint of protection: the Superintendent authorization, granted amid lots of uncertainties and, according to the people in charge, bent to political decisions, is certainly not enough to legitimize the intervention which is prohibited by the Code of Cultural Heritage.
For these reasons, Mr. Mayor, we appeal to your authority so that all that was done wrong in the past be now remedied, reaffirming the principles of protection that must be vigorously asserted. Reassess the situation and stop the work in progress.

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