The number of people being killed or seriously injured on the borough’s roads is falling. Ealing Council is trying to make it fall further, and a trial of a new 20mph zone across Acton is one of its latest attempts.
There were 63 people either killed or seriously injured on the borough’s roads during 2015, which was the lowest recorded level to date. This welcome reduction is not least down to changes on our roads made by the council.
But a single casualty is one too many and the council has been working on ways to make our streets safer for everyone – pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.
These measures include more pedestrian crossings, cycle training for both children and adults, wider pavements in certain places, and changes to road layouts to reduce speeding and dangerous parking and help cyclists.
A one-year road safety trial is currently taking place in five wards east of the North Circular in Acton. Since September, all traffic in these areas has been restricted to travelling at a maximum speed of 20mph, although some Transport for London-controlled routes, including A406 Hanger Lane and the A40 Western Avenue, are exempt.
The outcome of the trial will be reviewed in the autumn. If it is successful, residents will be asked their views on extending it across the borough.
‘The reason I got into politics’
Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for transport, environment and leisure, said: “I want Ealing’s roads to be the safest in London and we are doing all we can to achieve this, while still allowing traffic to flow. As a cyclist, I am very aware of how the road design and layout has a big impact on how safe people feel, so changes such as the Danish-style, cycle-friendly roundabout at the junction between Steyne Road and Acton High Street make a major difference.
“Making streets safer was the reason I got into politics. If we have safe streets we all win. Reduced traffic creates a better, far more pleasant and cleaner environment for us all to enjoy. And it then encourages even more of us to make greener, healthier journeys. I’d ask everyone to imagine a better alternative to the pollution, noise and congestion created by so many of us. By each of us making the choice to be part of the solution, we can help make our streets even safer and more enjoyable for ourselves and our children.
“We are doing a lot of work with local schools to encourage families to leave their cars behind on the short journey to school and instead walk or cycle. This makes us all healthier.”
‘Appy days at school
The council is working with schools across the borough to promote safe and healthy travel.
All high schools in the borough are encouraged to nominate youth travel ambassadors. They head up student-led projects to encourage smarter travel to school.
Last year, 12 students from Brentside High School won a £250 grant from Transport for London to develop a walking ‘app’ for mobile phones and other devices that is aimed at encouraging more students to swap buses and cars for foot-power. And it is starting to work, with the number of people walking already increasing by 4%. The students have even set up their own walking group.
Safety first at primaries
Primary schools are also encouraging families to ditch the school run.
This year, a walking campaign saw new starters at 41 primary schools given a map showing local walking routes. Parents were also given the chance to plan their own walking route at a school induction event. In the first year of the campaign, car journeys to and from schools fell by 10% and the maps will be given to all schools by autumn this year.
Students at primary schools across the borough have also benefited from cycle training. Some have received more intensive support in the form of bike maintenance and balance bike training for early years and reception staff.
Children aged seven to eight years old are being taught how to cross roads safely as part of a pedestrian skills course.
That is not all…
Sixth form students can find themselves on the receiving end of a hard-hitting road safety event called ‘Safe Drive, Stay Alive’ where they are shown first-hand the heart-breaking consequences of taking risks in cars and motorbikes.
Parents are also being targeted by being asked to sign up to the Safer Parking Promise where parents pledge to park responsibly outside of schools. Meanwhile, the council is backing Road Safety Week by using a mixture of education and enforcement to make sure that parents do the right thing if they drive to school.
Visit www.ealing.gov.uk/transport for more information on transport in the borough.