Show your local authority in Wales where better infrastructure is needed

Gwenda Owen's picture

Show your local authority in Wales where better infrastructure is needed

New tool Commonplace will help you to work with your local authority in Wales to create a network of cycling and walking routes that take you where you want to go! Gwenda Owen, engagement officer for Wales, explains

In Wales, we have a vision. Everyday local journeys, to school and work, popping to the shops, to visit friends and family are made by bike or on foot, and the Active Travel Act is a critical part of making this vision a reality.

The Act places a duty on local authorities to make continuous improvements to their cycling and walking networks, to build on what's already on the ground, and to identify what is needed to join up the networks so that our towns and cities become places where choosing walking and cycling for short journeys makes the most sense.

The Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Lee Waters is keen that the routes are informed by those who know their area best: "We want to capture people’s local knowledge while it is still fresh in their minds. Where did their active travel journeys become difficult? Were there areas where they felt unsafe? Are there any places where they couldn’t continue their journeys? Are there journeys they’d like to walk and cycle but don’t feel safe doing so?"


These improvements should meet the design standards laid out in the guidance accompanying the Active Travel Act, meaning an end to lines of paint on the tarmac. Instead, we should see communities being able to cycle and walk on paths that are direct, safe, suitable, and ideally segregated - rather than shared.

 

Take action

 

As part of the ongoing improvement to the active travel network, local authorities must review their maps every three years and consult with members of the public as part of that process. Welsh Government wants to ensure that people who don’t currently walk or cycle those shorter journeys have their say as well as hearing from those who do. Everyone in Wales who lives in or near a town or city can help to make sure that this network is made up of routes that work for everyone who wants to ride their bikes, by letting their council know what would work for them.


With coronavirus restrictions in place, community-based consultation events aren’t possible, so we don't get to meet up with like minded people, pore over maps and discuss dropped kerbs, speed limits and rat runs. To compensate, and in order to help reach a wider audience, Welsh Government has funded the Commonplace platform so that each local authority has the opportunity to engage with their local communities online to help create an active travel map that better takes in to account local knowledge - as people who live, work and play in an area know what works and what doesn't.

Have your say

 

Commonplace allows you to add to the map of your area to say where you would like to cycle, point out barriers, suggest solutions and see what others think. Whether you already get around by bike, or you would cycle if things were better, this is a great opportunity to let your local authority know what needs to be done. The information from these maps will help the local authorities produce their draft network maps, which should then be back out for consultation later in 2021 in time for the final version to be ready for submission to Welsh Government by the deadline of 31 December 2021

Not all local authority Commonplace sites are live yet, though we hope to see that change in the new year. Councils who have already started using Commonplace are seeing large numbers of people getting involved in their active travel network maps. Chair of the Active Travel Board, Dr Dafydd Trystan Davies said: "I know of the enthusiasm within local areas for further developments and look forward to all Councils engaging with the website and further developing ambitious plans during the next 12 months."

I know of the enthusiasm within local areas for further developments and look forward to all Councils engaging with the website and further developing ambitious plans during the next 12 months.

Trystan Davies, Chair, Active Travel Board

So make sure that you have your say, share with your friends and family; those who do ride bikes and those who don't yet. If your council's Commonplace is not yet running, why not get in touch with them? Find out when they plan to let you have your say on what needs to be done to make riding a bike possible for everyone.

Look out for the deadlines as some councils want responses in soon! 

If you're interested in finding out more about our campaigning work and ways you can get involved in making riding a bike a real option for as many people as possible, then get in touch

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