Cycle superhighway set to be diverted after mass protests

Campaigner Peter Gregson. Picture: Greg Macvean

Campaigner Peter Gregson. Picture: Greg Macvean

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A KEY section of a planned £6 million cycle “superhighway” could be mothballed amid pressure from local businesses.

Proposals currently being considered by the council would see the creation of a new cycle route linking the east and west of the city, plugging a crucial gap in the Capital’s cycle network.

The finished scheme would run from Roseburn to Leith Walk, slicing through the city centre and integrating with “public realm improvements” at Charlotte Square, George Street and St Andrew Square.

But a section of the blueprints running through Roseburn Terrace has caused mass protest from residents who think the narrowing of the road and reduction in parking will destroy local shops.

In an attempt to address this, alternative plans – dubbed Option B – have been unveiled showing cyclists diverted away from Roseburn Terrace via Roseburn Place and Roseburn Street. This would replace the protected cycle track along the north side of Roseburn Terrace which features in the current proposals.

Another amended vision would see the cycle track remain in place, but with off-peak loading reintroduced on the north side of Roseburn Terrace to assist local businesses, as well as an all-day loading bay on the south side.

Both proposals – which only affect a small, 100m stretch of the overall plans – will go before councillors in August as part of the wider scheme.

They include altering the junction between Roseburn Street and Russell Road to make it safer for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.

Protesters opposed to the new route said the changes were a “partial victory” – but accused the council of “divide and rule” by sorting problems along Roseburn while leaving the same issues in place elsewhere.

Pete Gregson, who set up a petition arguing against the plans, said the entire cycleway along Roseburn and Haymarket was “badly thought out”, adding: “They are still ignoring fundamental problems. Edinburgh’s roads are not wide enough to do what they want to do.”

A consultation on the overall route carried out by the council found 66 per cent of more than 2500 respondents supported it.

Concerns focused on the Roseburn, West Coates and Haymarket areas – highlighting issues such as congestion and the impact on bus services.

Officials predict a city-wide increase in cycle use of around 16 per cent if the plans go ahead.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport and environment leader, said she “genuinely believed” city leaders had listened to the concerns of locals. She said: “In terms of the Roseburn section, local concerns have prompted us to present an alternative route via Roseburn Place and Roseburn Street for consideration by committee members.

“However, we remain in favour of Option A because it will enhance the street environment in Roseburn Terrace and is more direct for cyclists – involving one road crossing rather than the three that would be required for Option B.”