Archive for March, 2013

Lorry drivers get on their bikes

Lorry drivers took to two wheels to experience life on the road as cyclists as part of Ealing Council’s commitment to cycle safety.

Lorry drivers on their bikes with Councillor Mahfouz for cycle safety training

Lorry drivers on their bikes with Councillor Mahfouz for cycle safety training

Ealing Council has committed to providing Safer Urban Driving training for heavy goods vehicle drivers working for council contractors, including Murrills Construction who carry out highways work and Enterprise drivers who collect refuse and recycling in the borough.

So far more than 100 drivers have completed the training.

The course aims to reduce accidents involving bicycles and lorries by giving drivers an insight into cyclists’ behaviour.

The intensive one day training includes taking drivers on a  three-and-a-half hour cycle ride on nearby roads to help them understand the risks lorries can pose to cyclists and learn practical ways to reduce the chances of an accident when driving.

There is also a classroom session covering topics such as sharing the road and avoiding collisions.

The course was delivered by Cycle Training UK using funding given to Ealing Council from Transport for London’s (TfL’s) Local Implementation Plan.

Around half of all cyclists deaths on London’s roads since 2000 involved collisions with HGVs and three cyclists have died in incidents involving lorries in Ealing.

Ealing Council’s agreed at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 19 March, to implement recommendations in the London Cycling Campaign’s Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling pledge.

As part of the pledge the council is working towards achieving bronze level of TFL’s Fleet Operators Recognition Scheme which sets standards to encourage organisations to be safer, greener and more efficient.

Other parts of the pledge include:

  • Improving signs on vehicles warning cyclists of the dangers of under-taking
  • Installing safety devices such as extra mirrors to make it easier to see cyclists
  • Insisting that drivers on council contracts meet a range of additional safety standards

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for environment and transport met drivers at the council’s Greenford depot before they set off on the road. A regular cyclist, councillor Mahfouz said:

“Road safety is a priority for us and we want to do what we can to avoid any more cyclists losing their lives in accidents involving lorries in this borough.

“I’m delighted that our contractors Murrills and Enterprise see how important it is to have their drivers trained and the feedback I received from those who attended the course was very positive.

“It builds upon the national award winning Direct Support for Cycling training programme that we run for cyclists and makes them aware of safety issues on the road. If all road users have a real appreciation of those in other modes of transport, it’s a major step to making our streets safer for all.”

Visit our cycling pages for information on cycle training, maintenance sessions and cycle routes.

 

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Ealing Council’s parking services team has been crowned the ‘Parking Team of the Year’ at the 2013 British Parking Awards. The team was a also finalist for the ‘Exceptional Customers Services’ award.

British Parking Awards

The British Parking Awards is an annual event which aims to recognise best practice in the parking industry. Ealing Council saw off strong competition from 11 other councils and private parking companies to win the award.

The team was recognised for its work on improving efficiency and customer service including introducing electronic (or ‘virtual’) parking permits, making the parking services section of the council’s website easier to use, improving the online appeal system for PCNs and improving the waiting period for responses to letters and applications for permits.

It was also praised for prioritising safety in the council’s off street car parks through the Police’s Safer Parking Scheme and for cracking down on blue badge fraud.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “Our parking team operates to the highest standards and is committed to providing excellent customer services. We are actually issuing fewer PCN and the number of successful appeals by customers has also gone down meaning that more residents are parking correctly and our staff are working more accurately and fairly. Our team plays a crucial role in keeping the borough’s streets and car parks safe and in keeping traffic moving.

“The team has introduced significant improvements over the last couple of years that have made it easier for customers to communicate with the council and offer more, easier to use services.  I’m delighted that they have been recognised as being the best in Britain.”

For more information on parking in Ealing, go to www.ealing.gov.uk/parking

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New parking service formed

Ealing, Brent and Hounslow councils have joined forces to create a unique West London parking service.

cars parked on a street

The first and biggest of its kind in the country, it could generate substantial savings and at the same time improve services.

The three boroughs, which are part of the West London Alliance, this week approved Serco as the chosen contractor to run parking services. The contract is subject to a standstill period until 2 April.

The five-year contract will mean an improved parking service thanks to economies of scale, new technology and more efficient working practices.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for transport and environment at Ealing Council, said: “This new contract is an excellent example of how west London boroughs are coming together to ensure we can make the savings that are needed whilst at the same time making real, palpable improvements in service. 

“Ealing’s Parking team has seen year on year reductions in the issuing of PCNs over the past three years whilst rolling out improved services such as pay-by-phone for visitors and in the future, virtual parking permits for residents. The new contract gives us an opportunity to build on these improvements and offers us options going forward for potential further savings.”

Elaine Bailey, Managing Director of Serco Home Affairs, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this exciting new contract to run parking services for the West London Alliance.  Serco has extensive experience in managing complex operations and innovative technologies to deliver efficiencies and economies of scale – and ultimately provide cost savings.”

The new service will enable all three boroughs to introduce an improved and more efficient parking service.

It will see the introduction of ‘virtual’ parking permits for controlled parking zones, meaning motorists will no longer have to display paper permits on their windscreens.

The introduction of new IT and pooling of back office resources will see an improved service delivered for the benefit of both residents and visitors to the boroughs.

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Crackdown on dangerous school parking

Drivers who park irresponsibly outside Ealing schools could be given penalty charge notices as part of a crackdown on dangerous parking.

