Resident Parking Permits
The Visitor-Pay Parking system is in effect July 5, 2021.
Resident-only parking is in effect in the residential streets around the downtown paid zone to prevent spill-over of visitors looking to avoid paying for parking.
All Banff residents are eligible to apply for a free Resident Parking Permit.
All businesses licenced to operate in Banff that have vehicles registered to the business can apply for the parking permit.
Residents with a Resident Parking Permit will be allowed three hours of free parking in the pay-parking zones (green zone on map) and up to 72 hours of continuous parking on resident-only parking streets (red zone on map below).
- How to Park for Free - For Residents (register your plate for free parking)
Guest parking permits are available for residents who live in the resident-only parking zone to welcome visiting friends and family. Sign in to your Resident Parking Permit Account when your visitors arrive to register their plates.
Before the pay parking program was implemented, free parking in Banff had a mix of 1-hour, 2-hour and 3-hour parking time limits, depending on location. After Visitor-Pay Parking was implemented, vehicles registered for a Resident Parking Permit have free parking up to 3 hours in all Town-managed locations where payment is required - on street and in parking lots.
Free loading zones are maintained for everyone. Free parking in the Bear Street Parkade, Bow Avenue and the Train Station are perfect for commuters as the time limit is expanded to 9 hours.
The entire downtown core, with on-street parking and parking lots is one pay-parking zone.
Note: Parking in on private property (e.g. driveways and garages) is not regulated and therefore, parking permits are not required. Only parking on the public roads are managed by the Resident Parking Permit system in the downtown area identified in the map.
- Resident Parking Permit registration is open. Visitor Pay Parking is in effect 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Residents must register in order to be able to park for free in the paid zone.
- Parking on streets in the resident-only parking zone is restricted to vehicles with Resident Parking Permits
from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week, year-round.
- Residents will be required to register their vehicles annually for permits to park for up to 3 hours free in the paid zone, and to park in the resident-only parking zone
- Residents register or renew their vehicles annually
- Anyone who resides in the Banff town site is eligible to register their vehicle for a Resident Parking Permit
- Proof of residency may be required at registration if your vehicle registration does not specify your address
- Residents who have registered for a Resident Parking Permit can park for free for 3 hours per day in the paid zone, and can park in the “restricted” resident-only parking area
- Residents who live on the “restricted” resident-only streets downtown (red streets in the map below) can obtain guest parking permits for visiting friends or family to allow them to park on the street. These short-term guest parking permits are obtained when the guests arrive.
- See below for vehicles registered to a licensed Banff business
- No cost for Resident Parking Permits to eligible residents (administration and enforcement costs are to be covered by revenue from paid parking program)
- No cost for Guest Parking Permits
- Residents with a Resident Parking Permit for their vehicle will have to pay if parking longer than 3 hours per day anywhere in the pay-parking zone
- For information on Visitor-Pay Parking, visit https://banff.ca/1184/Visitor-Pay-Parking
- No limits on the number of Resident Parking Permits for vehicles per dwelling
How to register:
- Visit the Application Page or visit Town Hall during business hours
- Renewal is once per year (or shorter term options for temporary/seasonal workers)
- Proof of residency may be required at initial registration and annual renewal, if vehicle registration does not list your street address.
- An image of the vehicle registration (and proof of residency for some) from a scan or photo will be uploaded
- Note: In Alberta, if you are a new resident of Alberta, you are required by law to change your registration to an Alberta registration within 90 days of moving to Alberta.
Please note: for annual Resident Parking Permits, your registration must be up to date with a Banff physical address or a Banff PO Box. Update your Alberta vehicle registration, if you have not done so. In some cases for temporary, short-term or seasonal workers not required by provincial legislation to update vehicle registration, the Town will work with applicants to obtain other proof of residency.
