New figures have revealed that pedestrian and cyclist numbers in Aberdeen almost doubled across November compared to last year, with the beach and parks proving popular for a stroll.
Council statistics show that pedestrian activity is at 165% of what it was this time last year, with hopes that could translate into a healthy festive spell for city centre shops which have struggled throughout lockdown.
Similar increases were seen in cycle traffic across many areas of the city, with 142% more than this time in 2019.
Figures have been collated each month after the local authority rolled out the controversial Spaces for People changes to streets in the spring.
The November data reveals that the beach and Duthie Park received the biggest increases in footfall compared to last year.
On average, 517 people visited the seafront every day as opposed to 257 in 2019.
Duthie Park was able to boast some 592 daily visitors last month.
Currently in the midst of being removed, use of a new cycle lane down by the beach was omitted from the latest report.
Is was recorded as one of the poorest performing areas in the city, with only 30 cyclists each day opposed to 36 the year previous.
The Deeside Way, which stretches from Duthie Park along the banks of the Dee as far as Ballater, had an average of 108 users daily – which is up from 35 last year.
As of the week ending November 21, footfall in the city centre had dropped to 52% compared to the year before.
But the figure still represented a 6% increase from the prior week, which has offered traders a glimmer of hope.
The council’s transport spokeswoman, Sandra Macdonald, said: “It is reassuring that the footfall in the city is up at the moment, I’ve been struck by the number of people that I have seen walking around the city centre.
“The weather thankfully has been very mild, and I think that has encouraged people walk and cycle around the city in November.
“With people working from home they have the time to get out for a stroll and go to the shops without taking the car, something that is very welcomed.
“It is good to analyse the data and make use of the trends that we can see, I think more people walking and cycling is very good for wellbeing given the difficulties we have had.”
Reports of falling footfall have plagued the city centre for years, and in the past week some staples of the high street have gone into administration.
Adrian Watson, chairman of Aberdeen Inspired added: “Hopefully people have listened to our plea, going by footfall figures it is positive but we have a long way to go as we aren’t immune to the challenges that face the high street.
“Footfall is still down 40% year on year, it is going in the right direction, initiatives such as Aberdeen Restaurant Week and the Aberdeen Gift Card will hopefully have enticed and continue to attract the extra footfall we are seeing.
“We need more people coming in, a captive audience to take advantage of what this city has on offer.”