Spray Avenue Dedicated Bus Lane

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Thank you for your interest in a project to reduce travel times for transit riders. In the summer of 2022, the Town of Banff is gathering feedback on a 2023 project to convert one lane of north-bound traffic (towards the Bow River Bridge) into a bus-only lane. The single dedicated lane on Spray Avenue would be between Bow Falls Avenue and Mountain Avenue.

The objective is to improve travel times for public transit and incentivize more people to use transit rather than personal vehicles. Removing personal vehicles from the limited roadways in Banff is intended to reduce traffic congestion.

In 2022, the Town is seeking input from people in Banff who would be most affected by this bus-only lane on Spray Avenue – both positively and negatively – to determine how to make the Spray Avenue bus lane project successful.

In 2023, the bus lane project implemented on Spray Avenue will help assess if a similar project should be implemented on Mountain Avenue in a future year. Public input about Mountain Avenue would start in 2023, if it is feasible. Work has started on assessing if an additional north-bound lane is possible and, if so, what infrastructure changes and investments would be required.

2022 Activity

  • Public feedback on Spray Avenue project – June-July
  • Engineering and design for Spray Avenue – May-September
  • Present report with recommendations to Banff Town Council – September/October
    • If supported, Budget Proposal for 2023 implementation – November-December


Join the Info Walk about the project
Thursday, June 23
3 – 4 pm
Register for meeting point and to help us manage group size:
https://SprayAveBusLane.eventbrite.ca

We hope this will support you in discussing the project with your colleagues, family, friends and neighbours. This Discussion Guide helps to ensure that everyone has access to the project information and can submit their thoughts and feedback through a hard copy or digital Comment Form.

Project Background

The Town of Banff is only 4 square kilometres in area. The town cannot expand, add roads or parking within the municipal boundaries. Despite a pause in tourism during the pandemic, visitation to Banff is expected to increase 2% every year. The visitation to the national park is expected to return to more than 4 million people per year, and more than 80% of visitors to the national park include the Town of Banff in their travels.

A significant number of visitors travel from the TransCanada Highway through the town to destinations south and outside the town site, such as the Sulphur Mountain Gondola, the Upper Hot Springs and the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course and Bow Falls. Vehicles travelling from these locations back into town cause traffic congestion. Delays on weekends in summer months can exceed 30 minutes, and even 60 minutes on long weekends.

Although free parking exists on Sulphur Mountain, outside the town site, the available spaces often fill up, forcing drivers to return immediately into town, exacerbating traffic congestion.

Mountain Avenue is most affected by this traffic congestion, creating an impact on visitors returning into town, and all residents who live in neighbourhoods on either side of Mountain Avenue.

Spray Avenue is also affected by traffic congestion for vehicles travelling north towards the Bow River Bridge. Delays in peak periods affect vehicles returning into town from the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, its golf course, visitors to Bow Falls, and users of the trails beyond the hotel and golf course road.

Both Spray Avenue and Mountain Avenue are well-served by Roam Public Transit and other commercial bus services, but buses are often delayed in traffic.

A dedicated bus lane would move transit riders through the congested areas faster, creating an incentive for more people to use transit. This would take more vehicles off the road, resulting in further decreases in traffic congestion. Roam Public Transit would become more efficient, producing better results for tax-payer investment.

Spray Avenue has enough existing roadway width to implement the dedicated bus lane by removing on-street parking on this stretch of road from Bow Falls Avenue to Mountain Avenue. This feasibility is allowing the Town to proceed with the Spray Avenue project in 2023, with minimal cost for infrastructure changes. Changes to road markings and traffic signalling will be required.

Mountain Avenue cannot as easily be converted to allow a dedicated north-bound bus lane within the town boundaries. The Spray Avenue project will help assess the functionality of a bus lane, while the Town continues work to determine the feasibility and infrastructure requirements of a dedicated bus lane on Mountain Avenue.

