This Canada Day long weekend, visitors are encouraged to take On-It Regional Transit to come to Banff, and if people need to drive, they are urged to park as soon as possible in Banff’s free Train Station Parking Lot and walk, cycle, or take Roam Public Transit to every attraction in and around Banff. The alternative is traffic delays of up to 90 minutes.
“The Town of Banff has ample room for people to explore our pedestrian zone, the plaza at Bear Street and all the trails and parks around town, but with a limited area of 4-square kilometres, our town has finite roads and parking that cannot accommodate vehicles if everyone chooses to drive everywhere,” said Banff Mayor Corrie DiManno.
“Parking, then walking, cycling or taking transit is the right thing to do in a national park, to reduce emissions that cause climate change, and because it is a much more enjoyable experience. Our pedestrian areas easily support the 30,000 people per day we regularly have in our downtown during the summer. But we can’t accommodate all personal vehicles.”
All parking lots in downtown Banff and in lots on Sulphur Mountain on the south side are expected to be full by 11 a.m. on the long weekend, and remain full until 6 p.m. People who drive across the bridge to the Sulphur Mountain Gondola or Hot Springs after 11 a.m. will likely experience traffic for up to 90 minutes. The Town’s vehicle counting system on the May long weekend showed that 50% of vehicles stuck in traffic delays coming down Sulphur Mountain had driven to the Gondola or Hot Springs and had to immediately turn back to town because the parking lots were full. The Town is implementing numerous traffic mitigation measures to try to reduce congestion.
“If you cross the Bow River Bridge in Banff this weekend, you are not stuck in traffic, you are traffic. People should park as soon as they arrive in town on the north side and walk or take transit,” said DiManno.
RV/Motorhome drivers should not drive into downtown Banff as there are no parking spaces for the large vehicles. There is dedicated free parking at the Train Station. Campers at Tunnel Mountain and Two Jack are urged to leave their vehicles at the campground and take a free Roam bus into town.
The top attraction close to the Town of Banff is the Sulphur Mountain Gondola. Visitors are encouraged to book their gondola tickets before coming to Banff. And people with bookings should park at the Train Station and take the free shuttle to the Gondola. Just north of town, Norquay also offers a high-altitude chairlift that has equally spectacular views.
The Town of Banff and Parks Canada invest in On-It Regional Transit for its Friday-Sunday service to and from Calgary (only $10 one way) to reduce the number of vehicles on the road. Banff also started the Roam Public Transit system that now serves Canmore, and drives right to the Lake Louise lakeshore, as well as the scenic route to Johnston Canyon, and attractions around Banff such the Cave and Basin Historic Site, Bow Falls and Lake Minnewanka.
For cyclists coming to Banff from Canmore on the famous Legacy Trail, the Bike Valet offers secure, staffed bike storage in the heart of the downtown Banff Pedestrian Zone, making the journey worthwhile.
Banff is an iconic place to celebrate Canada Day
Banff is a popular destination to enjoy Canada Day, with the iconic Rocky Mountain vistas all around. The Town of Banff is hosting a full day of activities, including marching bands, choreographed performances, a Canada Day Market, cultural and live music performances, and displays in the downtown pedestrian zone, on the Whyte Museum grounds, at the high school field and on Bear Street. Everything is in walking distance from the Train Station Parking lot. The day of activities culminates with a low-noise, low altitude pyrotechnics display.
For more information:
Jason Darrah, Town of Banff Communications