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Posted on: December 10, 2021

Council briefs for December 6, 2021

Speed limit could drop to 30 km/h town-wide

There’s a proposal to reduce the speed limit to 30km/h throughout the town of Banff. Banff Town Council gave first and second reading to Bylaw 16-9, the Road, Sidewalk and Trail Use Bylaw, which would replace the current Traffic Bylaw and its patchwork of speed limits and exclusions for certain road users. The change to 30 km/h is proposed to create safer roads for people who get around by cycling, skateboarding, and other active modes of transportation, as well as for pedestrians in crosswalks. 

Skateboarders are currently required to travel on roads, not sidewalks, but some roads are banned for skateboarders. The change would allow skateboarders, roller-skaters and scooter users  use all roads in town.

Reasons for proposing the change include:

  • The change would ad very little travel time in a town – seconds or a minute extra to travel the entire length of town, depending on time of day, week and year
  • With up to 30,000 pedestrians per day on the few blocks in Banff’s downtown in summer, the slower speed limit is safer for all visitor
  • Many studies 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 
  • The lower speed limits significantly increase the perception of safety for cyclists, scooter users, skateboarders and people using other active modes of transportation. Perception of safety is the most significant factor in motivating road use by active modes of transportation
  •  Banff already has 17% of residents commuting by bicycle and 45% by walking (62% by active modes in summer) which is unparalleled anywhere in Alberta 
  •  More people using active modes in this town (in Canada’s first National Park) will maintain good air quality, reduce climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce traffic congestion in a small space that has 4 million visitors a year

There is ample evidence that reducing speed limits stimulates an increase in more people travelling by active transportations, like cycling, as users feel safer. Promoting active modes of travel that maintain good air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce traffic congestion and nurturing healthy lifestyles are priorities for the Town of Banff.

There are already roads in Banff posted as 30km/h, including Banff Avenue, the main route from the town boundary into downtown and across the river. The slower speed limit is estimated to result in a minimal increase in time for drivers in town, which is only 4 square kilometres in area. The new bylaw also changes definitions to incorporate rules for current and potential future electric-assisted vehicles. The proposal maintains the current ban of e-scooters and hoverboards on public roads or sidewalks, according to the provincial traffic legislation.

Final reading of the bylaw has been postponed until January 10 to allow members of the public to provide feedback on the proposed changes. For a report on the proposal, changes to the bylaw and directions and deadlines for providing Town Council your feedback, visit banff.ca/BylawReviews.

 

Banff adopts strategy to reduce single-use items

Council adopted a Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy to reduce items that currently go directly to landfill after brief use by residents, visitors or businesses. The goal is to stop using these items, rather than shift to other types of disposable products, which still may end up in the landfill stream. Banff has a strategy to eliminate all waste going to landfill by 2050, as part of its goal to be a model environmental community that protects locally and inspires globally.

The strategy tackles more than just plastic items, but a range of single-use items such as grocery bags, straws, containers, cups and cutlery. These items are being reduced in Banff to address:

  • The impact of litter and plastic pollution on natural ecosystems;
  • The fact that many single-use items are not recyclable or compostable;
  • Single-use items that are compostable or recyclable often lack proper processing facilities;
  • Significant resources are required to produce, transport, and dispose of those products;
  • There are embodied emissions associated with the production of single-use items, specifically those that are made using fossil fuels (i.e. plastics);
  • The proliferation of single-use items sends a strong message about social norms and condones a culture of disposability.

 The strategy involves six actions:

  1. Invest in opportunities that re-normalize reuse practices
    • This includes promotions and incentives for people to bring their own containers, especially for food. Many communities are developing container share programs, which present a strong business case (due to cost savings), in addition to important environmental benefits. A Banff example of community-led initiatives is the volunteer run Banff Isn’t Disposable.
  2. Demonstrate municipal leadership
    • This includes phasing out the single-use items from being distributed or used at Town of Banff facilities, municipal events or programs, or events held in public spaces in the town of Banff.
  3. Communications and education
    • Building on the existing Zero Waste Trail campaign, the Town will work to collaborate with residents and businesses on ways to stop the use of single-use items in our community.
  4. Public consultation with key stakeholders
    • Town of Banff will seek input from residents and stakeholder groups, including commercial sector representatives, on the strategy, support needed and an anticipated future bylaw that would require transition away from disposable items.
  5. Develop a bylaw that addresses Single-Use Items
    • Following consultation and volunteer adoption of reuse strategies, the Town will develop a bylaw that could be used as an added communications tool to motivate other businesses and organizations in Banff to adopt reduction strategies. Most jurisdictions that reduce single-use items use bylaws and regulatory measures to increase compliance with community-wide goals.
  6. Investigate the option to add conditions around takeaway food ware on business licences
    • An additional regulatory measure that the Town will examine is adding conditions regarding take-away food ware on business licences. This would be an additional way in which the Town could address the issue of single-use items upstream, ensuring that businesses who are granted an operating licence in Banff are required to provide to-stay food ware, allow bring-your-own container or participate in reuse programs.

The Government of Canada has announced they will move forward with a single-use plastics ban. Banff’s plan is to accelerate phasing out of single-use items. Council allocated $10,000 from the Environmental Reserve for this project.  

 

Town may stop mailing postcards for development notification

The Town of Banff may stop sending out postcards to notify neighbours of nearby proposed developments and instead focus on tools such as signs, web postings and email to residents about projects. Since 2019, the Town has been mailing out information to neighbours within 45 metres of a property when there’s a new development. The postcard included an image and a link to https://permits.banff.ca/ where more information is made available. A survey conducted on the website showed few people found the postcard helpful. Of 1,576 visitors to take the survey, only 4% came to the website from the postcard, showing it to be the least effective mechanism at driving website visitation. The website has a function allowing anyone to sign up for an email and customize the distance area so they can get notified when there’s an update in any areas they select, or the whole town. Sending out postcards also goes beyond what’s required by the Municipal Government Act, and beyond the typical notification practices of Canadian municipalities. The plan to phase out the postcards will reduce costs with anticipated minimal impact on notification.

Council has scheduled a public hearing to gather input on the potential change on January 10, 2022. For more information and to provide input, visit https://banff.ca/BylawReviews.

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