We have written to all the declared Parliamentary candidates for Taunton Deane with a set of questions concerning various aspects of cycling in and around Taunton. In short, these questions touch a Dutch-style cycling network for Taunton, up to date design guidance for cycling infrastructure, creating high quality safe cycleways, spending to improve bus services, walking and cycling, and working with TACC.
We have made a summary of proposed policies from the candidates.
What will the different political parties pledge to do to promote and encourage more cycling in the Taunton area? Do they understand what needs to be done?
We got encouraging answers to these questions at the hustings. Key points from the panellists:
- A serious cycle network plan and funding is needed, although a start can be make using the County Councils Small Improvements Scheme budget (which most would pursue).
- Design standards need to be improved. Most of the panellists gave examples-difficulties of crossing roundabouts and side roads, unnecessary ‘furniture’. One panellists sited an injury to themselves caused by similar furniture.
- Most panellists don’t believe that increasing traffic capacity is the answer to congestion, and a number thought it is counter productive.
Panellists also told us about their experience of cycling locally and their favourite rides. All use cycles and their favourites rides showcased the wonderful scenery and network of quiet lanes that surrounds Taunton.
Overall we were encouraged that all the party representatives seemed to ‘get it’. However, a key message to all the parties must be that we will judge them not on warm words and policies, but on budgets for investment and delivery on the ground.
We thank all the panellists for taking part, our excellent Chair Chris Hutchinson, the audience for taking part and asking questions and TACC members for putting the event together.
There is a good write up of the event by Amy Cole in the Somerset County Gazette: TACChustings