We have written to all the declared Parliamentary candidates with the following questions. We’ll post the responses as soon as they are received.
Question 1: Dutch-style cycling network for the Taunton
The Department for Transport sponsored Propensity to Cycle Tool shows that with Dutch-style infrastructure, around a quarter of all commuting trips in Taunton Deane would be by bike, increasing to around a third if E-bikes become popular as well. This area has amongst the highest potential cycling rates in the region. TACC has launched the ‘Turn the cycle network blue’ campaign and to date 1700 people have signed our petition to support this.
If elected, would you work for the development of a comprehensive, Dutch-style cycling network for the Taunton area, seeking significant investment from the Department for Transport, the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and local authorities to deliver it? If yes, how would you work to that end?
Question 2: Adopting up to date design guidance for cycling infrastructure
TACC has identified numerous problems for cyclists, and potential cyclists, in the design, construction and maintenance of roads and cycling infrastructure (see Design Issues and Standards). There is currently no specific funding for cycling infrastructure set aside by Somerset County Council (SCC), and there are no national design guides for cycling infrastructure. Furthermore, SCC often uses outdated and/or inappropriate road design guides.
If elected, would you lobby SCC to adopt up to date design guidance for cycling infrastructure, and would you support TACC in seeking dedicated local funding for cycling infrastructure construction and maintenance, nationally and with local authorities?. If yes, how would you go about this?
Question 3: Creating high quality safe cycleways
Would you support the creation of cycling superhighways from the proposed urban extensions to the centre of Taunton and the railway station, to provide genuine, high quality safe cycleways providing a real alternative to motorised travel for work, shopping and leisure journeys for our newly designated garden town?
Question 4: Spending to improve bus services, walking and cycling
Currently there is a large national road building programme (at least £15 billion) and planned major investment in HS2. Meanwhile bus services are being cut back and there is little specific direct funding for walking and cycling, particularly in Somerset.
Do you believe that the current transport spending priorities are right and are there any changes to it that you would like to make? Should improved levels of capital investment come from central government to improve bus services, walking and cycling?
Question 5: Working with TACC
If elected, would you be prepared to work with TACC and the local authorities to improve cycling as a day to day means of travel to all? If yes, what would be your approach to this?