Britain’s a small island, and one which is often criticised by petrolheads for being increasingly motorist unfriendly.
They’ve got a point, too. Congestion, petrol prices, speed cameras, speed humps, congestion charging, the list goes on. For a multitude of reasons it’s becoming a stressful, not to mention costly, to get behind the wheel.
But this does miss something, and it’s one that I guess not all people will suffer from. And that’s space.
Since moving to Peterborough I’ve been living in a new housing estate just south of the city centre. It’s a pleasant place to live, bar the spine-shattering assortment of “traffic calming” measures I have to get past on the way to work, but it does have a problem with space.
As of the end of September I’m a two car family. I have my long-serving Polo, which is mine, and a press car to bring home every week. You’d think, given that my house is only a year old, that there’d be ample space for parking outside. After all how many houses only have one set of wheels these days?
But no, there’s barely space for a couple of cars. And that’s a problem, because there are five drivers in my house, two of whom have work and leisure vehicles, so that’s seven cars and only two spaces outside.
Admittedly this does make for an exaggerated situation in my case, but the problem isn’t isolated to shared properties. Back home in Wales there was a new development nearby which had exactly the same problem; wealthy families, usually with a couple of hatchbacks and an SUV, all spilling out of their gates and onto the narrow street. And said narrow streets weren’t cul-de-sacs, I’m talking thoroughfares. Come bin day you were better off walking, it was total bedlam.
As far as I’m concerned this isn’t particularly bright thinking. Environmentally conscious types would, I’m sure, be happier if we walked everywhere but at present the car is king. It’s uncommon for a family to only have one car, and from what I understand it’s becoming even moreso. So why aren’t new housing estates catering for the swell?
I expect like all things it’s down to cost, but it does make me wonder what we’ll all do with our family fleet of ever bigger cars if it continues. After all, if we’re all being encouraged to leave the car at home, it’d be nice to have somewhere to put it.