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bollard buyers guide

Parking bollards have been used as traffic safety devices going back to the 18th century and who knows how many injuries they prevented over the years. What is a bollard? Ironically, they were first used to park boats. Designed as heavy-duty moorings for boats and ships, in many instances, bollards were made out of old cannon barrels, buried muzzle first so that only about a third of the cannon would be out of the ground. These structures were sturdy enough to tie down ships and boats so they were used to keep them moored and secure. In the late 1700s, bollards started to be used for inland purposes, located around structures that were considered valuable, yet susceptible to damage from moving vehicles such as horse-drawn carriages.

The biggest and heaviest tree trunks were set on end, buried in the ground, and set at the entrances to buildings and structures. One of the first known parking bollards was installed next to The Eleanor Cross at Waltham Cross within London. This use is often mentioned as the first real attempt at controlling traffic flow and direction, leading to the widespread use we see today in everything from pedestrian path management to terrorist attack deterrence and everything in between. Bollard design has gotten quite a bit more sophisticated and aesthetically appealing than old tree trunks and rusty cannon muzzles. They are now able to be custom designed based on the application, amenities, and options desired, and the amount of protection needed.

concrete bollards

Concrete bollards are becoming more popular as the safety bollard of choice in front of buildings.[/caption]

Parking bollards and how they are used

Because of the versatility, customization, and if needed, the portability of bollards, their application possibilities are far-reaching and widespread. Bollards are quickly becoming the preferred choice for many generic and specialized pedestrian protection and landscape applications. Following are a few of those applications.

  • Traffic Calming Bollards. Bollards used for traffic calming reduce traffic noise while slowing the traffic flow through areas supporting pedestrian and bike traffic, making for safer streets and paths that become more enjoyable, relaxing, and aesthetically pleasing. Secondarily, the slower paced flow can actually increase pedestrian awareness and patronage of the local shops and businesses, which, in turn, can work to increase the amount of local pedestrian traffic even further.
cylinder concrete bollards
  • Cylindrical or round concrete bollards. Concrete bollards can be ordered in a variety of textures and colors ranging from polished to acid washed stains.[/caption]
  • Pedestrian Bollards and Cyclist Safety. By creating both a visual and physical separation between motor vehicles and pedestrians, the chances of harmful interaction are dramatically reduced. Smart bollard placement immediately creates separate and safe walking and cycling spaces leading to and around malls, mass transit stops, storefronts, playgrounds, play areas at public parks, and even outdoor patios along streets in front of businesses. Cyclists can travel without the fear of being squeezed out of tight, dual use lanes or not being seen along high traffic areas.
  • Security Bollards. Our world today is one of possibilities, both positive and negative. By installing super-tough, security bollards in front of those buildings and institutions considered at risk, extremely sensitive, or susceptible to harm caused by motor vehicles, you can restrict the ways for motor vehicles to get close to those buildings, their occupants, and visitors. Various types and styles of bollards such as concrete bollards can be installed at traffic gates, along perimeter landscapes, in front of building setbacks, and to designate access lanes for use by emergency personnel.
  • Site Preservation. Bollards are the sensible solution to restrict the degree of access motor vehicles can have with respect to our historically significant buildings, museums, institutions, state parks, schools, and any other place deemed historically significant or important.
  • Parking Bollards to Designate Parking Areas. Bollards have dual uses in parking designation, as they can mark and suggest parking places and areas while also blocking access from places that vehicle traffic and parking is not wanted, such as on sidewalks, trails, and other pedestrian or cycling paths. Parking bollards can designate and mark the entrances and exits in public lots, or restrict those entrances and exits, creating better traffic flow before and after events.
  • Pathway Illumination. Lighted bollards provide restricted vehicle access while allowing pedestrians and cyclists to easily see and follow the safe path designated for their use. Illuminated or lighted bollards also enhance landscapes while providing additional safety lighting on your grounds.
  • Temporary Traffic Changes. Moveable or plastics bollards can be set in place, moved, and removed altogether for unique, temporary, but necessary traffic changes impacting motor vehicle, pedestrian, or bike traffic, such as vehicle accidents that impact lane use, temporary construction or demolition safety areas, or any other upset conditions causing out of the ordinary changes along normal travel routes.
  • Control The Type of Access Allowed. Bollards control the type of access you want to allow in any specific area. They can be placed at different lengths from each other, using temporary, flexible, folding, or permanent installation to change the type and amount of access needed for different times of the day or events. They can also be ordered at various heights, materials and impact resistance levels to perform as desired depending on the application they will be used for.

metal bollards

Decorative metal bollards with powder coated finish.