How does it work:
- A printed “pass” is NOT issued or used for display in vehicles. Licence plate recognition cameras will be used by enforcement patrols
- Banff residents whose vehicle is registered for a Resident Parking Permit can park on street in the “restricted” resident-only parking streets in the downtown (red zone on map)
- Banff residents whose vehicle is registered for a Resident Parking Permit can park for free up to 3 hours per day in the downtown paid zone (green zone on map).
- Park in a space in the paid zone
- Enter your licence plate number at the pay machine, or in the web portal (PaytoParkBanff.ca) or in your downloaded Blinkay App (via Google Play or Apple Store)
- Enter the time you wish to park. If less than three hours it will be free. The system will remember how much time you use.
- If you select more than 3 hours, you will have to pay the amount for the extra time. The system calculates the amount for you.
- By entering your licence plate and time you wish to park, you are able to split up your free parking throughout the day.
- If you are using the Blinkay mobile app, it will tell you if you are close to using up the time you selected and you can add time.
Only vehicles registered with a Resident Parking Permit, or a guest parking permit, can park on streets in the downtown “restricted” residential areas (red zone on the map).
Guest Parking Permits
- Guest Parking Permits are available on resident-only streets. Residents who have a registered account will obtain permits for visiting guests by signing in to their account in the online portal. Residents register their guests for the specific dates of the visit.
- Only residents who live in the “restricted” downtown residential zone (yellow in map) can obtain guest parking permits for visiting friends or family to park on the street.
- Guest parking permits are obtained online or in Town Hall, and they are only secured when the guests have arrived.
- 120 dates per year limit for use of guest parking permit per residence
- A printed “pass” is NOT used for display in guest vehicles. Licence plate recognition cameras are used by enforcement patrols, and they access a database of registered parking permits
- No monthly limit on guest parking permits, however only 2 guest parking permits can be used at a time per residence
- Each guest parking permit is valid for 2 weeks but can be renewed for the same vehicle if guests are staying longer
- Traffic laws apply – on-street vehicles must be moved within 72 hours
Please note: visitors to Banff National Park are required to obtain a Park Pass for day visits or annual passes. Fees for Park Passes go to Banff National Park for visitor services and facilities in the park. For information on Parks Canada Park Passes, visit the Banff National Park website.
- Banff-based trades and businesses with company vehicles can register for the Resident Parking Permit
- Vehicles registered to any business licensed to operate in Banff (both local or non-resident) are eligible for a Resident Vehicle Parking Permit. The vehicle must be registered to the business and the business license must be paid to be considered eligible.
- A business vehicle with a valid Resident Vehicle Parking Permit will be allowed three hours of free parking in the payment required zone (as they always have) and they will also be allowed to park in the residential permit zone for up to 72 hours (as they have always been allowed)
- These parking rights DO NOT grant any special privilege in alley or in the short free zones.
- Tradespeople whose business vehicles are NOT registered in Banff, but require on-street parking in the residential-only parking zone can be assigned a guest parking permit by the resident, if off-street parking such as a private driveway is not available.
Free loading zones
15-minute free parking for loading/unloading will be included in several locations within the downtown paid zone. A map of the loading zones will be updated when the signage is installed.
The Town of Banff is adding more designated parking stalls than currently exists for people with disabilities. A parking placard from the Government of Alberta allows a person exclusive use of disabled parking stalls. People with these accessible parking placards displayed in their vehicle can park in the designated stalls for free for 3 hours. A map of stalls will be updated when the signage is installed.
Other streets for resident permits
The zone designated for “restricted” parking for residents was determined by addressing the main problem of visitor and commuter “spill-over” to avoid pay parking in the downtown core. There are other challenges to parking congestion in residential streets that this program does not solve. Free and unlimited parking permits for residents on these “restricted” streets does not provide an incentive for residents to use their driveways or garages. Data shows there are up to 1,000 unused private stalls in the downtown area. However, the majority of feedback in the consultation recommended no fee and no cap on the number of permits per residence.
