Pedi-cabs won’t be on Banff streets this summer, but council has not closed the door on a human-powered transportation experience for the tourist town in the future.
At a meeting Tuesday (May 26), council, on a 5-2 vote, agreed to bring the concept of pedi-cabs to the table during discussion on the transportation master plan later this year.
There is currently a prohibition against operation of pedi-cabs for hire in Banff.
Many councillors expressed concerns about pedi-cabs slowing down traffic and causing greater congestion in the busy summer months.
Councillor Stavros Karlos said Banff currently has a sophisticated transportation system and scenic viewing opportunities run by private companies.
“It’s not that I don’t support pedi-cabs; it’s just that I don’t think there’s an urgency,” he said.
“It’s a private business that’s approached us. There’s no pressure to do this, there’s been no overwhelming public demand,” he added. “I suggest we put this on hold until we have a discussion about the transportation master plan later this year.”
Coun. Brian Standish was not supportive of pedi-cabs on Banff’s streets at all.
“We have traffic issues, transportation issues and if we move forward it’s just compounding the situation,” he said.
“History has shown that pedi-cabs have failed; no one uses them. I don’t believe pedi-cabs will fit in our transportation plan.”
Mayor Karen Sorensen failed to convince any of her colleagues to take a closer look at the issue sooner, at least by gathering information.
She suggested administration continue to do research on potential routing options, as well as on limits for pedi-cab licences and operators.
“I’m not trying to get pedi-cabs on the street by June 1; I would be happy with a report in the fall,” said the mayor.
“I would like to start getting information on this. I understand there are concerns, but I’m kind of anxious to resolve some of those concerns.”
Should the time come for council to consider lifting the current prohibition, Councillor Leslie Taylor agreed there should be limits.
“I would say we set an overall limit, but also limit the number of companies we can have so we don’t find ourselves in the pedi-cab monopoly situation,” she said.
The issue of pedi-cabs came back to council in April when James Barkley of Calgary-based Rocky Mountain Pedicabs asked them to consider lifting the ban.
Barkley runs his pedi-cab business primarily along 17th Avenue – one of Calgary’s favourite shopping and entertainment districts – and through much of the downtown area.
He wants to run a similar pedi-cab businesses during the summer months in Banff.
In 2007, council put in a place a prohibition of rickshaws and pedi-cabs for hire because picking-up and dropping off had the potential to obstruct traffic.
In order to lift the ban on pedi-cabs, a motion would be required to direct administration to bring forward an amendment to the Traffic Bylaw.