Pedestrian Zone

To Whom It May Concern,

I would like to submit a suggestion to help resolve some issues with the Pedestrian Zone in Banff. Could you please circulate this letter to Town Council, Mayor DiManno and any other relevant parties? Thanks.

Without further ado, I would like to propose the creation of a regional government which includes the following places: Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise, Cochrane, (Morley?) and Red Deer.

As Mayor Dimanno said in today’s edition of the Outlook the future of tourism in Banff “is not 4.2 million people driving private cars wherever they want whenever they want”. I agree. Here’s the complaints I think I can address:

1) The townspeople would still like to use the roadways (and of course the main reason is that they are paying for them)

2) There are many other business owners who have not been able to access roadways for patios due to location (not on Banff Ave)

3) Increasing tourism year-over-year

With that in mind, here’s how I see things panning out in the future: Banff residents petition for a “Car-Free Bylaw” (car-free town except residents, businesses, transportation and services like construction). This would mean that Canmore becomes Banff’s Parking Lot. We all know Canmore residents would not like that one bit. Which brings me to the original proposal of creating the regional government. We need a coordinated effort to fix this problem and minimize negative ripple effects.

Here’s how I envision this working out. The towns mentioned above create the regional government or other body responsible for coordinating the effort with the following in mind:

1) Banff and Canmore generally move in lock step – they should enact the “Car-Free Bylaw” together. This will allow both towns to benefit from being able to keep their main streets partially open (Banff Ave down to two lanes – one each direction). This is a compromise to address point #1 of the complaints list.

2) Enactment of the “Car-Free Bylaw” will allow the*entire town* to be a pedestrian zone – no street parking is necessary. This will address the second point of the complaints list.

3) Cochrane and Red Deer can proceed with plans for a “BusPort” – that is a Bus Terminal which is modelled after an airport. So just picture the airport gates and outside are buses. This would mean you’d be standing on the ground level because buses are smaller. This will address point #3 of the complaints list. We all know that growth cannot occur within the National Park, so we need an expandable platform *outside* the park.

4) Cochrane and Red Deer can also proceed with exploratory talks regarding the building of an actual airport, which might become the central hub for tourists to the valley. (Canmore, if they decide to become a more normal town – I’m assuming the “Mountain Town” model.)

5) Cochrane can proceed with exploratory talks on the ultimate location of the “BusPort” – it might pair well with the train station in lieu of its own airport.

Okay let’s talk benefits to Cochrane and Red Deer. Mainly, it’s cash. I would imagine that cars would be parked in a paid parking lot like they are at an airport. Cochrane in particular, might be interested in the extra cash, especially if they are able to build the “BusPort” towards the outskirts of town where it would be far less noticeable to residents. The secondary benefit, of course, is spillover tourism.

With all that in mind, I would like to thank-you all for your time and consideration. 

Yours very truly,

Michael McIntosh

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