Visitors entering the townsite from the west will be able to make smarter parking decisions this summer, getting them out of their cars and involved in their chosen activities faster and easier.
The Town has installed several new “smart parking” blade signs showing real time parking capacity at The Fenlands, in Bear Street Parkade and on Bow Avenue. All three locations offer 9- to 12-hour parking for visitors, who can then explore Banff by foot, bicycle or transit.
New signs just before the entrance to The Fenlands will show capacity in that parking lot, which accommodates RVs, as well as capacity of the Bear Street Parkade and Bow Avenue. If the parking ahead is full, visitors will know to pull into The Fenlands lot, which is a 10-minute walk to downtown.
A second smart parking sign installed on Lynx Street at Caribou Street indicates capacity at Bear Street Parkade. A blade indicating capacity on Bow Avenue from Caribou to Wolf streets has been added to encourage motorists looking for parking to turn right and park on Bow Avenue, or ahead and left into the parkade.
A third sign will be installed on the corner of 101 Bear Street indicating capacity on all of Bow Avenue encouraging the motorist to turn right for parking.
The parking capacity information will also be displayed on the new traffic dashboard on the Town’s website (banff.ca/dashboard).
RV parking is available in the health unit lot and on Railway, Wolf and Elk streets. There is no RV parking in the downtown lots or on Bow Avenue.
Up to 30 per cent of traffic downtown in peak periods is attributed to motorists circling in the hunt for a parking stall. Providing capacity information at key decision points is designed to improve the visitor experience as well as reduce traffic congestion and increase parking availability. Parking capacity will be monitored over the summer to gauge the effectiveness of the system with results incorporated into the design for the rest of the downtown area.
The project is part of the Off Street Smart Parking capital project. Other components include the onsite capacity signs at the Bear Street Parkade and at the Buffalo/Beaver street lot. The total budget for the project is $590,000.
Other summer traffic management initiatives include increased Roam Public Transit service to the gondola/hot springs; a free shuttle operated by Brewster to the gondola from downtown Banff; a free ride down from Tunnel Mountain campground on Roam transit; increased frequency of Roam regional transit to Canmore; Roam transit from the train station to Cave & Basin on weekends; a synchronized stoplight system and manual green light override on the north-south corridor; plus a traffic webcam at Lynx and Wolf streets. Park visitors are alerted to check traffic conditions on the traffic dashboard, which provides travel times from the Rimrock and Banff Springs to downtown, and encouraged to park and take transit, walk or cycle, through information received at the East Gate, at hotels, and by signage at the town’s entrances.