Banff to examine Comprehensive Parking Management Plan
Council received a presentation on a Comprehensive Parking Management Plan that aims to reduce parking pressures on residential neighbourhoods, keep residential parking for residents, and free up short-term downtown parking. The concept was requested by council to explore methods to reduce traffic congestion that is caused by drivers seeking parking in downtown Banff, in order to improve the driving experience for visitors and residents, and to reduce air pollution caused by drivers seeking limited parking.
The proposed plan has two components that would have to be implemented together: a residential parking permit system and a downtown user-pay parking program. The two components are interdependent because user-pay downtown would cause drivers to park in nearby residential areas without a system to protect resident zones, and a residential parking permit system by itself would exacerbate parking pressures for visitors and residents in the downtown district.
Residential Parking Permit System
Administration has developed a draft map indicating where a proposed residential parking permit zone would operate, with properties that would be eligible to acquire a permit. Under the concept, residents would apply for a permit each year, with an option to receive guest passes for their visitors. The objectives would be to:
- reduce parking pressures in residential neighbourhoods
- retain priority residential parking for residents through discouraging longer term parking by visitors and commuters
- encourage the use of off-street private parking stalls for residential vehicle parking
- free up short-term downtown parking stalls for residents and visitors by displacing commuters and longer-term parkers to less well utilized stalls (such as Bow Ave and in the Bear Street parkade).
Downtown User-Pay Parking
The user-pay parking concept that compliments the residential parking permit system has been drafted to show how the two would work together to help protect neighbourhood parking and encourage use of parking for errands during non-peak hours, as well as allow visitors the ability to park longer than the 2-3 hour time limit without needing to move their car by paying for the service. This would allow greater access to businesses and Roam Public Transit. The proposed plan looks at a seasonal implementation – May to October – with implementation during peak times and provisions for free parking for short terms to allow for downtown errands. The objectives would be to:
- free up short term downtown parking stalls for residents and visitors
- encourage parking stall turnover in locations close to downtown businesses and services
- reduce peak parking occupancy downtown so that residents and vehicles are more easily able to find a place to park
- reduce traffic congestion resulting from an estimated 30% of vehicles circling to find a parking space
- incentivize the daytime use of approximately 200 empty private parking stalls within the downtown area that are unoccupied during peak periods in August
- allow for short-term parking for errands or loading
Council directed administration to develop a report on options for compiling public input on the proposal. Residents can view the draft plan at Banff.ca/transportationplan and information on how to submit feedback will be added after council reviews a consultation plan.
Congestion Charge feasibility study will be discussed at Service Review
Council will determine at Service Review in November and December whether to proceed with a feasibility study on congestion charges for the Town of Banff. The concept was identified in response to the Town of Banff Strategic Plan direction to explore options for downtown traffic disincentives. Congestion charging is an example of a price-based mechanism to manage demand for road use. By explicitly charging the vehicle owner for the use of the road drivers may choose alternative, more sustainable transport options. Charging scenarios can be distance, area (travel anywhere inside a specified zone) or cordon based (crossing a line) and can also be flexible based on time of day, day of the week, time of year, and could exempt residents.
Congestion charging is used successfully in many cities around the world to reduce traffic and vehicle congestion. The outcomes of a feasibility study would be an analysis of options for implementation of such a charging system in Banff, including identifying the public policy and legal framework requirements, technical analysis of traffic modelling, pricing mechanisms and technology options, such as licence plate camera systems. Development of a feasibility study could have a budget of $150,000. Council will decide whether or not to proceed with a feasibility study at budget deliberations at the end of the year.
Funding issued to Community Groups
Council adopted the recommendations of the Community Grants Committee and has allocated $11,738 in grants to local community groups. The Community Grants Committee is a new committee formed to make recommendations to council on funding for municipal grants and the FCSS Building Bridges grant. There were a total of 14 grant applications and 10 were eligible to receive funds. Funding recipients include:
- The Bear Minimum – Making Environmental Product Workshops: $2,000
- Banff Pride – Pride in the Park 2019: $500
- The Crush Collective Crushing-It: Woman’s Climbing Technique Clinics: $1,638
- Banff Community High School Student Council – Council school culture building: $1,000
- Filipino - Canadian Association of Bow Valley – Basketball League (portion approved: funds can be put toward equipment request): $500
- Banff Poet Laureate Committee – Banff Poet Laureate events (portion approved: funds can be put toward workshop and/or walk): $500
- Palliative Care Society of the Bow Valley – Speaker series & resource guide: $2,500
- Banff Sport Medicine Foundation – Knee Injury Prevention Education & Outreach: $900
- Soroptomists International Banff & Canmore – Dream It, Be It Career Conference for Girls: $1,000
- Banff Rundle Playschool Association – New Learning Tools for Students: $1,200
Recruitment of new Chief Administrative Officer
Council approved up to $50,000 for executive recruitment services for the position of Town Manager, officially titled the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) in Alberta. Council will seek applicants locally and from across the country, to fill the position being vacated in August, when the current 15-year Town Manager moves to B.C. The practice of securing external expertise for the highest level positions is common in both the private and public sectors when seeking applicants for the most senior positions in organizations. The Town of Banff contracted an external search firm in 2003, when the Town Manager position was last vacant. The CAO is the sole employee of the Town Council, and the recruitment committee, involving town councillors, is establishing the specific skillset and experience required for Banff.
Council also designated Randall McKay as Acting Town Manager, effective August 6, 2019 until the start date of a new Town Manager. McKay has been employed by the Town of Banff for 25 years, assuming his current role as head of Planning & Development in 1997. The selection of McKay in the senior administrative position ensures continuity of service and maintained focus on the Banff Community Plan and the Strategic Plan.
Notice of Intention to Designate MacKenzie Residence
Council directed administration to issue a Notice of Intention to Designate the MacKenzie Residence as a Municipal Historic Resource. The home, at 202 Beaver Street, demonstrates historic value for its connection to Flora and George MacKenzie, and the Luxton family. The MacKenzie Residence is also architecturally significant as representative of the residential character of Beaver Street and as an example of early post-war residential development in Banff. Owned by The Eleanor Luxton Foundation, the group has requested a rehabilitation grant up to $50,000 to restore the home. The Foundation would be required to match or exceed that funding. Details on the home, and its conservation plan, can be downloaded at http://banff.ca/index.aspx?NID=1002.
Banff Elementary School Travel Plan
Council accepted the Banff Elementary School Travel Plan as a guiding document for future planning purposes in relation to active transportation. The School Travel Plan is a nationally recognized initiative through Active and Safe Routes to School. It focuses on teaching students, parents, and community members about walking and biking safely; provides events to engage students and parents in walking and biking; reduces negative behaviours like speeding; and improving the physical walking and biking environment. The Community Cruisers were contracted to survey parents and community members, and develop the plan. Although the school travel plan is specific to Banff Elementary, it has wider implications relating to the transportation master plan, the trails master plan and the long-term transportation study. It can be viewed at banff.ca/transportationplan.