whilst many Citi1 passengers will need to change buses to reach the Hospital
From Monday 9th September 2019, the junction of Queen Edith’s Way and Fendon Road will be closed so that work can be carried out on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council on the layout of the roundabout. Disruption is expected to last 29 weeks (so until the end of March 2020).
It is unacceptable that Stagecoach’s citi2’s passengers will have no direct access to Addenbrooke’s for nearly seven months and that citi1 passengers along Queen Edith’s Way must first travel – in the ‘wrong’ direction – toward Cherry Hinton.
Patients should not be required to change buses at exposed stops in the cold wet weather of a Cambridge winter. Will patients using citi1 or citi2 buses miss hospital appointment? Will key hospital staff be delayed, putting patient safety at risk?
We are calling upon the bus operator and the highways authority (Cambridgeshire County Council) to co-operate with the local community in finding a solution which restores our bus services.
See the bus route map below.
Both Stagecoach and the Cambridgeshire County Council have informed us of a lack of complaints. Please rectify this in the comments section below (click).
Mayor of Cambridge, Gerri Bird says the construction of the Dutch-Style roundabout should be delayed
Cambridge Area Bus Users would like to thank Gerri Bird for this intervention, and Local Democracy Reporter, Ben Hatton, for this excellent, and accurate, report.
Read Ben’s full report here.
Cambridge’s MP, Daniel Zeichner intervenes
On Wednesday 21st August 2019, Cambridge Area Bus Users’ secretary contacted Cambridge’s MP, Daniel Zeichner and Heidi Allen MP for South Cambridgeshire, in whose constituency the roundabout lies, asking for their intervention.
Despite being away on a short break before parliament returns, on Tuesday 27th August 2019 Daniel Zeichner replied:
Happy to take this up with the County Council and to work with Heidi.
And on Wednesday 28th August 2019 Daniel Zeichner wrote:
I’ve contacted the County Council and asked for an urgent response.
Note that phrase ‘urgent response’. Our secretary spoke to Daniel on Saturday lunchtime (31st August 2019). He had not yet received any response.
How does the problem arise?
Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cycling Infrastructure Team is remodelling the Queen Edith’s Way and Fendon Road roundabout ‘to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians’.
Work will involve installing a new Dutch-style roundabout to improve safety in the area, by giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists over motorists. One of the key elements is a change in carriageway width, designed to influence slower approach and departure speeds, thereby reducing the speed of drivers.Cambridgeshire County Council website (click for more information)
Pedestrians will be provided with zebra crossings on each of the four roundabout entry / exit arms and on the crossing points over the cycle paths. Cyclists will be given their own cycle path, in contrasting red tarmac, to give them equal priority over motor vehicles.
During [the construction period] both of the Queen Edith’s Way arms of the roundabout will be closed 24/7 to allow for the shortest construction time.
There have been differing views about this roundabout’s design and its effectiveness. Cambridge Area Bus Users cannot, as a group, comment on those issues. What we can say is that we are in favour of schemes to create modal shift away from private cars, to walking cycling and public transport, as these should – directly or indirectly – benefit bus passengers by relieving traffic congestion.
Cambridgeshire County Council’s construction arrangements for the roundabout are to the severe disbenefit of bus users, possibly long-term, as potential passengers lose the ‘bus habit’.
Although the citi1 will serve passengers departing Addenbrooke’s along its normal route, Addenbrooke’s-bound passengers from Queen Edith’s Way must travel in the wrong direction to the Robin Hood where they must cross the road for another citi1 bus coming back to the Hospital, via Cherry Hinton Road and Perne Road. Netherhall school students in Cherry Hinton lose the option of catching the bus to school.
All citi2 passengers lose a through service in both directions, but Wulfstan Way is probably hardest hit. Addenbrooke’s-bound passengers must travel around the loop via Queen Edith’s Way to change onto a citi1 on Cherry Hinton Road. On their return two changes may be needed.
Why can’t all buses use Nightingale Avenue?
It is proposed that the citi1 will use Nightingale Avenue in one direction. It was not clear to us why both the citi1 and citi2 could not use this route in both directions.
Through email and telephone discussions with Stagecoach’s team, we have learned that Cambridgeshire County Council appear to be imposing no traffic restrictions on Nightingale Avenue during the construction phase of the roundabout. This means that the road, albeit wide enough to take buses in both directions, may be choked with ‘rat-running’ traffic. The 18 buses/hour (six in each direction for citi1, 3 in each direction for citi2) would be snarled up in traffic ignoring Cambridgeshire County Council’s ‘official’ diversions. (See map below.)
It is a moot point as to which is the least damaging to the environment and to the quiet enjoyment of their homes by Nightingale Avenue residents during the QE/Fendon roundabout closure:
- 18 buses/hour from around 6am to 11pm driven by trained professionals? or
- 1000s of rat-running private cars driven by frustrated, angry, delayed, impatient motorists, throughout the day and night?
The citi2 service is a vital link to Addenbrooke’s Hospital for residents in and around Mill Road, Perne Road, Birdwood Road, Walpole Road, Wulfstan Way, and for Chesterton residents.
Below is an annotated image of the Stagecoach citi network with the city wards in orange to match the route of the citi2 and a couple of roads highlighted, for the aid of those who may be unfamiliar with the full route.
citi2 passengers have already suffered a cut in frequency from a 10-minute to a 20-minute service to Addenbrooke’s, as a result of traffic congestion on Mill Road. Additionally, Mill Road area residents have had a total rupture to through services, over the summer, as a consequence of Govia Thameslink Railway’s work on Mill Road bridge and the Cadent/Triio gas-main works.