Traffic Data

The average/normal travel time on Spray Avenue northbound from the Bow Falls Ave/Spray Ave intersection to Banff Ave/Buffalo St intersection, is 3 mins 10 secs in the summer (July and August). This is measured using Bluetooth/Wi-Fi travel time monitoring sensors).

A delay is characterized as the extra time it took to travel the route compared to normal travel times.

  • In the summer of 2021, there was 1 day where the travel time delay was greater than 30 minutes, and 13 days where the delay was between 5 and 10 minutes.
  • In the summer of 2020, there was 2 days where the delay hit 5-10 minutes. However, the summer of 2020 was not characterized by normal vehicle volumes due to the pandemic impact on visitation.
  • In the summer of 2019, there were 22 days where the delay hit 5-10 minutes, plus 10 days where the delay hit 10-20 minutes.
  • In the summer of 2018, there were 16 days where the delay hit 5-10 minutes, plus 5 days where the delay hit 10-20 minutes.
  • Christmas week of 2021, 0 days with significant delays. The max delay recorded was 3 minutes and 29 secs.
  • Christmas week of 2020, 0 days with significant delays.
  • Christmas week of 2019, 1 day with a 5- to 10-minute delay, and 4 days with a 10- to 20-minute delay. The maximum delay recorded was 14 minutes and 49 secs.

On a segment of road that usually takes approximately 3 minutes to travel by car, anything more than 5 minutes is perceived as slower than normal. If it takes an additional 10+ minutes to drive northbound from the Bow Falls/Spray intersection to downtown, walking is faster.

Rendering of the dedicated bus lane on Spray Avenue, approaching the intersection at Mountain Avenue. Transit and tour buses would have an advance at the intersection before other north-bound traffic. People on bicycles would be the only other vehicles allowed in the bus-only lane.

Initial design of the road with a dedicated bus lane heading downtown.

How your feedback will be used

The feedback on the Spray Avenue project collected throughout all the engagement activities will be used by the project team to refine the project elements needed to create a dedicated bus-only lane northbound (towards downtown) on Spray Avenue.

A summary “What We Heard” report will be published online at banffviewpoints.ca in August 2022. This report will be presented with the revised concept design to Town Council for review and decisions in the fall of 2022. Depending on Council direction, the project would be added to the budget for approval in January and implemented in the summer of 2023.

The goals for the project on Spray Avenue:

  • Prioritize travel time for bus passengers and cyclists
  • Maintain safety for all roadway users and pedestrians
  • Develop learnings for consideration of a potential dedicated bus-only lane for Mountain Avenue northbound

Confirmed Spray Avenue project design elements:

  • Project is a north-bound bus-only lane (heading downtown)
  • Location is between Bow Falls Avenue and Mountain Avenue only
  • The dedicated bus lane would be created by removing on-street parking on Spray Avenue between Bow Falls Avenue and Mountain Avenue
  • Roam Transit and other coach/buses would be permitted to use the bus-only lane
  • People on bicycles would be sharing the dedicated bus lane
  • The dedicated lane would be indicated with pavement markings and signage
  • The traffic lights at Mountain Avenue would give buses a green advance, ahead of other northbound vehicles on Spray Avenue
  • The total duration of the green light for northbound Spray Avenue vehicles would not be longer than the current duration of the sequence
  • Bow River Bridge traffic direction for the three lanes is not affected by this project
  • The project on Spray Avenue would be implemented in 2023
  • Public engagement about a potential bus lane on Mountain Avenue may occur in 2023

Elements of the Spray Avenue project to be determined include:

  • Is the dedicated bus lane year-round or only in summer and possibly Christmas week
  • Mitigation measures for people affected by the dedicated lane

Thank you for your interest in a project to reduce travel times for transit riders. In the summer of 2022, the Town of Banff is gathering feedback on a 2023 project to convert one lane of north-bound traffic (towards the Bow River Bridge) into a bus-only lane. The single dedicated lane on Spray Avenue would be between Bow Falls Avenue and Mountain Avenue.

