More permanent measures are planned across Somerset to install further, more permanent schemes to cement cycling and walking habits.
In a bid to secure the second tranche of funding from The Department for Transport’s £250m emergency active travel fund*, The Active Travel Group has worked together and taken onboard community feedback to identify opportunities for cycling to replace journeys previously made by car or public transport and deliver both short term and longer term benefits to travellers and the wider county.
All proposals continue the real ambition shown in tranche 1 schemes and build on the success in improving safe conditions to support the re-opening of high streets across the county.
A list of the schemes that have been identified and submitted are as follows:
- Somerset West & Taunton – Taunton – Continuation of the closure of East St and upgrade to the infrastructure of the initial scheme. This will include re-provision of bus stops and ramps to assist wheelchair users.
- Somerset West & Taunton – Taunton – Creation of a dedicated cycling and walking route from Canal Road to Trenchard Way in the Firepool area, connecting the newly re-oriented mainline train station entrance directly to the river and allowing direct access to the town centre and international cricket ground.
- Sedgemoor – Bridgwater – Eastover/Salmon Parade/East Quay – Delivery of a scheme for semi-permanent measures to maintain one-way traffic movements and widening of footpaths to facilitate social distancing. Includes the ability to include a contraflow cycle lane o enable west to east cycling. The need to retain some space for deliveries and parking (including disabled parking) is included.
- Sedgemoor – Bridgwater – Linham Road to Bridgwater docks – Provision of a new cycle route between the Bridgwater Northern Distributor Road and the docks to improve accessibility between the town centre and residential areas and as part of future planned corridor wide improvements that will provide off-road cycle facilities into Bridgwater.
- South Somerset – Yeovil Town Centre Walking and Cycling Package – The scheme continues the transformation of the High Street. There will be a new Bus Gate aimed at reducing the dominance of general vehicular traffic. It also includes the installation of two new cycle storage facilities.
- South Somerset – Yeovil – Lyde Road Strategic Cycleway – The scheme will deliver 3 sections of segregated Cycleway approximately 1 kilometre in length. This is an on and off carriageway solution serving the Eastern residential and commercial areas of Yeovil.
- Mendip – Frome – Installation of a ‘Schools Street’ scheme around Oakfield Road – Somerset Road. The scheme will allow safe access to three schools, connect access to a fourth school via Victoria Park and improve safety on a section of road section on the NCN 24.
- Mendip – Street – Temporary extension of current road closure on High Street between Vestry Road and Leigh Road to facilitate additional pedestrian and bike traffic between these points.
Delivery of these schemes will be dependent on the level of funding provided.
The Active Travel Group, comprised of all five councils in Somerset, recognise the need for engagement prior to taking these bids forward to implementation and will ensure opportunities are made available to consult and engage with communities and local groups to inform delivery of the schemes. The group will continue to work closely with town councils, traders, voluntary cycle groups and carnival clubs who are supporting the programme.
Current temporary measures from Tranche 1 funding** including pedestrianised high streets have now been in operation for around 8 weeks. Funding for these schemes has now ended but local funding has been made available to extend the schemes that have been effective and achieved local support for at least one month.
Members of the public are urged to continue giving their feedback on current schemes and flag areas of concern through the smart interactive online mapping tool ‘Commonplace’. Help to inform current and future schemes by adding your feedback and comments here: https://somersetcovidactivetravel.commonplace.is/.