The Town of Banff is reversing a decision on one of the measures it had planned for dealing with the heavy traffic descending on the small mountain town for the Canada Day long weekend. Visitors will not be allowed to park on downtown residential streets designated with “resident-only” parking signs, as had been originally planned in an effort to help guide visitors to limited parking spaces quickly, and to take transit or walk, rather than adding to traffic congestion, especially on the south side of town.
A number of other measures trying to curb visitor traffic congestion will remain in place for the long weekend.
“We did not adequately communicate this part of our traffic mitigation plan to our community, to give enough time for people to review the measure, and we received overwhelming opposition from our residents yesterday,” said Town Manager Kelly Gibson. “We are acting on that feedback and we will continue to restrict visitors from parking on the designated downtown residential streets. We are sorry for the consternation this decision caused and we hope we can rebuild the relationship with residents who rely on the Town to act in the best interests of our community.”
Downtown resident-only parking was introduced last year as a way to protect spill-over from visitors who did not want to pay for parking in the new visitor-pay parking areas.
The Town of Banff is less than 4-square-kilometres in area, and has finite roadway space and parking within the its boundaries. The town site becomes congested quickly when more than 24,000 vehicles per day are tracked at town entrances. More than 30,000 vehicles per day are expected on the Canada Day long weekend.
This weekend, the Town of Banff is appealing to visitors to take transit to Banff, or to park as soon as possible and walk, ride or Roam, to help reduce the traffic congestion expected in the community this weekend. Visitors are asked to avoid crossing the bridge, which could result in up to 90-minute traffic delays. Throughout the July long weekend, all intercept and downtown parking spaces and the road system is expected to be beyond capacity.
The Town of Banff is implementing mitigation measures to help reduce traffic congestion for residents who need to use their vehicles, and to improve the experience for visitors. The Town’s long-term initiatives include:
- Operation of a 500-stall free parking lot near the entrance to town at the Train Station, opened in late 2019
- Investment in affordable, convenient, and regular mass transit from Calgary to Banff, with the weekend On-It Regional Transit Service
- Investment in starting and growing Roam Public Transit serving all Banff and Banff National Park
- Operation of visitor-pay parking downtown to create more available short-term parking spots and encourage parking in the free lot at the entrance to town, and creation of a reserve for funding sustainable transportation and other environmental projects
Additional measures being implemented to reduce traffic delays this weekend include:
- Traffic signal override procedures to move backed up vehicles through intersections in an extended sequence
- Signage at all entrances about using the free Train Station Parking Lot
- Signage in the Town of Banff urging drivers to park on the north side and walk or take transit, to avoid severe traffic delays if driving to the south side
- Variable signs on the north side of the bridge installed when parking lots are full on Sulphur Mountain at the Gondola and Hot Springs
- Social media alerts about planning ahead for parking, transit, gondola bookings and other pre-trip planning responsibilities
- Media relations in the Calgary region urging visitors to park and take transit or walk
- Highway signage about parking and traffic issues
- Traffic control flaggers at key intersections to override traffic signals if necessary, and ensure safe and efficient movement of pedestrians and vehicles
These measures will be monitored and adjusted as required.
For more information:
Jason Darrah, Town of Banff Communications