TRADERS in the capital have warned that a planned cycleway will put them out of business by stripping away parking spaces outside their shops and increasing congestion.

Dozens of business owners have appealed to Edinburgh City Council bosses to rethink proposals for a segregated cycle lane from Roseburn to Haymarket train station, claiming that it will have a “hugely detrimental impact on trade” which many will struggle to survive.

HeraldScotland: Traders argue that cyclists can already use the National Cycle Route via Balbirnie PlaceTraders argue that cyclists can already use the National Cycle Route via Balbirnie Place

But cycle campaigners have praised city transport bosses, saying the controversial plans are vital if Edinburgh is ever going to achieve European cycling levels.

Protesters say the West Coates cycleway plan will see a 0.6 mile stretch of the A8 in the west-end of Edinburgh reduced from four lanes to two - although the council insist that reduction in lanes varies along the route, and that only one lane will be lost in Roseburn Terrace.

Nearly 40 businesses, including a hairdressers, florist, bakery and kilt-hire service, have blasted the proposals in a letter to council transport convener, Lesley Hinds, urging her to halt the plans amid claims it will cause “phenomenal congestion” on a key artery linking the west end and city centre.

HeraldScotland: Roseburn TerraceRoseburn Terrace

In a letter to Councillor Hinds, they state that the businesses in Roseburn Terrace will lose three quarters of the parking bays used by customers and delivery vehicles, adding that 40-70 per cent of customers using the shops travel there by car.

They are urging their customers and residents to sign a petition by local man, Peter Gregson, against the cycleway before the council’s consultation on the project closes on Monday, stressing that the development is unnecessary when there is an existing cycle route via Balbirnie Place which offers cyclists a “off-road paths and low-traffic streets” and a more “pleasant” journey.

HeraldScotland: Businessman and cyclist Peter Gregson is urging locals and customers to sign his petition objecting to the cyclewayBusinessman and cyclist Peter Gregson is urging locals and customers to sign his petition objecting to the cycleway

Mr Gregson said the petition already widespread support, including from 90 cyclists, adding that the segregated route would actually put riders at greater risk by forcing them to weave in and out of the path of double decker buses at stops along the way.

He said: “As a cyclist myself, I’d be advising my kids to live longer by taking the [National Cycle Route 1] by Balbirnie.

“Rather than spending £1 million getting a cycle track on the main road, the cash would be better spent fixing the black spots around the city that cause cyclists to be maimed on a regular basis.”

However, Ian Maxwell, spokesman for Lothian cycle campaign group, Spokes, said the Balbirnie route was “circuitous” and associated with a high rate of cyclist crashes and injuries associated with the tram lines.

“Unless we can provide high quality, direct routes that feel safe we won’t manage to grow the number of cyclists in Edinburgh up to the levels that we want to, which are continental levels,” said Mr Maxwell. “They shouldn’t be going round the houses.

“There’s never going to be enough road space and in the centre of a city the priority should be for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists so that the most people can move around in the most pleasant way.”

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According to Spokes, the experience of similar projects in other cities indicates that local shops gain as much or more from new cyclist and pedestrian traffic as they may lose from passing cars.

The council said their traffic modelling predicts only a “modest impact” on traffic flow and that traders in Roseburn Terrace will not lose any parking bays in the “immediate vicinity” of their shops - though loading bays on the north side Roseburn Terrace will be removed and the bay on the south side shortened.

Cllr Hinds stressed that the proposals were still under consultation and "any final design would reflect the feelings and needs of the local community".

She added “These proposals aim to provide a link across the city centre, providing a safe and accessible route suitable for people who don’t feel comfortable riding a bike in busy traffic. One of our key priorities is to encourage people who are less confident when cycling by providing safe routes, protected from heavy traffic and linking into existing and proposed off-road routes.

"This is part of our long term goal to get more people cycling, which in turn will help reduce congestion while offering health and environmental benefits.”