A summary of responses to the Council’s recent Active Travel consultation will be shared with Cabinet – with several changes to future walking and cycling provision now being considered following the feedback from 695 participants.
In collaboration with Welsh Government, the Council held the engagement exercise from December 23, 2020, to February 12, 2021 – for residents to have their say on current walking and cycling routes in Rhondda Cynon Taf and their aspirations for the future. This supports the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013, which requires Local Authorities to consult, plan and develop high-quality local Active Travel routes contained within an Integrated Network Map.
The consultation enabled residents to leave comments on the existing Map, request a new route between two points and report difficulties with an existing route. A report to the Cabinet meeting on Thursday, June 17, contains an Appendix which lists all 695 comments, along with the Council’s response and an indication of whether the Map will be updated for each specific point raised.
The Appendix also contains an indication of the demographics of those who responded – along with the location of which their comment referred to. The most popular areas were Pontypridd (78 respondents), Aberdare (63), Llanharan (63), Llantrisant (56), Church Village (28) and Taff’s Well (28).
Some requests made in the consultation had already been accommodated following previous engagement exercises, while, for those comments requiring the Council to update its Integrated Network Map, a site visit will be carried out to further examine each point raised. This will be completed before a statutory consultation exercise is undertaken by the Council later this year.
A number of other comments are being referred to separate Council teams – for example, requests for crossing points (Traffic Management) dropped kerbs and wider footways (Highways), and better lighting (Street Lighting). The report acknowledges that while these aren’t directly Active Travel issues, they are important considerations which could be barriers to walking and cycling. They will therefore be collated into a separate programme for consideration.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways and Transportation, said: “The considerable response to the recent Active Travel consultation is very encouraging, as it shows that local people are interested in engaging with the Council in order to expand local walking and cycling opportunities in their communities – not just for leisure purposes but as part of people’s everyday routines and journeys, to present a viable alternative to driving.
“Encouraging more people to walk and cycle, and improving the provision allowing them to do so, has many advantages. Active Travel is better for the environment, promotes outdoor exercise, improves health and well-being, connects communities and increases residents’ access to public transport and employment – which is why it remains a priority issue for the Council.
“Consulting residents who have local knowledge continues to be an important part of the wider process to improve Active Travel. All 695 comments received in the consultation have been read by Officers, with several changes to our future walking and cycling plans now included. Many other suggestions which are more indirectly related to Active Travel, but still important considerations, have been brought to the attention of the relevant Council department.
“A report on the outcomes of the recent consultation will be discussed by Cabinet during Thursday’s meeting, and the next stage of the process is to carry out a statutory consultation which is due to take place later this year.”
Posted on Friday 11th June 2021