Published on: February 5, 2017 | Last Updated: February 5, 2017 4:45 PM MST
Banff council is exploring the possibility of initiating a car-share program within the town.
Car-share programs have become increasingly popular in larger urban centres in recent years. Typically run by private companies or non-profit organizations, car-share programs are a membership-based service in which people are able to use shared vehicles for a short period of time and then leave them parked throughout the community so that others can access them.
Coun. Chip Olver proposed at a special meeting of council in late January that the town should enter into discussions around starting a similar program in Banff.
“I have seen it in other communities; I have friends who do not own a vehicle who only manoeuvre around with car-share programs; and, it really has been effective,” she said. “I’m wondering if Banff might invite someone who runs a car-share program into our community and I think that will reduce demand on personal ownership of vehicles.”
Olver’s suggestion followed the approval of a new bylaw that allows for off-street parking stall reductions for new apartment developments that meet site-specific criteria.
Car-sharing has been lauded as an alternative to traditional car ownership and a way for those without vehicles to travel to areas which are inaccessible to public transit. Users also don’t have to worry about the costs associated with owning a vehicle, such as maintenance and insurance.
Car-share programs also contribute to a reduction in gasoline consumption and CO2 emissions.
Banff has had longstanding issues with vehicle congestion and parking. Those concerns are expected to be compounded with the advent of free parking passes and a massive national and international marketing campaign aimed at attracting visitors to national parks this year.
Olver said municipal support is critical to ensure a car-share program’s success and asked that administration bring back information on how it can be achieved in Banff.