The Town of Banff is implementing Visitor-Pay Parking and a Resident Permit System this summer starting in May.
Council said the program aims to address parking challenges caused by limited spaces, and an expected increase in traffic with the estimated 4 million annual visitors. It hopes to increase availability of parking downtown by charging for short-stay parking and by encouraging longer term parkers (such as commuters) to park outside the downtown core.
“We have been dealing with traffic congestion in Banff for a number of decades and we cannot build our way out of this problem – and we can’t expand outside our town boundaries into the national park to create more parking. We know it has been frustrating for residents and visitors circling our downtown looking for a parking space, even the past summer during the global pandemic,” said Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen.
“Now, we have the conditions that didn’t exist before that will make it beneficial to introduce visitor-pay parking to increase the turnover of short-term parking spaces in the downtown, while providing an incentive for visitors and commuters to use longer-term free parking located outside the downtown core.”
The new parking system will include: Free, 9-hour parking in the Bear Street Parkade upper 3 levels, on Bow Avenue and in the new 500-stall Train Station Public Parking Lot (8-minute walk to downtown or free weekend shuttle).
Visitor-pay parking starting in May in the downtown core ($3/hour in summer and $2/hour next winter, in parking lots or on-street). Roam Public Transit system (now serves all main attractions in town and through Banff National Park, connects Canmore and Lake Louise, and offers a free shuttle from the Train Station to downtown on summer weekends).
Parking on downtown residential streets is restricted to vehicles with Resident Parking Permits (prevents spill-over of non-residents looking to avoid pay parking).
Visitors will be able to download a parking app before they arrive and use their mobile phones to pay when they park, or use a pay station on the street for coin or card payment.