Banff Town Council has reduced the town-wide speed to 30km/h. All signs with higher speeds were replaced with 30 km/h speed limit signs on March 16, 2022. Certain zones remain posted with slower speeds, such as the 200 block of Bear Street.
The town has had a 30 km/h speed limit for a number of years on the main street - Banff Avenue - as well as the Norquay Road entrance to town. The change drops the speed on residential streets and several arterial roads.
Skateboarders are now required to travel on roads; they are not permitted on sidewalks. Cyclists must travel on roads in Banff, not sidewalks, except children under 12 and people accompanying children. Cyclists, skateboarders and people on push scooters must follow all rules governing vehicle traffic while travelling on roadways.
The move aims to create safer roads for people to get around by bicycle, skateboard and walking. As a resort community with up to 4 million visitors a year coming to a town that is only 4 square-kilometres in area, the change will have almost no impact on travel times, but will allow everyone to enjoy the safer speeds, and the surroundings.
There is ample evidence that reducing speed limits stimulates an increase in more people travelling by active modes of transportation such as cycling. The decision to promote active modes of travel is intended to:
- maintain good air quality
- reduce noise and greenhouse gas emissions
- reduces traffic congestion
- nurture healthy lifestyles
- enhance safety
Banff already has 17% of residents commuting by bicycle and 45% by walking (62% by active modes in summer) which is unparalleled in Alberta.
Many studies also show injury or risk of death to pedestrians hit by a vehicle travelling 30 km/h is significantly reduced even compared to 40 km/h. With 30,000 pedestrians per day in the downtown core in peak season, the move is expected to maintain safety for all visitors and residents.