Banff residents will be going to the polls in March to say yea or nay to pay parking in the Alberta resort after 1,200 people signed a petition asking for a referendum on the matter. Last fall Banff town council voted 4-3 in favour of implementing pay parking on a one-year trial basis, starting this spring. A plebiscite on the issue of pay parking, to be held in May of 2001, was included in council’s decision. User-pay parking is just one component of an Integrated Transportation Plan for Banff and would include two hours of free parking per day per resident. However, many downtown businesses and residents opposed the whole idea of pay parking, even on a trial basis, and started the petition. Pay parking is one of more than 50 components of Whistler’s Comprehensive Transportation Strategy. Exactly which lots will become pay parking and when has yet to be determined. The overall strategy is designed to encourage alternatives to the automobile and minimize increases in traffic on Highway 99 within Whistler. In Banff, which is laid out in a grid system of roads, it is predicted pay parking would generate approximately $1.2 million per year. Net revenue from pay parking would go to a transportation reserve which would fund future transportation initiatives, including a year-round transit service and pedestrian and bicycle pathway improvements. Banffites will vote on March 9.