Banff Parking Proposal

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This project and public consultation has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Provide your input in the survey below, or ask a question in the Q&A tab

Parking challenges, traffic congestion, the cost to local property taxpayers, and the environmental impact associated with the millions of visitors who come to Banff by car every year continues to affect us all.

As a town limited to 4-square-kilometres in size, Banff will see parking and traffic issues increase. We have a proposal that protects the environment and parking for residents, while providing greater access to available parking spaces for

This project and public consultation has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Provide your input in the survey below, or ask a question in the Q&A tab

Parking challenges, traffic congestion, the cost to local property taxpayers, and the environmental impact associated with the millions of visitors who come to Banff by car every year continues to affect us all.

As a town limited to 4-square-kilometres in size, Banff will see parking and traffic issues increase. We have a proposal that protects the environment and parking for residents, while providing greater access to available parking spaces for everyone.

Proposed Parking Management Plan Objectives:

  • Relocate commuters and long-term visitor vehicles (parking longer than 3 hours) from downtown and residential streets, to the Train Station Public Parking lot, Bow Avenue, and the Bear Street parkade (parking garage).
  • Increase availability of downtown parking spaces for short-term stays for residents doing errands and short-term visitor parking
  • Remove congestion caused by drivers circling to find a parking space (up to 30% of all vehicle trips downtown)
  • Free up residential streets for parking by residents of those streets
  • Share the maintenance costs for parking spaces with users of those spaces, instead of costs only being covered by Banff property taxpayers, and indirectly, property renters.
  • Encourage walking, cycling transit and other sustainable modes of transportation
  • Keep free parking for residents and visitors outside peak times (proposed free before 11 a.m.)
  • Keep free parking for residents and visitors for the first 30 minutes, any time of day

The proposed plan takes a 3-prong strategic approach:

  • Introduce residential permit parking downtown to protect spaces in front of homes for residents
  • Introduce user-pay parking downtown
  • Maintain free parking lots outside the downtown user-pay area and in the Bear Street parkade

By integrating these approaches, commuters and other long-stay visitors would be encouraged to use free parking on the outskirts of downtown, increase turn-over and availability of stalls downtown, and protect resident parking. The proposal incorporates the increase of approximately 500 spots in peak visitor season (Train Station Public Parking Lot) to provide both residents and visitors more options.


What we’ve heard so far

The Town has visited the concept of user-pay parking twice in the last five years: in 2014, a three-month pilot project was cancelled as a result of a petition and in 2017, residents voted against paid parking in a plebiscite. The reasons given by some residents who were against paid parking include a lack of public consultation on this issue, the cost to residents for having to pay for parking, the belief this is a “cash-grab,” and parking demand shifting to residential streets. There was also an expressed doubt the user-pay system would resolve the congestion issues.

The reasons for the Town bringing this issue back to the public now include:

  • The Town continues to receive complaints about limited parking which is expected to get worse with expected growth in tourism, reflecting population growth of the Calgary region.
  • A new 500-stall free parking lot has been added for summer months at the Train Station.
  • There is now a very good Roam Public Transit system in place, which did not have comprehensive coverage in place before, and transit now better provides an alternative to using personal vehicles to reach destinations in town. It can be maximized with disincentives to driving.
  • The new proposal used the previous feedback to develop strategies that address spill-over onto residential streets and concerns about additional costs to residents.
  • Banff Town Council confirmed a priority to reduce traffic congestion downtown and address parking issues, with the adoption of the Banff Strategic Plan in April 2019.
  • The Town is actively trying to address climate change and GHGs emissions.

We need your input

We are implementing a two-phase public engagement program that will seek input from residents, businesses and visitors to help develop the parking management plan.

The proposed plan is a starting point. We want answers to questions like should user-paid parking revenue be used to administer residential permit parking, be returned to residents in the form of a tax rebate, used to enhance public transit, used to maintain the public parking spaces, or used for something else? Should there be special consideration for residents in the user-pay zone? Special consideration for accessible (handicapped) parking?

In Phase 1, we will be looking for input on the proposed plan. In Phase 2, we will share what we heard in Phase 1 and how it was used to help us refine a draft plan. We’ll present the draft plan to you and ask for your review and feedback prior to the final plan recommended to Town Council for consideration in 2020.

