This article was published in 2007, in Newsletter 70.
A car club is a system of pool cars on city streets, where car club members can make use of such vehicles on a pay-as-you drive basis. The benefits are that people then don’t need to own cars (which is helpful for areas like Romsey where there is limited car parking space), car usage is lower (because people think more carefully about using cars) and so other users, principally cyclists and walkers also benefit. From the motorist’s perspective, the costs of car use are also lower because usage is less and ownership isn’t required. Lower car usage also benefits the environment and is an important part of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
‘Romsey’s terraced streets look set to be the location for Cambridge’s first car club. A city Council survey showed huge support for the idea, and January’s traffic committee could give the go-ahead. Car Club parking spaces could be marked out during the summer of 2007.’
We understand from a variety of sources that a car club is being proposed for Romsey. Quoting from a recent political leaflet:
About eight years ago a consortium called RoCoCo tried to start a car club in Romsey. (See Newsletter 23.) It failed because they apparently couldn’t agree the location for the cars to be kept. However, the new proposals seem to be gaining official council backing, to the extent that replacement of existing general car parking spaces with car club spaces is proposed.
We very much approve of the introduction of a car club, particularly in places like Romsey and Petersfield, where dense terraced housing is the norm. Pavement parking is shamefully allowed in parts of Romsey, a disgrace which the pedestrian lobby should be complaining about. In fact, the terraced streets of Romsey are excessively car dominated.
We believe that the introduction of a car club should be part of a package of measures which should include:
- The car club scheme itself, preferably backed by the council and with spaces marked out at the expense of general car parking spaces. These could be gradually increased over time.
- Introduction of secure cycle parking in the area. Such cycle parking is extremely rare in Romsey. We are about to conduct a survey of the ratio of car parking to cycle parking.
- Many streets of Romsey are one-way streets. Despite being an ideal area to increase cycling, two-way cycling is prohibited in most of these streets. This needs to change.
Additionally, all Romsey’s streets should ideally be made 20 mph. However, that is probably not a realistic prospect in the current set of changes.
The creation of a car club is an ideal time for the introduction of cycle parking into the area, because it should free up some space used at present for car parking. Cycle parking should be included as part of the Traffic Regulation Order required as part of the implementation the car club proposals.
These changes would help start to make Romsey a more people-friendly place, less dominated by motor vehicles, for which there is not really enough space.
Martin Lucas-Smith, Co-ordinator