The objective is to improve travel times for public transit and incentivize more people to use transit rather than personal vehicles. Removing personal vehicles from the limited roadways in Banff is intended to reduce traffic congestion.

In 2022, the Town is seeking input from people in Banff who would be most affected by this bus-only lane on Spray Avenue – both positively and negatively – to determine how to make the Spray Avenue bus lane project successful.

In 2023, the bus lane project implemented on Spray Avenue will help assess if a similar project should be implemented on Mountain Avenue in a future year. Public input about Mountain Avenue would start in 2023, if it is feasible. Work has started on assessing if an additional north-bound lane is possible and, if so, what infrastructure changes and investments would be required.

2022 Activity

  • Public feedback on Spray Avenue project – June-July
  • Engineering and design for Spray Avenue – May-September
  • Present report with recommendations to Banff Town Council – September/October
    • If supported, Budget Proposal for 2023 implementation – November-December


Join the Info Walk about the project
Thursday, June 23
3 – 4 pm
Register for meeting point and to help us manage group size:
https://SprayAveBusLane.eventbrite.ca

We hope this will support you in discussing the project with your colleagues, family, friends and neighbours. This Discussion Guide helps to ensure that everyone has access to the project information and can submit their thoughts and feedback through a hard copy or digital Comment Form.

Project Background

The Town of Banff is only 4 square kilometres in area. The town cannot expand, add roads or parking within the municipal boundaries. Despite a pause in tourism during the pandemic, visitation to Banff is expected to increase 2% every year. The visitation to the national park is expected to return to more than 4 million people per year, and more than 80% of visitors to the national park include the Town of Banff in their travels.

A significant number of visitors travel from the TransCanada Highway through the town to destinations south and outside the town site, such as the Sulphur Mountain Gondola, the Upper Hot Springs and the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course and Bow Falls. Vehicles travelling from these locations back into town cause traffic congestion. Delays on weekends in summer months can exceed 30 minutes, and even 60 minutes on long weekends.

Although free parking exists on Sulphur Mountain, outside the town site, the available spaces often fill up, forcing drivers to return immediately into town, exacerbating traffic congestion.

Mountain Avenue is most affected by this traffic congestion, creating an impact on visitors returning into town, and all residents who live in neighbourhoods on either side of Mountain Avenue.

Spray Avenue is also affected by traffic congestion for vehicles travelling north towards the Bow River Bridge. Delays in peak periods affect vehicles returning into town from the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, its golf course, visitors to Bow Falls, and users of the trails beyond the hotel and golf course road.

Both Spray Avenue and Mountain Avenue are well-served by Roam Public Transit and other commercial bus services, but buses are often delayed in traffic.

A dedicated bus lane would move transit riders through the congested areas faster, creating an incentive for more people to use transit. This would take more vehicles off the road, resulting in further decreases in traffic congestion. Roam Public Transit would become more efficient, producing better results for tax-payer investment.

Spray Avenue has enough existing roadway width to implement the dedicated bus lane by removing on-street parking on this stretch of road from Bow Falls Avenue to Mountain Avenue. This feasibility is allowing the Town to proceed with the Spray Avenue project in 2023, with minimal cost for infrastructure changes. Changes to road markings and traffic signalling will be required.

Mountain Avenue cannot as easily be converted to allow a dedicated north-bound bus lane within the town boundaries. The Spray Avenue project will help assess the functionality of a bus lane, while the Town continues work to determine the feasibility and infrastructure requirements of a dedicated bus lane on Mountain Avenue.

Traffic Data

The average/normal travel time on Spray Avenue northbound from the Bow Falls Ave/Spray Ave intersection to Banff Ave/Buffalo St intersection, is 3 mins 10 secs in the summer (July and August). This is measured using Bluetooth/Wi-Fi travel time monitoring sensors).