As a result Stagecoach have lost passengers. This latest disruption threatens the long-term viability of the route.
An example of the cumulative impact of the disruption to the citi 2 can be found in this Cambridge News article, featuring, Cambridge Area Bus Users member, Ruth Greene.
A pensioner with a brain tumour is one resident who will be directly affected by the loss of the service direct to Addenbrooke’s.
Read the full article, here.
It is one thing for the Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cycling Infrastructure Team to commission a design with the intention of improving cycle and pedestrian safety. However, the skill comes in achieving improvements without causing problems for other legitimate interests, in particular bus users.
Can a solution be found?
Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and local resident, Professor John Carroll, has a produced a detailed practical solution. This is backed by fellow local resident Prof Malcolm Bolton FREng.
The Highway Authority (Cambridgeshire County Council) should install a temporary redesign/relocation of the lights and pedestrian crossing in Hills Road adjacent to Nightingale Avenue.
The current proposal is that Cherry Hinton bound citi 1 buses will turn left from Hills Road into Nightingale Avenue with the junction modifications being made just now. However no bus turns right out of Nightingale Avenue because even when the pedestrians are crossing Hills Road near Red Cross lane (and stopping the traffic towards to the hospital) there is only room for small vehicles to fit into the traffic flow and turn right from Nightingale Avenue into Hills Road.
Under current proposals there are no traffic restrictions on Nightingale Avenue. Cars taxis and other vehicles from Queen Ediths Way will choke Nightingale Avenue throughout the day and have great difficulty in turning right towards the hospital. Buses would be stuck in this ‘rat-running’ traffic and be unable to keep to any semblance of their schedule. A Solution is, however, possible. See the schematic plans, below.
- Move the existing pedestrian crossing closure to Addenbrooke’s Hospital roundabout.
- Buses turning right into Hills Road from Nightingale Avenue have a red light, before Red Cross Lane, stopping vehicles going north and a red light before Nightingale Avenue stopping vehicles going south.
- Buses turning left from Hills Road into Nightingale Avenue would have a red light in Nightingale Avenue (possibly controlled by the bus) to prevent cars coming too close to the junction and reducing room to manoeuvre the bus.
- There may be a need for lights at the end of ‘Hills Road slip road’ to control traffic.
- Retain the ‘No right turn’ restriction into Nightingale Avenue from Hills Road as at present.
- Enforce a ‘No right turn’ restriction from Nightingale Avenue into ‘Hills Road slip road’.
- There may be a need for a temporary Traffic Regulation order, restricting Nightingale Avenue to ‘Access and service buses only’.
We have written to Daniel Zeichner MP and Heidi Allen MP, both of whose constituents are affected by this service disruption. We have also contacted every Cambridge City Councillor and every Cambridgeshire County Councillor through whose ward/division the citi2 passes, and have already received a number of helpful responses. It is still unclear as to which councillors were made aware of the disruptive implications of the construction phase of this scheme for bus services.
Daniel Zeichner, despite snatching a brief holiday before parliament returns, replied on 27 Aug 2019:
“Happy to take this up with the County Council and to work with Heidi.”
And, on 28 Aug 2019:
“I’ve contacted the County Council and asked for an urgent response.”
Gerri Bird, Mayor of Cambridge, City Councillor for East Chesterton, a regular passenger on the citi2 and a wheelchair user, has confirmed that she was not consulted on the implications of the construction phase of this scheme for bus users of the 24/7 closure of both Queen Edith’s Way arms of the roundabout. Cllr Bird knew nothing of the effect on her bus service until Cambridge Area Bus Users contacted her.
Cllr Bird is now calling for a pause for this scheme: ‘Dutch-style roundabout should be held-off to reconsider impact on bus users’
Certainly, Cambridge Area Bus Users was not consulted about this disruption, nor were Birdwood Road Residents’ Association, nor, as far as we can ascertain were many other residents’ groups. We are in touch with as many as possible, to co-ordinate action.
Ben Hatton, Local Democracy Reporter, wrote this piece in the Cambridge Independent: Anger at loss of bus route to Addenbrooke’s for 29 weeks as Dutch roundabout constructed.
We wrote to Stagecoach’s Ross Barton, Operations Director, and Vanessa Armstrong, Marketing & Customer Experience Manager, inviting their comments.
Whilst they will not openly criticise Cambridgeshire County Council, it seems clear, ‘reading between the lines’ that Stagecoach’s management were not consulted by the Cambridgeshire County Council, merely informed of plans with very little time to attempt to find a ‘least worst’ solution to maintaining some sort of bus service.
We have written to Graham Hughes, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Executive Director Place & Economy, requesting a meeting between senior county officers, councillors of affected county divisions, representative of Residents’ Associations served by the citi2, Stagecoach management and members of Cambridge Area Bus Users Executive Committee. Urgently. Ahead of the proposed closure.
We propose that the start of the works be delayed until a suitable solution for bus services can be found.
Moreover, we question whether this total closure of Queen Edith’s Road is the best way of speeding the construction. Construction in the spring and summer of 2020 would enable longer daylight working, and be more likely to avoid weather-related delays.
Download your choice of poster – help the campaign.
Please note that any advertisements which appear in association with these posts are not indicative of any endorsement by Cambridge Area Bus Users. They are placed there by a WordPress algorithm.
Add your comments below, or email us to tell us what you think.
J, a passenger who works on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, has also emailed us a complaint about the citi2 service.