Visitor-Pay Parking is designed to increase the availability of short-term parking spaces in the downtown, while providing an incentive for visitors and commuters to use free 9-hour parking located at the Train Station Public Parking Lot, along the Bow River, and in the Bear Street parkade. Pay parking is proven to increase turnover of limited parking spaces, increasing the likelihood that an available parking spot can be found.
- Paid parking to be introduced in May 2021
- 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., year-round
- $3/hour in summer; $2/hour in winter in the downtown core (green zone - map below)
- Same cost for on-street and parking lots
- Free in three large 9-hour parking lots (blue zone - map below)
- Banff residents who have a Resident Vehicle Parking Permit can park for free for up to 3 consecutive hours per day in the paid zone, if they have registered their licence plates annually
How to pay:
- Card payment through parking app for mobile devices (launch in May)
- Coin or card payment through pay stations on the street and in parking lots
How does it work:
- visitors will enter their licence plate and submit payment through the app or at the pay station, then they can go
- a pass or receipt is not required for a dashboard
- Town staff use licence plate recognition cameras to confirm payment in the system and time used
- People who use the app can set up a reminder about time limits and can "top up" payment if needed
- Paid-zone parking won’t have time limits
(1-hour, 2-hour and 3-hour limits exist in the core now, before paid parking is implemented in May)
- The Pay Parking Zone is one continuous zone where the same per hour rate applies throughout. People do not need to remember the zone that they are parked in. Just park your car, and go to the nearest machine and pay, or use the mobile/web app.
Where: The downtown core is one Paid Zone (green zone on the map)
Free parking – for up to 9 hours – is available at:
- the 500-stall Train Station Public Parking lot – a 10-minute walk or 7-minute free shuttle (peak summer) to downtown’s main street
- 94 parking spaces on Bow Avenue – 2 minutes from downtown’s main street
- 187 stalls in the Bear Street parking structure in the downtown core
Free parking is best for commuters and visitors with a longer itinerary, such as shopping, lunch, bus to the gondola or to Lake Louise, then back downtown for dinner. Use of free parking makes more short-term spaces available in the downtown core.
Free shuttle, cycle or stroll
Roam Public Transit operates a regular free shuttle from the Train Station Public Parking Lot to Banff Avenue during the peak summer season on weekends. Many visitors use the Train Station Parking lot as a hub for walking to the downtown or along Bow River trails, or as the base for cycling throughout the town and into the national park.
Roam Public Transit serves all areas of in the town and connects with all main attractions in Banff National Park.
Why is paid parking being introduced?
The Town of Banff is 4-square kilometres in size. The municipality cannot expand into the national park. The Town can’t add parking. The limited parking in the town site is in high demand by the 4 million visitors each year. Visitation is increasing by 2% every year. Until May 2021, public parking remains free. Consequently, many drivers circle the small downtown core looking for a parking stall as close to their destination as possible, resulting in traffic congestion, idling vehicles and frustrated drivers. Paid parking zones and free parking areas create incentives that will make parking stalls more frequently available downtown. Free parking for people planning a longer stay is hassle-free in the parking lots just outside downtown.
More parking availability
Pay parking in the downtown core will increase the turnover of existing parking stalls, making parking spaces more frequently available. Pay parking is best for short-term stays. Free parking mainly outside the core is best for longer stays.
Where does the money go?
Visitors to Banff National Park are required to obtain a Park Pass for day visits or annual passes. Fees for Park Passes go to Banff National Park to pay for visitor services and facilities in the park. The Town of Banff does not receive any revenue from the sale of parks passes or any other Parks Canada programs. In fact, the municipality pays Parks Canada for lease of land for municipal buildings.
Revenue from the Town’s paid parking system in downtown Banff covers the costs of the parking infrastructure and enforcement. Banff Town Council has directed any extra revenue from the paid parking system to be designated for specific transportation-related programs, not general operations. Council is considering input from residents about the designated programs and will finalize direction in 2021.