A delay is characterized as the extra time it took to travel the route compared to normal travel times.

  • In the summer of 2021, there was 1 day where the travel time delay was greater than 30 minutes, and 13 days where the delay was between 5 and 10 minutes.
  • In the summer of 2020, there was 2 days where the delay hit 5-10 minutes. However, the summer of 2020 was not characterized by normal vehicle volumes due to the pandemic impact on visitation.
  • In the summer of 2019, there were 22 days where the delay hit 5-10 minutes, plus 10 days where the delay hit 10-20 minutes.
  • In the summer of 2018, there were 16 days where the delay hit 5-10 minutes, plus 5 days where the delay hit 10-20 minutes.
  • Christmas week of 2021, 0 days with significant delays. The max delay recorded was 3 minutes and 29 secs.
  • Christmas week of 2020, 0 days with significant delays.
  • Christmas week of 2019, 1 day with a 5- to 10-minute delay, and 4 days with a 10- to 20-minute delay. The maximum delay recorded was 14 minutes and 49 secs.

On a segment of road that usually takes approximately 3 minutes to travel by car, anything more than 5 minutes is perceived as slower than normal. If it takes an additional 10+ minutes to drive northbound from the Bow Falls/Spray intersection to downtown, walking is faster.

Rendering of the dedicated bus lane on Spray Avenue, approaching the intersection at Mountain Avenue. Transit and tour buses would have an advance at the intersection before other north-bound traffic. People on bicycles would be the only other vehicles allowed in the bus-only lane.

Initial design of the road with a dedicated bus lane heading downtown.

How your feedback will be used

The feedback on the Spray Avenue project collected throughout all the engagement activities will be used by the project team to refine the project elements needed to create a dedicated bus-only lane northbound (towards downtown) on Spray Avenue.

A summary “What We Heard” report will be published online at banffviewpoints.ca in August 2022. This report will be presented with the revised concept design to Town Council for review and decisions in the fall of 2022. Depending on Council direction, the project would be added to the budget for approval in January and implemented in the summer of 2023.

The goals for the project on Spray Avenue:

  • Prioritize travel time for bus passengers and cyclists
  • Maintain safety for all roadway users and pedestrians
  • Develop learnings for consideration of a potential dedicated bus-only lane for Mountain Avenue northbound

Confirmed Spray Avenue project design elements:

  • Project is a north-bound bus-only lane (heading downtown)
  • Location is between Bow Falls Avenue and Mountain Avenue only
  • The dedicated bus lane would be created by removing on-street parking on Spray Avenue between Bow Falls Avenue and Mountain Avenue
  • Roam Transit and other coach/buses would be permitted to use the bus-only lane
  • People on bicycles would be sharing the dedicated bus lane
  • The dedicated lane would be indicated with pavement markings and signage
  • The traffic lights at Mountain Avenue would give buses a green advance, ahead of other northbound vehicles on Spray Avenue
  • The total duration of the green light for northbound Spray Avenue vehicles would not be longer than the current duration of the sequence
  • Bow River Bridge traffic direction for the three lanes is not affected by this project
  • The project on Spray Avenue would be implemented in 2023
  • Public engagement about a potential bus lane on Mountain Avenue may occur in 2023

Elements of the Spray Avenue project to be determined include:

  • Is the dedicated bus lane year-round or only in summer and possibly Christmas week
  • Mitigation measures for people affected by the dedicated lane
  • Submit your feedback by July 22

    Any personal information provided in this survey is collected under the authority of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act, Section 33(c). The information you provide will be shared in aggregate form for planning traffic and transit programs. No personal information will be shared with anyone outside the Town project team. If you have any questions regarding the collection and use of this information, please contact the Town of Banff Director of Communications at: communications@banff.ca or 403-762-1207.

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Page last updated: 13 Jun 2022, 04:14 PM