July 21st, 2024

Alberta tourist town to continue pedestrian zone, but seeking more detail on patios

By The Canadian Press on January 17, 2024.

Banff, Alta., in Banff National Park, is shown on Friday, July 21, 2017. The town is expected to make a decision today on whether to continue its popular downtown pedestrian zone every summer and fall. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

BANFF, Alta. – An Alberta tourist town in Canada’s busiest national park plans to continue its popular downtown pedestrian zone from May long weekend until Thanksgiving long weekend each year.

The Town of Banff has decided to permanently fund the project, which began during the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of its annual operating budget.

It is, however, still unclear whether the town would be able to continue to allow outdoor restaurant patios in that pedestrian zone after Parks Canada raised concerns about the commercialization of public space.

Salman Rasheed, who’s a superintendent for Banff National Park, has said he supports pedestrian-friendly plans but he has concerns about the permanent and ongoing expansion of the patios.

He says it’s contrary to laws that ensure the national park is protected.

Some residents have also raised concerns about the permanent closure of the blocks on Banff Avenue, because it moves traffic through their neighbourhoods and could block off an exit route in a potential wildfire evacuation.

Tourism officials say the pedestrian zone has been extremely popular with visitors to the mountain town.

Share this story:


Comments are closed.