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


Please ask a question about the proposed parking plan and our project team will provide a response. Your question will be published at the same time we respond.

Please keep questions on one of the parts of the proposed parking plan: 

  • free parking in the Bear Street Parkade, Bow Avenue and the Train Station, 
  • user-paid parking downtown after 11 a.m.
  • resident-permit program for spaces on street in front of homes

Q&A

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    Will the train station lot be open to commuters all year? Proposal implies that it will be but previous answer suggests it will only be open during certain special events during the winter.

    Ben Asked 6 months ago

    The Train Station Parking lot was constructed by Liricon, which leases the land from CP Rail. They also lease the Train Station building. Last summer, the Town of Banff signed an agreement for the Town to operate the parking lot, as a way to help alleviate the parking challenges that Banff experiences in the summer months. Banff has a parking shortage in summer due to high visitation in June, July and August, but there are adequate parking spaces for visitors in the remaining months. The agreement between the Town and Liricon runs through 2020 with the opportunity to renew for future years.

    This year, the Town closed the Train Station Parking Lot in winter because every time it snows, tax dollars are required to clear the snow and manage ice, at a time when the need for extra parking is not high. The Town did open the lot for large events such as NYE and SnowDays when large numbers of visitors were expected. The Town will evaluate the decision to close the Train Station Public Parking lot in future years and negotiate with the owner the possibility of opening in winter months.

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    As a potential visitor to Banff can someone provide me with details on disabled parking within this plan. Is there any additional provision for disabled parking spaces? Will parking costs for disabled visitors be the same as other users (despite disabled people of necessity needing longer to get about)?

    SairNuts Asked 7 months ago

    The town has a number of accessible (disabled) parking stalls in town and is adding more, regardless of whether this proposed plan goes ahead. In the user-pay parking proposal the cost for accessible parking is the same as other paid-parking charges. The theory is, charging for accessible parking stalls will also create more turnover and greater availability of these spaces. The first 30 minutes is free and parking is free for everyone before 11 a.m. and after 8 p.m. But this is just a proposal. We are interested in suggestions for accessible parking to make the proposed plan better.

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    Why did we close the free parking at the train station This seems counter productive to the whole process

    Geo Asked 9 months ago

    The Town of Banff opened the Train Station Public Parking lot as a way to help alleviate parking problems in the town, which are experienced almost entirely in the summer. The lot was closed in the winter because tax-funded snow clearing is expensive, and the lot is not necessary in winter due to reduced parking pressures. However, we learned that when Banff & Lake Louise Tourism held the Santa Claus Parade, which occurred on the same day as the Christmas Market and a Christmas celebration at the Sulphur Mountain Gondola this year, there were enough vehicles in town to warrant opening the Train Station Parking lot in winter. We opened the lot for the Banff Centre Film & Book Festival, and required a bus shuttle service. We will open the lot for next year’s Santa Claus Parade, and plan to open it for New Year’s Eve and Snow Days in January. The lot is scheduled to re-open for the season on the May long weekend to handle the additional parking pressures we experience in town.