Category: Infrastructure

Manifesto for prioritising walking and cycling

A recent Freedom of Information request showed that Somerset County Council’s capital expenditure on new roads was £47 million in 2018-19, with £116,000 spent on cycle infrastructure. This is an extreme example, but in the years 2017-19 for every £1 of capital expenditure on walking and cycling infrastructure more than £13 was spent on infrastructure for motor vehicles.

Taunton Area Cycling Campaign, in close cooperation with Safer Walking and Cycling in Bruton and Bridgwater Area Cycling Campaign, have compiled a manifesto. This manifesto calls on Somerset Country Council to reverse the way it prioritises car traffic over walking and cycling in its design and resource decisions.
The manifesto is based on responses to a consultation with parish and town councils and other community organisations in Somerset in May/June 2020. Groups were consulted on an initial draft of the manifesto and the manifesto was amended to accommodate the comments, where possible. It has received support from many community organisations across Somerset.

Walking and cycling manifesto for Somerset

Somerset Climate Action Network has recommended that the five principal authorities in Somerset ‘remove barriers and lead joint funding bids to plan and develop effective cycling and walking infrastructure in all Somerset towns and key rural locations’. We very much welcome recent steps by the Somerset County Council to give greater focus to walking and cycling and the government’s recent announcements.
This manifesto sets out its signatories’ requests of the Somerset County Council as Highway Authority.

Policy

  1. Reverse the nationally prevalent prioritisation, which puts predicting and providing for cars first, with pedestrians, cyclists and those with limited mobility a distant second.
  2. Stop all investment based on ‘predict and provide’. To address long-standing historical imbalances future expenditure on Highways should normally be for maintenance and safety improvements only.
  3. Establish a specific and substantial budget with a named officer at Assistant Director level to champion the development of walking and cycling networks across the County.
  4. Adopt current best-practice guidance as standard policy:
    – Manual for Streets Vols 1 and 2;
    – The LTN 1/19 Cycle Infrastructure Design Guidance.
  5. The County Council does not have the granular local knowledge to plan, control and manage everything that needs to be done. Having set the appropriate standards, the Council should devolve elements of decision-making and public engagement to District and Local Councils and community organisations.
  6. Highways’ advice to Planning Authorities should be consistent with this Manifesto. For any new development, walking and cycling connectivity with local facilities should be considered first, and s106 contributions sought to ensure connectivity is delivered to an appropriate standard. If a proposed development does not or cannot deliver this, its refusal should be recommended.

Read more about the Manifesto »

New Report on Garden Towns including Taunton

Transport for New Homes has published a report on Garden Towns and Villages raising concerns that their planning and layout will perpetuate the dominance of motor vehicles and dependence on them.
Garden Towns and Villages is a government initiative to tackle the housing shortage in the UK. More than 50 garden towns and villages are planned aimed at creating new sociable, green communities within walking distance of town centres and with sustainable transport systems.

Letchworth Garden City is the first garden city in the UK

Taunton is a designated Garden Town and is one of the case studies in the report. The report says: “Most are planned in the wrong locations, far from town centres and rail stations. They lack local facilities and their streets are designed around car use. Funding for walking, cycling and public transport is missing.
Sustainable transport is vital to tackling the climate crisis. Walking and cycling in particular have come to prominence during the health crisis, as have the benefits of living more locally. But the housing that we are planning threatens to take us in the opposite direction, locking us into car-dependent lifestyles for decades to come.

TACC encourages you to read the report and join us in working to ensure local authorities in Taunton work to preserve and develop the vision of the garden town in their planning decisions.

Download the report from Transport for New Homes.

We support Somerset County Council with Cycling and Walking Plans

We support Somerset County Council with Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Planning

TACC has taken an important step towards joining up the fragmented network of cycle routes in and around Taunton – Turning the Cycle Network Blue!
In 2017 the Department for Transport published guidance for local authorities to produce local plans for improved cycling and walking infrastructure. To complete this work in Taunton the most important routes needed to be audited and reported on in detail.

TACC volunteers spent lots of their time in the summer months completing 40 of these audits, identifying some excellent routes and infrastructure along with significant gaps where work is urgently needed to make cycling direct, safe and comfortable for everyone.
This work has recently been presented to an officer of Somerset County Council to support their work in improving transport in and around Taunton, and will be submitted to the Department for Transport in late November 2019. There are high hopes that the plan will attract national and local funding.

More bicycle racks needed and installed at Taunton station

Great Western Railway have installed 22 new cycle spaces at Taunton station in January 2019. This is in respons to our call for additional ‘interim’ spaces in August 2018.
More cycle racks installed at Taunton railway station.
Hundreds of people arrive at Taunton railway station every weekday and many who commute to work often find that all bike racks are taken.

In total 150 new cycle spaces are proposed but the rest are part of the major scheme for the station, and the current interim provision might be moved as part of this.