Cyclists will be able to enjoy a vehicle-free highway at Bow Valley Parkway this summer

Bicycles will once again be taking over Banff’s Bow Valley parkway.

After a successful trial last year, Parks Canada says the closure on Highway 1A — a popular and scenic route that provides access to popular trails and sites like Johnston Canyon — will remain closed to public vehicles throughout this summer. 

Daniella Rubeling, the Parks Canada visitor experience manager, says the closure last summer proved to be so popular, they are doing it again.

“We received a great deal of positive feedback from cyclists who enjoyed the vehicle-reduced experiences on the Bow Valley Parkway last summer,” she said.

“They found it to be safe and enjoyable and expressed an interest in seeing that in the future.”

Vehicles will be restricted from the east end of the Bow Valley Parkway, where it meets Highway 1 to the junction with Highway 93 south.

Back in September, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) tracked people’s opinions about the closure.

The survey, which had 3,120 respondents, was for those who used the road, but also for those who were turned away in cars or motorcycles.

“Close to 90 per cent of respondents were extremely satisfied with their recreational experience, and overall respondents were in strong agreement that their recreational experience was better because of the closure and that the closure should continue in some form beyond 2020,” said Sarah Elmeligi, who serves as the national parks program co-ordinator for CPAWS.

“I think the success of the Bow Valley Parkway closure and the joy and fun that people have had this summer really demonstrates that people are open to a lot more creative management options than we had previously assumed,” she said.

Until further notice, motor vehicles aren’t allowed on the Bow Valley Parkway and Tunnel Mountain Drive in Banff. 0:50

Rubeling says they also have plans to offer an enhanced cycling experience this spring on the Lake Minnewanka Loop Road, a scenic route in Banff National Park.

“We’re testing out some weekday cycling offered to build on the experiences people had last summer and based on some of that public feedback,” she said.

The Lake Minnewanka Loop Road will now be closed to private vehicles on Monday’s to Thursday’s from May 1-20.

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