Residents and visitors have a new tool to help avoid traffic congestion on Banff’s roads this summer.
An online traffic dashboard has been developed to show approximate travel times to locations across the bridge and back downtown, along with traffic camera images and available parking spaces at the Bear Street Parkade and the lot at the corner of Beaver and Buffalo streets. The dashboard can be found at banff.ca/dashboard.
Travel times were regularly emailed to stakeholders and tweeted through the Town’s twitter account last summer to help inform the public about possible delays, but this tool will allow everyone to check traffic conditions 24/7. The dashboard enables residents and visitors to plan how they get around Banff, by showing how long it would take to reach their destination if they chose to drive, along with an image of road conditions and any traffic backups.
“We encourage everyone to leave their car at home or at their hotel and walk, bike or take Roam Public Transit in Banff,” said Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen. “But if you need to drive, this is a fantastic site to find out the traffic conditions in Banff’s main transportation corridor before you go.
“We’ve implemented a significant number of initiatives over the past few years to manage summer traffic in our community,” she added, “but we’ve reached capacity on our road system in the summer months, so tools like this really let people know what to expect before they head out.”
Banff’s road system is at capacity when the daily count exceeds approximately 24,000 vehicles. That number was exceeded 29 times in 2015, up from 15 days in 2014, and nine in 2013. Traffic volume is expected to increase again this summer; already this year, volume increased by 8% in January, 13% in February, 11% in March and 3% in April over 2015 levels.
The traffic dashboard incorporates elements from several existing websites, like the popular banff.ca/trafficcams and the parking lot locator site banffparking.ca. These sites will continue to operate in addition to banff.ca/dashboard.
Other initiatives to battle traffic volume and delay 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; eight-hour parking on Bow Avenue, in the Bear Street parkade, and at the train station, along with 12-hour parking at The Fenlands; a synchronized stoplight system and manual green light override on the north-south corridor; plus a new traffic webcam at Lynx and Wolf streets. Park visitors are alerted to check traffic conditions and encouraged to park and take transit, walk or cycle, through information received at the East Gate, and by signage at the town’s entrances.
For more information, visit banff.ca/transportationplan.