There is a limited amount of road space, especially in a historic city like Edinburgh, so creating a substantial new cycle path was always going to mean less room for other traffic. The benefits of creating a safe route for cyclists across the Capital are many and varied. Crossing the city by bike can be a scary experience and many more people would undoubtedly do it if there were more routes like the one proposed for Roseburn. That not only helps create a healthier, more active population, it can also cut pollution and create a more pleasant, less traffic-choked environment.
But as with every plan on this scale the devil is in the detail. What impact will funnelling all the cars and buses that use the road from four lanes down to two in places have? Will it bring cars and buses grinding to a halt at peak times? The truth is that no-one is really sure. A detailed traffic assessment is a minium requirement before a decision can be taken on the plans that have been put before us.
The impact on local businesses will be significant too. A major cycle lane running past their doorway will bring changes both good and bad. Some traders may see potential new customers in the cyclists streaming past their door. But for many the proposals throw up serious challenges, both in terms of how their customers get to and from their door and how their supplies get delivered. Keeping some of the parking spaces that are due to be scrapped would put even more pressure on the existing road space, but the possibility should be examined as part of a detailed traffic impact study.
It is entirely possible that these plans will succeed in making the Capital far more cycle-friendly but at the cost of bringing the rest of the traffic to a standstill. The jury is very much out.