Residents and politicians are quite rightly looking with concern at the proposed removal of the Westbound bus lane on West Coates.
Surveys and modelling suggest that the impacts of these changes will be modest
— Transport and Environment Committee Public Consultation for the Preliminary Design [3.9a]
However, notice that the bus lane comes and goes throughout the length of the A8. The main purpose of a bus lane is to allow buses and taxis to have priority to pass queues of cars. There are minimal queues Westbound on West Coates, even at peak times. Earlier in the year, roadworks on this section reduced the traffic to a single lane each way, shared by cars, buses and bicycles (so considerably worse than the Proposal), and the traffic was still flowing freely at morning rush hour.
In general, bus lanes are extremely important, but this particular section has a fairly small affect. If we use the space for cycle lanes instead, it would encourage more drivers to leave their cars at home and cycle. This would lighten to the load all along the A8, and help reduce congestion.
The protected cycle route needs to be continuous to allow families and less confident cyclist to use it in safety. The bus lane is vital where there are queues of traffic, but not so important where traffic is running freely.