Councillors have been accused of "fudging" their cycle path decision after agreeing to set up a stakeholder group rather than vote on the issue.

Proposals for the City Centre West to East Link, running from Roseburn to Leith Walk, have divided opinion since they were tabled.

Councillors met on Tuesday to discuss the blueprint, a day after 200 campaigners held a mass cycle in support of the route.

A smaller counter-protest was also held on Monday by people claiming to be in favour of cycling but against the plans.

The city's transport and environment committee discussed two amended options for the route on Tuesday - a direct route or an alternative plan requiring cyclists to cross the road three times.

The direct route would include sections of segregated cycle lanes being put in place on main streets and would link to the city's off-road paths as well as Haymarket Station, Rutland Square, Lothian Road and North Bridge.

The first section of the cycle track on the A8 at Roseburn, West Coates and Haymarket Terrace has attracted the most opposition as it will involve a traffic lane being replaced by a protected cycle path along the northern side.

After a lengthy discussion and a number of deputations, 13 of the 15 councillors voted to set up a stakeholder group to develop the plans rather than voting on an individual option.

The group will bring together residents, campaigners and businesses to flesh out the plans and resolve the differences.

The two Green councillors who voted to press ahead with the first route option condemned the council for "fudging" the decision.

Green transport spokesman councillor Nigel Bagshaw said: "Local residents and traders have raised concerns about the impact of the route through Roseburn and, of course, those concerns must be listened to.

"Indeed, the adjusted design for the route has reflected some of the points made during consultation.

"But what did the council do? It marched - or perhaps pedalled - the city to the top of the hill and marched it down again, with a fudge to delay a final decision, no doubt until after the next council elections.

Transport convener Lesley Hinds said she was disappointed by the Greens' stance.

"This [project] is transformational," she said. "We have to look at the bigger picture and look at the areas where there is contention, and try and get some consensus on this."

She added: "We remain 100% committed to delivering this bold and transformational project, which will make it so much easier to cycle into and through the city centre by linking up with our already well-used cycle routes across the north and west of Edinburgh.

"Given the strength of feeling out there about certain aspects of the plans, there's clearly still work to be done before the final route design is agreed.

"This new stakeholder group will allow all interested parties to get round the table and thrash out the remaining issues, listening to each other's points of view and - hopefully - arriving at a conclusion which the majority are happy with so that the final route design can be agreed."

Friends of the Earth Scotland air pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna said: "There are question marks now on when a final decision will be taken and concerns that the scheme could be bogged down in analysis paralysis."

Hundreds of people responded to a consultation on the proposals, with 1768 (66%) in favour and 900 (34%) opposed to the development.

Supporters of the project said it would make Roseburn more "people-friendly" and help encourage cycling and walking.

Most of the objections related to the Roseburn, West Coates and Haymarket areas.

Critics claimed the move would worsen congestion, exacerbate parking issues, and hinder deliveries for traders if loading bays were reduced.

Taxi drivers also raised concerns about the rank at Haymarket Station being moved further away.