Parks announces more Roam for 2017
Monday, Feb 13, 2017 06:00 am
Parks Canada announced it has successfully teamed up with Roam Transit to provide better options for visitors to get around Banff National Park in 2017 without using their vehicles including a brand new transit route.
The new service connects downtown Banff to Lake Minnewanka and being launched this year as a two-year pilot to address parking and traffic issues popular tourist destination running from the May long weekend through to mid-September.
The news was welcomed with applause at the annual planning forum held on Friday (Feb. 10) and during the working session Banff field unit superintendent Dave McDonough said the federal agency is continuing to look at opportunities to improve.
“We worked very closely with Roam over the past year and the Town of Banff as well,” he said. “I am very excited as well, I think it will be a great boost for the visitor experience and help with congestion.”
Going into 2017 with Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation and the country celebrated hot spot for international travel this year; there have been concerns in the community around the busy visitor season especially with Park access free for the year.
McDonough said the pilot-project invests up to $870,000 over the two years as a means to promote eco-friendly behaviour, reduce traffic congestion and improve accessibility to a key area of the park.
Mayor Karen Sorensen said the announcement of the new route serving Lake Minnewanka is great news.
“We are thrilled to have more routes to national park destinations on Roam public transit,” said the mayor in the news release issued by Parks Friday. “When the Town of Banff launched Roam transit in 2008, we envisioned it as a national park experience for our visitors – it really is the best way to roam and explore the town, the national park and the Bow Valley, unfettered by traffic.
“We congratulate Parks Canada for introducing this service to Lake Minnewanka and making it even more convenient for residents and visitors to leave their vehicles at their hotels, homes and campsites and Roam Banff.”
Transit initiatives in Lake Louise will also be expanded in 2017 – with increased shuttle service to upper Lake Louise form the overflow parking located on the Trans-Canada Highway. Acting superintendent Rick Kubian said the route would return after being introduced last summer and run seven days a week from May 19 to Sept. 10.
A bus to the Larches will return for its fourth year, connecting Moraine Lake and the overflow parking area seven days a week from Sept. 11 to Oct. 9. The shuttle service will have increased hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The increased transit and agreement with Roam to deliver the service is part of Parks Canada’s coordinated approach to managing expected increase in visitation in 2017 and into the future.
Last summer during the Canada Day long weekend, RCMP were forced to close the TCH on ramps from eastbound and westbound lanes because traffic in Lake Louise had become so backed up. It was the same weekend the overflow parking shuttle service was launched.