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Shared Street
Shared Street ConceptThe Bear Street Shared Street (Woonerff) project helps pedestrians, cars and cyclists become equal users of the commercial road. Cars drive at a very slow speed, pedestrians have the right-of-way and cyclists travel through at a leisurely pace.

Town Seeks Public Input
The Town of Banff has piloted temporary seating and amenities on Bear Street for the past four summers. Banff residents, businesses, organizations and visitors are invited to provide input into the plan to create a permanent shared street that incorporates features and roadway designs that make pedestrians and cyclists equal users to drivers.

Bear Street Mall, Main Floor Foyer

  • Drop-in Thursday, February 28, noon – 5 p.m.
  • Drop-in Friday, March 1, noon – 5 p.m.
  • Drop-in Saturday, March 2, 9 a.m. – noon 

The Town of Banff is seeking local knowledge and opinions about this important project. Public input will be considered along with environmental, economic, social and safety factors in decisions about designs to transform Bear Street into a Shared Street.

Design Standards:
This project will follow design elements set out by the Banff Refreshing standard, which have been in place for 15 years. Incorporating these principles will provide a harmonious streetscape within Banff’s relatively compact downtown core. Banff Refreshing principles include: 
  • Shifting vehicular space to pedestrian and amenity space; 
  • Safer crossing environments for pedestrians; 
  • Introduction of vegetation to the streetscape; 
  • A pedestrian scale for paving patterns; and, 
  • Introduction of standard Banff Refreshing-style street furnishings (benches; lighting; waste bins). 

Priority elements for public input include: 
  • Overall feedback on proposed street redesign;
  • Number and location of temporary on-street loading; 
  • Quantity and positioning of business-dedicated seating/tables; 
  • Number and placement of landscaping elements, waste receptacles, public seating; 
  • Positioning of vehicle travel lanes, within safety requirements; 
  • Features that change with winter/summer seasons; and 
  • Orientation of pavement patterns.
  • Option 1
  • Option 2

Option 1 

Option 2

Existing Conditions Option 2

Who is making the decision?
  • Banff Town Council will approve the final design plan, after considering safety, environmental, economic, social and engineering factors.

WoonerfTurning the 200 Block of Bear Street into a shared street was one of the recommendations in the Transportation Master Plan. The Town has been testing the design and impact of the "Woonerff" to assist with long-term decision making. 

Woonerf is a Dutch word used to describe a shared street, or "living street." 

The concept is used 
throughout Europe and is gaining popularity in North America. Banff is a very walkable community, so it was a natural step for us. It was also an unusual word that helped it stand out and draw attention to this new project.
The Dutch word is actually spelled Woonerf (with one 'f') but we used 'ff' to mirror the way we spell Banff!

Why Bear Street?
Bear Street is not considered a main arterial road in the downtown core and receives a fraction of the vehicle and pedestrian traffic of nearby Banff Avenue or Lynx Street.

Living streets, or shared roads, are designed to foster more sustainable, active modes of transportation, and enhance the vibrancy of downtown spaces. 

Studies have shown that making streets more friendly to cyclists and pedestrians has a positive economic impact for businesses on the street. 

In addition, a more pedestrian-friendly road in our downtown provides an additional attraction for visitors to popular Banff Avenue in peak season.

Four years of trials
Summer 2018 was the fourth and final year of the Bear Street Woonerff trial. A trial was also held on adjacent Wolf and Caribou streets.


Construction in 2020
After public consultation, final design work and planning of reconstruction of all underground services such as water, storm and sewer services, the construction of permanent features will start in spring 2020.



1992 Shared Street Concept