Members of Taunton Area Cycling Campaign (TACC) met with Taunton Deane MP, Rebecca Pow on Fri April 20th to ask her to present its online petition to the Secretary of State for Transport and Highways England.
Rebecca expressed her support for the petition and plans to pass on TACC’s A358 call to the Secretary of State. Rebecca also committed to writing to the Regional Director of Highways England and Somerset County Council’s Highways Department to highlight the groups concerns.
The petition asks as part of Highways England’s £250-£450m scheme to upgrade the A358 for:
- A quality cycle-track between Ilminster and Taunton.
- A Safe and attractive crossing to the A358/Junction 25 at the M5-a bridge or tunnel.
- Confirmation that wherever the road cuts across quiet rural lanes, safe crossings will be provided.
(The key on all the option maps in the Highways England public consultation document uses the
words ‘Possible’ local road crossings).
The petition currently has 562 signatures and can be found on the homepage of the TACC website by clicking HERE
Pip Sheard Spokesperson for TACC says; “The A358 is a terrifying road to use. Why should people have to be terrified in order to take a simple cycle journey? Instead, a cycle-track along the A358 could become part of the National Cycle Network benefiting families and children, as well as day to day cycling. We are very pleased to have Rebecca Pow’s support for our petition.”
Rebecca Pow says; “I am very keen to encourage more people to get out of their cars and onto their bikes, but this is only realistically possible if the right cycle network is provided. “There is a great opportunity to improve cycle connectivity from Taunton heading East as Junction 25 is improved and the new route for the A358 is planned.”
Rebecca also added; “I would urge Highways England and Somerset County Council to ensure they make well designed provision for cycling. “There are many people in Taunton Deane calling for this to be addressed and I fully support them. “I like to get out on my bike myself, but I know how dangerous this can be if the correct infrastructure is not available.”
We asked Pip Sheard – “Why is cycle provision important?” The reply, ” There is substantial scope to encourage more cycling to work and for other purposes, in the Ilminster-Taunton A358 corridor. “There are numerous communities close by and a major 4000 job development is planned. “Taunton is a designated Garden Town which means a bigger emphasis on sustainable travel. “The road scheme is an opportunity to address this. “Doing it later will be far more costly.”