Taunton has massive potential for more cycling and walking journeys as an alternative to short car trips. Fifty percent of trips in Taunton are less than 2 miles. More cycling and walking would help reduce congestion, cut pollution, improve health, give people more reliable journey times, and save them money. It would give freedom and independence to some of the thousands of people who don’t have access to a car, particularly young people and children. An efficient transport system will support the economy.
Somerset County Council tends to favour road schemes when bidding for capital funds for transport. Over £40m has recently been spent or is planned for road schemes. We are asking their the next major scheme is a cycling and walking network project.
Therefore we ask you to support the campaign for new cycle routes and parking in the Taunton Area. Read more about our campaign and please sign our petition at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/taunton-area-says-yes-to-better-cycling-and-walking-provision
Cllr John Woodman, cabinet member for Highways and Transportation took up our invitation to join a ride around some the cycle network in Taunton. Accompanied by public health and highways officers and members of TACC, Cllr Woodman experienced for himself the good, the bad and the ugly of the cycle routes and highway design in the town, following a circuit from County Hall, via Wellington Road, French Weir, Trenchard Way, Winkworth Way, Duke Street and the Parade.
Among the problems highlighted were discontinuous cycleways alongside main roads, where people on bikes have to give way to minor roads, and difficult junctions at Compass Hill and Priory Park roundabout. An old but very good piece of cycleway design was highlighted at Winkworth Way, where there is a separate cycleway and pavement, a design preferred by both cyclists and pedestrians to the more recent shared pavements approach. The tour also highlighted the need to connect the network where there are missing links, to enable people of all ages and abilities to cycle without fear of fast moving and heavy motor traffic.
It was also an opportunity for Cllr Woodman to try an e-bike for the first time, kindly loaned for the day by Nationwide E-bikes on Priorswood Road.
Cllr Woodman said “I gained an understanding of what the problems are and how they could be addressed. The council will shortly start work on a new Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, to which TACC will be invited to contribute. The more people that cycle, the less traffic congestion and pollution we will have, and of course those people who do cycle will be healthier and fitter, which is great news for the NHS and social care. “
This is an opportunity to show that cycling isn’t a peripheral issue but a part of the
solution to Taunton’s transport issues. We need to show support for the active
travel ideas in the plan, and push the local authorities still further. Please respond
to the on line consultation here by Friday 17 August.
Large sums have recently been committed to road schemes locally. The NIDR,
proposed Toneway scheme and the junction 25 proposal together amount to
approximately £40m. The A358 upgade will cost £250-400m. So what is the
budget for cycling/walking? Nothing. Time to change the balance by asking say for
£5-10m investment in walking and cycling, as a ‘major scheme’ bid.
Tell the local authorities that cycling is important via this link.
Our petition calling for proper cycle provision, as part of HE’s A358 scheme, was presented to HE in Bristol yesterday. The Regional Director, Nick Aldworth was due to receive it, but was called to Parliament to meet six South West MPs. Instead, we presented the petition to the Communications Manager Karen Duffet.
The petition has 624 signatures, but you can still sign it here : A358 Petition
The petition asks as part of Highways England’s £250-£450m scheme to upgrade the A358 for:
1. A quality cycletrack between Ilminster and Taunton;
2. Safe and attractive crossing to A358/Junction 25 at the M5-a bridge or a tunnel;
3. Confirmation that wherever the road cuts across quiet rural lanes, safe crossings will be provided.
Our suggestions are line with Highways England’s own Cycling Strategy and the Governmen’ts Cycling Strategy. Highways England have a dedicated cycle budget of at least £100m.
We were told that, among other things, the project team were looking into a separate budget they have access to, in order to make walking and cycling provision. There are likely to be follow up discussions once they announce their ‘preferred route’ and we will be demanding that this takes place.
Early 2018 the Department for Transport has ran a consultation on ways to make cycling and walking safer while supporting the government’s ambition to increase cycling and walking.
There are six topics in this review in relation to the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.
These topics concern the impact of road signs and infrastructure, laws and rules relating to road safety and their enforcement, training and educating road users, government policy on vehicles and equipment, and understanding and awareness of different types of road users in relation to cycle use.
The TACC has responded to each of these six topics comprehensively. Read our response »