In addition, some hotels in the periphery of downtown have guests who choose to park on the street rather than a parkade. Some areas are affected by visitors to other attractions outside the downtown core. Some residential streets are affected by nearby construction. The parking plan will not solve all these issues, but as the program is implemented the Town will review the performance of the program and consider amendments. For example, other jurisdictions have processes for the majority of residents on a street or neighbourhood to request to Council make their area a “restricted” residential street.
Why is paid parking being used?
Pay parking aims to increase the availability of short-term parking spaces in the downtown, while providing an incentive for visitors and commuters to use free 9-hour parking located at the Train Station Public Parking Lot, along the Bow River, and in the Bear Street Parkade. The Resident Parking Permit system will prevent visitors from using residential streets in the downtown core to avoid paying for parking.
In 2017, Banff residents provided a non-binding vote on the election ballot about paid parking. Eligible voters who responded said "no" (54%), and "yes" (46%). In 2019, Town Council asked for more consultation on the matter to better understand why half of eligible voters opposed the concept. The public engagement in 2019 and 2020 sought input from all residents over two phases. (Not all our residents can vote in a municipal election, but all residents can participate in public engagement programs.)
Council asked for more public engagement because parking management continued to be needed for the community, with visitation continuing to increase by about 2% every year. The problems of traffic congestion and limited parking were getting worse, making residents and visitors frustrated by unavailable parking spaces in the 4-square kilometres town site that cannot expand.
Building more parkades of free parking was evaluated and rejected in the Long-term Transportation Plan consultation because there would be no incentive for people to park in the periphery and would continue to circle downtown looking for spaces, when visitors outnumbered spaces by a large margin in peak seasons.
In 2019, the situation became different than in 2017. Other assets and plans made pay parking a more effective option:
- We have a more established Roam transit service as an efficient alternative to driving for many commuters, residents and visitors
- The Town operates a 500-stall parking lot at the Train Station, leased from the private leaseholder on CP Rail land. Operated as free parking, this provides an incentive to park in the periphery and reduce traffic downtown, when combined with pay parking in the downtown. Although requested, parking lots outside the town site are not allowed by Parks Canada.
- The new parking plan addresses the complaints of many residents who voted “no” in 2017 by creating a resident permit program to prevent “spill-over” into downtown residential areas by visitors avoiding paid parking in the core.
In 2019 and 2020, there were two phases for feedback. Over 15 months, a draft plan was presented and discussed in workshops, public sessions and online surveys. A revised plan was created based on the feedback in Phase 1. Revisions included making parking in the paid zone free for residents, providing resident permits for free and not placing limits on the number of permits allowed per residence. People over the two phases provided about 1,100 submissions on the proposals, with more than 45,000 distinct pieces of input on the range of options in paid parking and resident permits. A large majority of participants in the public engagement on the revised plan supported the initiative.
What about the revenue from paid parking?
The objectives of the visitor-paid parking program does not include generating revenue. The aim is to provide incentives for keeping parking short-term in the core, and motivating commuters and longer-stay parking to move to the free lots on the periphery.
However, taxpayers in Banff already pay for the maintenance of these parking stalls and traffic systems, while visitors have not contributed. The Town receives nothing from Parks Canada from visitor park pass fees. Now, visitors will help contribute costs associated with the maintenance of roads and parking areas.
The revenue from paid parking will cover the infrastructure costs to implement the system and the operating costs for administration and enforcement, as well as cover the costs for the Resident Permit Program, ensuring those permits are free to residents. Paid parking is expected to result in additional revenue in coming years, after all costs have been covered.
Banff Town Council has set up a dedicated reserve for this revenue, rather than going into general operating budgets. Any net revenue must be used to fund operating or capital costs related to the following types of projects and initiatives:
- Roadway and parking improvements
- Transit enhancements
- Increased snow clearing
- Cycling or other active transportation initiatives
- Overall tax stabilization & economic recovery