A new interactive online mapping tool has been launched so people can have their say on temporary walking and cycling measures in Somerset.
A number of temporary measures, including pedestrianised high streets, have been introduced to encourage social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic and positively support the safe movement of pedestrians and cyclists.
Working in partnership with Town Councils, the schemes are being put in place by Somerset’s Covid-19 Active Travel group, which includes representatives from Somerset County Council, Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset West and Taunton Council, South Somerset District Council, Avon and Somerset Police and Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP).
Having been allocated an initial £120,000 from the Department for Transport in emergency funding for the temporary measures, the group is committed to working with communities to help create better spaces for people walking and cycling around Somerset, particularly with further funding expected in phase 2*.
So far feedback has been mostly positive with many town centres busy after the lockdown and pedestrianised roads helping ease crowding outside shops.
Working with ‘Commonplace’, the Active Travel group has developed an interactive mapping tool that enables members of the community to flag up areas of concern in a specific area where changes could make a positive difference. Comments will be reviewed, and temporary measures may be put in place or adjusted where appropriate.
The site is being provided by ‘Commonplace’ for a six-month trial period to help inform plans to keep the residents of Somerset safe.
Mike Saunders, Commonplace CEO said “Commonplace is passionate about connecting people who care about their neighbourhoods with the decisions that impact the places they live and enjoy. With so many of us spending even more time at home during the Covid-19 lockdown, there is an even greater demand to stay connected and involved with the changes happening to our roads and pavements to help maintain social distance. By offering our platform for free to councils like Somerset County Council, we’re playing our part during Covid-19 to keep that conversation going online.”
The map can be accessed at https://somersetcovidactivetravel.commonplace.is/.
*This project was created in response to the Government’s announcement of a £250m Emergency Active Travel Fund. Somerset has initially been allocated £120,000 in emergency funding for temporary measures to encourage walking and cycling.
The second tranche of £180m will be released later in the summer to enable further, more permanent measures to cement cycling and walking habits, including schemes already planned in Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs). An indicative figure of £482,000 for Somerset has been published from the second tranche.