The issue with accommodating traffic in Banff National Park is an immediate one that cannot simply await the potential construction of a Calgary Airport to Banff Harry Potteresque train.This dream is years from realization, if ever, requires huge capital and operating investment, has unknown technical issues and time consuming environmental assessment and regulatory review.
As identified by the Park’s Canada struck panel report, Expert Advisory Panel on Moving People Sustainably in the Bow Valley, a solution requiring far less capital and operating costs and no regulatory approvals is to simply use buses as an interim measure and to validate proof of concept. Buses are well on the way to being electric or even hydrogen-powered.
Buses provide flexibility and could easily extend coverage to include Lake Louise without significant additional infrastructure or environmental impact. The road network exists, is maintained by others and to the most extent has wildlife fencing and crossing structures in place where needed. Existing infrastructure at the airport and Banff and possibly the old Greyhound Station in downtown Calgary already exists, with Cochrane having recently built a transit station.
The expert advisory panel report is visionary and aspirational hitting on many topics. While each topic is somewhat disparate from the next, they all must support a common vision and complement each other. There needs to be a coordinated system that takes people to and from the train, not just one that drops them off. How does the Town of Banff continuing to pursue a land swap with Parks Canada to build an intercept parking lot support a mass transportation system such as a train that rosily predicts reducing two million vehicles from the highway?Time to use common sense, which in itself may be considered transformative, or we may be standing around on platform 9 3/4 waiting for the promised train. Terry McGuire,