The council will be taking enforcement action against anyone parking on zig-zag road markings outside schools.  Local police safer neighbourhood teams will also visit the schools to move on vehicles blocking the area.

Although yellow zig-zag road markings outside schools are there to provide a clear space for children to cross where they can see traffic and traffic can see them, some motorists put children in danger by parking on them.

The road safety campaign is taking place at 30 schools in the borough which will display banners outside their buildings and give out leaflets to parents and carers reminding them that it is illegal and dangerous to block the  ‘school keep clear’ area.

Council civil enforcement officers will step-up patrols at the schools and issue fixed penalty notices of £110 (reduced to £55 if paid within 14 days from issue) to anyone parking on the zig-zag lines.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for environment and transport said: “Children’s safety is priority and I will not tolerate anyone who endangers a child by parking selfishly and illegally at our schools. I hear far too many horror stories about near misses from worried teachers and parents, and I have seen for myself some terrible examples of dangerous parking at schools.

“This makes it harder for children to see, forces them to cross between parked cars and also restricts the views of drivers. There’s no excuse for it and anyone who parks illegally at schools should be warned that they risk being given a penalty charge notice.”

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From April 1, new charges are being introduced at Springbridge Road car park to make it cheaper for weekend shoppers to park in Ealing Broadway.

Springbridge Road car park

Instead of paying £1 an hour at the weekend, visitors will now be able to park all day on Sunday for just £1. And on Saturday, they will be able to park for £1 an hour or £3 for the whole day. The weekday charge will remain at £1 an hour.

Drivers who pay for their parking via PaybyPhone will no longer have to pay the 20p booking fee for on-street parking and for the majority of off-street parking spaces.

PaybyPhone is the quick and secure way of paying for parking at pay and display machines without the need for cash. It is available for all council car parking throughout the borough, as well as for CPZ visitor parking.

Prices are staying at last year’s rates at some council-owned car parks and are changing at others. The new charges are available on the council’s website and will be applied from Monday 1 April.

A number of council car parks sell annual permits. Most of the borough’s annual car park permits will stay at this year’s price except for Springbridge Road permits which will increase by £50 annually or £15 quarterly.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “We have cut the weekend car parking charge at Springbridge Road in response to a request from local businesses. During these tough times, we want to make it easier for people to come into Ealing town centre to visit our shops and restaurants and the price reduction will encourage people to do this.

“Where prices have risen in our other car parks, we’ve tried to keep the rises as low as possible and be as fair as we can.”

For more information, go to www.ealing.gov.uk/parking or call 020 8825 6677.

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A Southall nightclub has been ordered to pay more than £4,000 for failing to provide proof of what it does with its rubbish.

Scales of justice.

Business premises are required to have a legal contract with a registered waste company and provide evidence of how they dispose of their waste.

Nucleus World, the owners of the Tudor Rose nightclub at the Green in Southall, ignored reminders from Ealing Council to provide proof, including a £300 fixed penalty notice.

A director for Nucleus World pleaded guilty at Ealing Magistrates Court on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 and was fined £2,500 as well as being ordered to pay the council’s legal costs of £1,634.48 and a victim surcharge of £15 – a total of £4149.48.

Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for environment and transport said: “We work closely with businesses to inform them of their legal obligations around waste disposal. It’s a cause for concern if a nightclub can’t demonstrate that its rubbish is being disposed of correctly, despite our warnings.

“I hope the size of the fine serves as a warning to other businesses to ensure they comply with the law.”

Information on commercial waste collections is available on the Ealing Council website.

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Local residents are invited to give their views on proposals to improve road safety and traffic movement on Uxbridge Road in West Ealing and Hanwell.

Uxbridge Road at Hanwell clock tower junction

As part of a public consultation, two exhibitions will take place this month detailing the proposed changes to the one mile stretch of Uxbridge Road from Lower Boston Road to the Lido Junction in West Ealing.

Visitors to the exhibitions will be able to look at images of the proposed changes and discuss them in more detail with council officers. The changes aim to make the road safer, the area more attractive and smooth traffic flow.

Key proposals include:

  • New 20 mph zones in Hanwell town centre and West Ealing town centre to improve road safety
  • Replacing the traffic lights at Hanwell Clock Tower (Boston Road junction) with a mini-roundabout to smooth traffic flow through Hanwell town centre. A zebra crossing and courtesy crossings would be introduced to help pedestrians. The one-way flow on Cherrington Road would be reversed to flow towards Church Road under this proposal
  • Creating a mini-roundabout and pedestrian crossings at the Church Road/St George’s Road Junction
  • Significant streetscape improvements which include a better defined town square at Hanwell Clock Tower, wider footways, new trees, removal of street clutter, re-energising underused public spaces in West Ealing
  • Additional pedestrian crossings by Westminster Road and at Eccleston Road, Hanwell
  • Removal of the westbound bus lane between Church Road and Eccleston Road to provide cycle lanes on both sides of the road
  • More pay and display bays in West Ealing.

Work should start in summer 2013 and take place in phases over the next two years.

Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for environment and transport said: “This stretch of Uxbridge Road can be difficult for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike. Our proposals will make it safer for while also making it easier to travel through Hanwell and West Ealing.

“The proposed changes are the result of listening to residents over recent years and we are keen to hear the views of as many people as possible so we’re putting on a public exhibition as part of this consultation.”

Comments can also be submitted online.

The closing date for comments on Uxbridge Road corridor improvements in Hanwell and West Ealing is Friday, 5 April 2013.

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