Anger at loss of bus route to Addenbrooke's for 29 weeks as Dutch roundabout constructed
A “significant” area in Cambridge will lose its direct public transport link to Addenbrooke’s Hospital when construction begins on a Dutch-style roundabout.
The mayor of Cambridge, Labour councillor Gerri Bird, is calling on Cambridgeshire County Council to delay construction until there is a “proper consultation”.
Work is due to begin on the £800,000 roundabout at the junction of Fendon Road, Queen Edith’s Way and Mowbray Road on September 9, and is expected to last 29 weeks.
The Citi2 bus, operated by Stagecoach, will not run directly to Addenbrooke’s for the construction period of more than six months.
It means parts of Chesterton, Mill Road, Perne Road and Birdwood Road will not have a direct link to Addenbrooke’s for this time, according to the Cambridge Area Bus Users group.
Stagecoach said residents could still get to Addenbrooke’s from the affected areas on its network but would have to use two services.
Cllr Bird, who gets the bus from Chesterton, hit out at both the council and Stagecoach, saying the change “is going to make life harder for disabled people”.
Cllr Bird, a wheelchair user herself, said: “They haven’t thought about access for wheelchair users or anyone with a disability.
“The thing with wheelchairs is there is only one wheelchair spot. To get to Addenbrooke’s you would have to get off in town to get the number one, hoping there are no other wheelchair users trying to get on otherwise you have got to wait for the next one.”
She added it was “crazy” there is not greater provision for wheelchair users on buses.
She said: “It is not just wheelchair users. Lots of people use the bus to get to Addenbrooke’s and elsewhere.”
She added the county council and bus operators are supposed to be encouraging public transport and discouraging private car use in the city.
“I think what should happen is it should be held off until it is given a proper consultation,” she said.
Richard Wood, secretary of the Cambridge Area Bus Users, said it was a “vital” link for a “significant area of the city”.
He echoed Cllr Bird’s complaints about a lack of consultation and said it was a question of priorities between disruption for public transport and private cars.
He said: “We would say that restrictions on private cars on Nightingale Avenue should be imposed and that both the Citi1 and Citi2 buses should run freely through there.”
A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesperson said: “Extensive public consultations were carried out in 2015 and 2016 - 67 per cent of respondents supported the redesigning of the roundabout to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
“We are aware of the concerns raised by the residents and have been working with Stagecoach to ensure disruption to public transport is kept to a minimum throughout the work for this much-needed scheme. We have been in conversations with local councillors, partners and residents affected throughout the different stages of the project and kept them updated.
“We understand that while in the short term the construction of this scheme may cause some inconvenience, in the long term it will improve safety and encourage more people to cycle and walk.
“We would like to encourage residents to attend the drop-in sessions to find out more about the scheme and the transport options available during the construction period.”
A spokesperson for Stagecoach said: “We understand that the Queen Edith’s Way/Fendon Road roundabout will be closed for 29 weeks from September 9, and so we have been working with the council to try to minimise route changes for our passengers.
“All parties were keen to maintain the service right through to Addenbrooke’s and we looked at several different options for setting up diversions. All of the direct solutions were problematic – due to concerns about traffic levels on Nightingale Avenue, implausibly tight junctions for turning buses and the difficulty of providing enough buses to serve a longer diversion without creating knock-on problems for other routes.
“Therefore, we opted to get as close to the hospital as possible using the Citi2, then give passengers the option to switch to a Citi1 bus at the Wulfstan Way interchange. This way, they can still reach the hospital, albeit using two buses rather than one.
“We regret the inconvenience that this causes to passengers, but unfortunately these roadworks – and those concerning Mill Road Bridge – are beyond our control.”
Citi 1 and 16A also affected
The Citi 1 service will also be affected by the construction work.
The service will operate as normal between Arbury and Addenbrooke's, but after leaving the hospital, buses will divert via Hills Road and Nightingale Avenue, meaning the stop on Fendon Road will not be served.
Buses heading in the reverse direction from Cherry Hinton/Fulbourn, will follow a diversion via Cherry Hinton Road and Mowbray Road to access Addenbrooke's.
Stops on Queen Edith’s Way cannot be served as the junction at Fendon Road will be closed.
Meanwhile, the 16A will operate directly to Addenbrooke's bus station then will travel via Hills Road and Nightingale Avenue to rejoin the normal route, meaning the Fendon Road stop will not be served.
When heading towards Cambridge, the 16A will operate via Cherry Hinton Road and Mowbray Road between The Robin Hood pub and Fendon Road.