Central Park Pedestrian Crossing

Project Cost:

$5 million – Bridge 

  • Proposed for 2020-21 construction
  • $500,000 committed by the Town of Banff
  • Funding requested from the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada
  • Status: approved pending funding. Full design and environmental assessment would follow before construction.

Since 1914, a Central Park pedestrian crossing has been considered for to be an important project for our community. 

The project name - Central Park Pedestrian Bridge - is a working title for the project.

Photo illustration of existing Pedestrian Bridge at Muskrat Street superimposed on location crossing from Central Park to the Recreation Grounds. Image depicted is not the final design. Image is for demonstrating likely location and scale.

Illustration of bridge

Photo: Image depicted here is not the final design of the bridge. Image only demonstrates potential location ans scale. 

Visitor benefits 

This route will provide visitors with convenient access from the downtown hub to attractions on Cave Avenue, such as the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, the commercial horse stables, and events in the Recreation Grounds.

The bridge will become a popular, free destination for experiencing the wonderful Bow River and mountain vistas. 

A pedestrian crossing joining natural areas on the south side and Central Park will effectively double the picnic and leisure opportunities immediately accessible from downtown.

Benefits for residents

This bridge will greatly reduce commuter time for people living in the Cave Avenue area. A pedestrian bridge would provide a safer route than on-street cycling on the Banff Avenue Bridge. Winter crossings at this location are commonplace – leading to concerns over safety and highlighting the popularity of the location.

Transit connection

The project would provide the “last mile” to connect Roam transit routes centred in the downtown hub with attractions and neighbourhoods in the southwest corner of the town site.

With better transit connections and more convenient pedestrian and cyclist routes, this project has the potential to reduce traffic across the Bow River vehicle bridge, benefiting visitors and residents alike.

Based on pedestrian counts of the sidewalks on the Banff Avenue vehicle bridge and survey data from 2007, we expect between 5,000 and 8,000 crossings per day during the peak summer period – potentially eliminating over 3,000 vehicle trips. 

This project incorporates concepts and the success of the Muskrat Street pedestrian bridge. The final design has not been completed.

Preliminary design work has been carried out on a structure type and layout that would ensure beneficial trail connections. This approach will also minimize any reduction in the useable area in Central Park. 

Trail counters on the Pedestrian Bridge at Muskrat Street recorded 900,000 crossings in 2018.

Pedestrian Bridge

Bicycle route connections and trail loop

The pedestrian bridge would create several important connections for cycling routes that could form a town-wide network. The route would link to trails around the Recreation Grounds, Cave Avenue and Bow Falls Trail on the south side of the Bow River. That section connecting further to the Bow Falls section requires trail lighting and enhancements.

On the north side, a Central Park bridge connects with the Bow Avenue Trail, slated for widening and lighting enhancements, and continues on to the Fenlands Trailhead and, ultimately, the Legacy Trail departing west via the Vermilion Lakes Road.  

East of the Central Park bridge, the trail under the Banff Avenue Bridge is ready for future lighting and pavement enhancements, to connect to the Tunnel Mountain route up to Surprise Corner, or across the Muskrat Street pedestrian bridge and along to Bow Falls, and beyond.

Fast Facts:

  • Pedestrian traffic over the Bow River (pedestrian and traffic bridges combined) has increased 53% from 571,159 to 872,542 crossings, from 2015 to 2018.
  • The Town of Banff recorded 5,000 crossings per day, in peak season, on Muskrat Street Pedestrian Bridge, for a total of 900,000 crossings in 2018.
  • Banff’s 2017 municipal census identified 48% of the population commute to work by bicycle or walking in the winter, and 62% in summer.
  • Bicycle parking capacity in town has increased 55% from 550 in 2015 to over 850 in 2018, and usage has increased 42%.
  • Total annual vehicle volume over the Bow River Bridge decreased by 3.6% (173,548 vehicles) from 2017 to 2018.