Studded bike tire rebate approved for second year
Council committed $4,000 to bring back the studded bike tire rebate for a second year. The first year of the rebate was a great success, with all funds being used by residents to purchase studded tires for easier winter cycling. While Banff has some of the highest active commuting rates during summer in Canada, according to the 2017 census only 2% bike to work in the winter. With studded tires, cycling becomes much easier and safer, allowing for year-round transportation.
New this year, Banff Access Program members will be able to receive a $60 per tire rebate, and non-access members will receive a $40 per tire rebate. These amounts are a significant savings on the cost of most studded tires, which range in price from $70 to $200 per tire (or more for studded fat bike tires). Information on how to access the rebate is available at https://banff.ca/701/Residential-Environmental-Rebates
Scope of work for new housing on Banff Ave
Council reviewed the scope of work for the upcoming housing project at 338/340 Banff Avenue. The Town of Banff intends to develop two lots located at 338/340 Banff Avenue, owned by the Banff Housing Corporation, into multifamily, price-restricted housing units that will be for sale to qualified buyers registered with Banff Housing Corporation. The following is proposed for the project:
- 30% to be 1 bedroom (600 square feet) units, 60% to be 1 bedroom + loft/den or 2 bedroom (850 square feet) units, and 10% to be 3 bedroom (1,000 square feet) units. Sizes will be plus or minus 10%
- There will be between 20-25 units in a building with a maximum 3-storey height
- At least one accessible unit for people with mobility limitations
- All units will have personal amenity space (balconies). Other amenity space will be dedicated to communal outdoor space, such as picnic/BBQ areas, playground and outdoor seating areas.
- The project will meet the energy performance requirements of the National Energy Code of Canada and as per the Town of Banff’s Municipal Sustainable Building policy (C106), the building will achieve a minimum certification level of Silver under LEED, and contain energy-efficient appliances
- Tentative milestones for the project are:
- November/December 2019 - Expression of Interest- Architects and Builders to be shortlisted
- February/March 2020 - Design Development Process
- April 2020 - Council to approve costing for development
- April/May 2020 environmental Screening, Development Permit application
- July 2020 – Municipal Planning Commission review
- October 2020 – Building permit issued and start of construction
2019 Summer Traffic Initiatives
Council received its annual briefing on the efforts to reduce traffic congestion during the summer and the means of tracking results.
Based on data gathered from 2014 to 2019, the efforts are having a positive effect on traffic flow and are reducing congestion. While the number of vehicles coming into Banff were higher in 2019, the number of vehicles crossing the Bow River Bridge are down, and traffic delays caused by volume are down. This suggests more people are parking in downtown and using other methods such as transit, walking and cycling to access attractions on the south side of the river. In addition, the time of travel are being spread throughout the day, alleviating some peak traffic congestion, especially on weekends.
Data showed all transit and shuttle ridership has gone up from 1.2 million in 2018 to 1.6 million in 2019. The addition of the new RV Parking lot and the Train Station Parking Lot proved popular, based on occupancy levels. Bike rack usage increased 8% in 2019 and more people walked across the two bridges, when compared to previous years.
Activities to help reduce traffic congestion included:
- Investments in Roam Public Transit to increase ridership locally and support to On-It Regional Transit to increase ridership to and from Calgary on weekends in the summer
- The Minnewanka Park and Ride free shuttle on Canada Day
- Traffic light controls to keep traffic moving in peak periods on Banff Avenue and Mountain Avenue
- Opening of the Train Station Public Parking near the entrance to town
- Incentives offered by partner organizations such as the Banff Gondola to encourage visitation at times of lower popularity
- Parking lot ambassador during the summer
- Additional bike racks added around town
- A visitor communications strategy partnership between the Town of Banff, Banff & Lake Louise Tourism, and Parks Canada to reach visitors before they arrive and inform those already here about transit options
Banff recorded more than 24,000 vehicles per day at the entrances to town this summer, for the first year since tracking began in 2013. Over this threshold of 24,000 vehicles is the point when congestion and delays occur. The data shows a strong correlation between lower traffic days and times when there is poor weather conditions or smoke from forest fires, indicating a large portion of visitors are day visitors who plan coming to Banff less than a week in advance.
Tracking of traffic includes vehicle counters at the two main entrances to Banff and devices to track vehicle travel time between the Bow River Bridge and the Sulphur Mountain Gondola parking lot. Other measures include tracking public transit ridership, pedestrian counters, counters at bicycle racks and parking lot usage.
Major Projects Update
Council received an update on this year’s capital projects. There are a total of 95 ongoing projects valued at $38.4 million. Some of these projects include:
- New firefighter equipment include a new vehicle that replaced a 25-year old aerial truck
- The completion of the skatepark at the recreation grounds
- Installation of additional bike racks in town. The original goal was exceeded by 140 additional racks as demand for more bike parking increased, while delivering new racks under budget
- The connection of the Legacy Trail on Banff Avenue, which is expected to be complete by the spring of 2020
- The opening of the Trans Station Parking Lot and roundabout
- Additional food waste bins being placed in neighbourhoods around town. Of the 63 bins to be installed over the next two years, 15 have been deployed already
- Upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant to maintain operation efficiency
- Installation of emergency generators to safeguard our water supply in the event of a prolonged power outage
- The launch of live streaming council meetings
Numerous other projects were undertaken. For a complete list, visit http://banff.ca/majorprojects