How Bollards and Pathways Ensure Pedestrian Safety in Cities
While you may not have actively given the idea thought, streamlined city safety features increase the relative enjoyment of walking around town. Extremely heavy traffic and other street dangers can reduce enjoyment, but muddled or ineffective safety features can be frustrating and increase congestion. They can also be dangerous. Children, pet owners, persons with disabilities, and seniors are all vulnerable to the ebb and flow of sidewalk traffic. Bollards and other city safety features help make traversing the streets easier, safer and as a result, more fun.
The Purpose of the BollardYour government is responsible for providing you with opportunities for safe pedestrian passage throughout your city. Pedestrians must be supplied with lanes to travel, whether it is to walk to work, visit shops, or experience night life. Walking is a popular activity among the elderly. More than 40 million senior citizens use walking to increase their bone density and endurance, reducing risk of heart disease and chronic illness. That number is growing as the ranks of senior citizens swell. The risk to seniors is particularly high. Despite persons aged 65 and up comprising 13 percent of the population, seniors account for more than 20 percent of pedestrian deaths. To protect seniors, pedestrians and other walkers, cities have begun expanding on old safety features. Bollards are the unsung hero of city safety. Collapsible bollards help protect parking garages, crosswalks and other areas where high pedestrian and vehicle traffic converge. They can help to force cars to stop in a way that red lights cannot. They can cordon off shopping centers, markets and street festivals, creating a vehicle-friendly place. New technology has allowed remote access of bollards. Lights, alarms and reflective paint make traveling the streets at night safer. Cars can see people framed against the lights, and the illumination cuts down on crime and restricts vehicular access to areas behind stores, banks and other vulnerable locations.
Pedestrian AccommodationsCities have had to get creative based on their budget, space limitations, and other factors. They have come up with a few solutions that are often used in conjunction with bollards and other barriers to increase safety.
- Sidewalks. Usually built on both sides of the street, these are the most common methods of pedestrian accommodation. They have easy sight lines, are great for trash pickup and street sweepers, are easy to clear of ice and snow, and can be adjusted for persons with disabilities. In fact, new ADA guidelines state that any new sidewalk must include ramps, friction pads (or concrete bumps), and other safety features for wheelchairs and strollers.
- Paths. These may be paved or just a dirt trickle leading to a public place, but they are the most flexible option and the least disturbing of the environment. Side paths follow roadways, and may have underbrush and trash cleared by the city.
- Shoulders. Wide shoulders are not safe, as there are not the same visual barriers separating pedestrians from automobiles, but they are great for bicyclists and sometimes are built to mark out future sidewalks. Bollards are often used in conjunction with bike lanes in high traffic areas.
- Pedestrian streets. These are roads that are essentially shared by vehicles and pedestrians. These circumstances are unusual, have extremely low speed limits, and are often found in areas with low car traffic, and perhaps affected by poor planning.