Phase 1

Activities in this phase include in-person street surveys starting the week of November 25, drop-in sessions at Cascade Shops (see below), online engagement activities (November to January), stakeholder meetings and a public workshop in January. Details activities as they are set are provided below.

Three in-person stakeholder meetings:

  • Nov. 15 – Banff & Lake Louise Tourism, Banff & Lake Louise Hospitality Association, Parks Canada, hotel and building operators (Town Hall, 1 - 3 p.m.)
  • Nov. 15 – Businesses, tradespeople, transportation service providers, taxis and couriers (Town Hall, 3:30 - 5:30 p.m)
  • Nov. 20 – Special interest groups - Banff Residents Against Paid Parking, environmental groups, ecotourism (Town Hall 4 - 6 p.m.)

Drop-in public input session 1:

  • Cascade Shops, mall lower level, 317 Banff Ave.
  • Saturday, November 30
  • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Drop-in public input session 2:

  • Cascade Shops, mall lower level, 317 Banff Ave.
  • Tuesday, December 3
  • 3:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.

*Free parking in Cascade Shops parkade for people who register their licence plate with public engagement staff.

Public Input Workshop

January 30, 6 p.m. This is not a drop-in event. Registration is Required

How it could work

This is the starting point. We want feedback on these proposed elements.

Residential Parking Permit (RPP) System

Proposal:

  • In place year-round, 7 days/week
    • Non residents (visitors/commuters) are directed to either downtown, private off-street stalls (e.g. hotel parkades) or the train station lot year-round.
  • In effect 24 hours
    • To protect residential parking, including neighbourhoods which may experience on-street parking from nearby hotels.
  • 2-hour limit for non-permit holders
    • Allows for some short-stay parking to complete errands/appointments; incentivizes stall turnover/more availability, incentivizes commuters to park in longer term lots or to take transit/bike/walk etc.
  • Permits issued for a designated vehicle licence plate
  • $50 admin fee only if residents seek a permit
    • Fee to cover administration and to incentivize the use of private off-street parking stalls first - for free - where available.
  • 1 permit max per residence
  • Permit is valid for 1 year
    • Keeps database current for rental units that may have high turnover
  • Guest passes – 2 per dwelling unit at a time, limited to 10 per month. No charge for guest permits.
    • Allows for guests of residents, staying longer than the 2-hour time limit, to park in the Residential Permit zone
  • Technology - Licence Plate Registered, enforced with plate recognition tools on vehicles, or bicycles, or handheld, Guest passes via also with registered licence plates

User-Pay Parking (UPP) System

Proposal:

  • Seasonal – May 1 to October 31
    • Parking pressures occur primarily during summer season. Transit frequency is greater; cycling and walking are more popular during summer. Off peak grace periods could be increased to the first 2 hours on-street and 3 hours off-street being free.
  • 7-days/week
    • Parking pressures occur every day during the summer period
  • Free before 11 am
  • 11 am to 8 pm
    • Implemented during peak hours. Free parking prior to 11 am allows time for errands/appointments. User-pay discourages all day commuter parking downtown
  • 30 minutes or less – free anytime
    • Allows time for errands/appointments but discourages commuter parking. Encourages stall turnover for short-stay trips.
  • $3/hr off-street and on-street
    • Off-street parking is less popular than on-street - incentivize parking stall turnover. Having a single rate for both on- and off-street parking means that parkers do not need to register the car’s “zone” as well as their licence plate – a parker just finds the nearest machine, enters their plate number and pays for the time they wish to stay.
  • Free loading zones
  • Accessible parking stalls charged at same rate
    • Encourage parking stall turnover, keep accessible parking stall availability for those who need it.
  • Free 8-hour commuter/long-stay parking in Bear Street Parkade, Train Station, and on Bow Ave
    • Allows free parking spaces in less well utilized areas for commuters and longer stay visitors.
  • One zone for all downtown
  • Technology - Licence Plate Registered at on-street machines or smart phone mobile app, with ability to get notification of time left and pay to extend time via phone app
    • enforced with plate recognition tools on vehicles, or bicycles, or handheld

Proposed zones: green = paid parking; yellow = resident permits on street; blue= free all the time


  • Banff, Canmore looking at paid parking for town centres - Rocky Mountain Outlook

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    9 months ago

    By: Alana MacLeod

    BOW VALLEY – Paid parking proposals are on the table for downtown Banff and Canmore as both communities continue to grapple with parking pressures and traffic troubles in the face of growing visitation.