Types of bollards

  • Concrete Bollards. Concrete bollards (often called cement bollards) offer the ultimate in security, durability, and the protection of pedestrians from vehicle interaction. Using high-grade steel reinforced concrete in the manufacturing process, concrete bollards are available in a wide range of ornamental, novelty, and landscape-friendly designs in addition to the classic round and square style. Finishes on concrete bollards can be customized through natural pigmentation, stains or thermoplastic. For a more decorative look, materials such as recycled glass can be added. Concrete bollards are available in different stress and load ratings, even featuring enough strength and psi loads to stop motor vehicles the size of a truck if needed.
bollard covers
  • Metal Bollards. Metal or steel bollards are a good choice when seeking a sleek, stately look in pedestrian protection. With designs ranging from classic round to architectural types, steel bollards (sometimes referred to as pipe bollards) will protect pedestrians around your building, venue, or gathering space. Available in multiple colors in powder coated finishes, metal bollards are made to withstand the elements and continue to impress while providing a safe and secure, pedestrian-friendly area.
  • Plastic Bollards. Plastic bollards are the smart choice for non-permanent changes that affect pedestrian or motor vehicle traffic paths. They can be easily set up to mark temporary pathways, parking areas with entrance and exit preferences, and construction areas or vehicle accident scenes that deter or reroute pedestrian and/or motor vehicle traffic on a short-term basis.
  • Flexible Bollards. Flexible bollards are unique, traffic guiding bollards used to make motorists aware of certain road or lane dangers or changes. Seen in public safety type applications, features of flexible bollards include providing lane and roadway awareness while remaining resistant to damage from being struck by a vehicle. If mounted, flexible bollards can fold over on impact, causing minimal damage to the offending vehicle.
  • Lighted Bollards. These illuminated bollards can enhance the beauty of your landscape while providing superior pedestrian protection from vehicular traffic. When the sun goes down, your landscape will pop with the soft, radiant glow provided from bollard lights, illuminating the pathways around your venue or building while providing protection. Made out of steel reinforced concrete, lighted bollards are made for security and durability, but blend into your location with subtle, aesthetically appealing, pathway and landscape lighting.
  • Bollard Covers. For an instant enhancement or color change, bollard covers are an excellent option. With a wide selection of high quality, durable plastic bollard covers to select from, your bollards remain visible and attractive while keeping pedestrians safe from motor vehicle interaction. Bollard covers are manufactured from high-density, thick polyethylene, making them durable, long lasting, and maintenance free while being resistant to environmental elements, including UV rays. They are available in ranges from 52 – 72 inches in height, and for added visibility, reflective stripes are an additional option. Bollard covers are available in styles to fit your bollards, whether they’re round, square, ribbed, or decorative. Get a variety of impact resistant colors to periodically change the color of your bollards to match seasonal decor, event themes, or promotional campaigns.

Bollard installation

steel bollard installation

Steel bollard installation spec sheet.

Installation methods and anchoring options vary by bollard type, function, and design choice. They can be temporarily set in place, surface mounted or installed in-ground for maximum pedestrian protection. Mounting accessories for your choice of bollards come complete and may include steel plates, threaded rods, epoxy, magnetics and more.

Considerations for shipping

Check for shipping options on your choice of bollards, as some are in stock and can be shipped quickly. Others, as well as custom orders, may not be inventoried and are made to order, requiring a longer lead-time. For heavier products, such as concrete bollards, a forklift will be necessary for offloading and placement.

Summary: Do you have the right amount of safety bollards on your property?

In this day and age when everybody seems to own a car, and people of all ages can drive, it’s smart to install a large number of safety bollards at your location. These heavy-duty bollards, such as cement and steel-reinforced concrete bollards, can protect citizens walking on sidewalks and prevent cars from running into buildings, which does seem to happen quite often. For government buildings, sturdy, solid security bollards are an absolute necessity for peace of mind and protection. Bollards don’t have to be ugly.

There are plenty of styles to choose from, including lighted bollards, and one option is to add bollard covers to brighten the landscape and cover existing bollards that are scuffed from use. Bollards have been a standard part of the scenery for centuries. There's a reason why – they are still one of the most effective strategies for protecting people on sidewalks, near roadways and in buildings. Be sure you have an adequate number at your facility.

 About the Park and Facilities Catalog

The Park and Facilities Catalog is headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla. The company is a national manufacturer and supplier of parking bollards such as concrete bollards (sometimes referred to as cement bollards), steel bollards, plastic bollards, lighted bollards and flexible bollards. We also offer an array of bollard covers. Since 2001, we have supplied top quality pedestrian bollards to parks, schools, universities, restaurants, stores, malls, shopping centers, multi-family communities across the United States. The company is also a distributor of additional site furnishings such as park benches, picnic tables, trash receptacles, aluminum bleachers and hundreds of other items.

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR A QUOTE FOR BOLLARDS, CALL US TODAY AT 1-866-280-9894 or visit our website: https://www.theparkcatalog.com/bollards