    Town of Canmore administration is recommending moving forward with paid parking in the town centre in June 2020 to manage traffic congestion and fund free public transit, while the Town of Banff is kicking off its public engagement process this week on its paid parking proposals.

    Under the proposals, both communities have come up with a residential parking permit system.

    “It’s not intended to be onerous on the residents. We’re actually trying to come up with solutions that make residential life easier,” said Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen.

    “Traffic congestion and the impact of having four million visitors each year – with many driving around Banff looking for parking – continues to affect us all.”

    Paid parking was pitched in Canmore’s 2018 integrated parking management plan and has been a controversial topic in Banff for the better part of the last two decades.

    Banff’s proposal includes user-pay parking in the downtown core, maintaining free parking on the periphery of downtown, and adding a resident parking permit system to protect spaces in front of homes.

    Canmore’s paid parking proposal also calls for a residential permit system. Tourists could still park there for a fee, but residents would be able to register two vehicles to a property in the town centre for free, while any additional permits would be available for $100 for two years.

    Click on the headline to go to the full article
  • Whistler, Victoria launch pilot projects to make transit free for students

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    9 months ago

    TIFFANY CRAWFORD Updated: November 6, 2019

    Whistler and the city of Victoria are launching pilot projects to make local transit free for secondary students.

    In Whistler, the students will be provided free bus passes for the Whistler transit system early next year, while Victoria will give youth bus passes beginning next month.

    Whistler’s plan will be funded by increasing the cost of monthly parking passes in day lots 1, 2 and 3, according to a news release from the Resort Municipality of Whistler.

    Passes for monthly parking passes will increase by $10 to $60 dollars a month.

    Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton says he encouraged students at the climate rally to take the bus, and so this plan will help them get out of their cars.

    “I want to see our ridership numbers increase so that we are forced to put more buses on the road and increase our transit service hours. Getting more people out of private passenger vehicles and onto transit is a major climate action goal here in Whistler and I know that our high school students can lead the way by taking transit,” Compton said in a statement.

    Whistler’s Family Transit Program already allows up to three children under the age of 12 to travel for free for each fare-paying adult.

    Crompton said making the switch directly helps reduce the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Whistler.

    Whistler did not specify a date for the pilot to start but said it would begin in early 2020.


    For full story, click on headline

  • Sylvan Lake’s visitor pay parking goes into effect soon

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    9 months ago

    MEGAN ROTH May. 7, 2019

    Sylvan Lake is gearing up for another busy tourist season, and that means visitor pay parking will soon begin.

    Pay parking is in effect in Sylvan Lake everyday from May 15 to Sept. 15. Visitors to Sylvan Lake pay $2 per hour, $10 per day, or have the option of purchasing a seasonal pass for $126.50.

    Residents of Sylvan Lake can register their vehicle online for free to avoid paying when heading to the beach with their family.

    Each household can register up to four vehicles. Those who registered their vehicles in 2018 do not have to register them again this year, unless they have moved or bought a new vehicle.

    The only change to the 2019 pay parking season is the addition of a new resident-only parking area.

    The area north of 33 Street has been included as resident-only parking at the request of those living in the area.

    According to a report to Council in November 2019, residents in that area find it difficult to navigate the streets and find parking near their homes due to an increase in visitor parking, specifically in July and August.

    Town administration told Council some residents found visitors were parking on their lawns or in the ditches in the area.

    Both residents and visitors are reminded that on-street parking is limited to three hours. This is to ensure businesses in the downtown area have parking for customers throughout the day.

    There are three free parking lots downtown, as well as the three pay parking lots along Lakeshore Drive.

    This is the third year for paid visitor parking in Sylvan Lake. In 2018, the program brought in $248,382 in revenue.

    July and August are the busiest months, according to the revenue generated per month.

    More information about the paid parking program can be found on the Town’s website, www.sylvanlake.ca