Bollard Design Guidance

Here in DC, bollards spring up in some paradoxically-unique spots, where they are most likely to impede or injure bicyclists, yet least likely to encounter and prevent incursion by any automobiles. The standard for bollard placement appears to be, “Bollards shall be placed where they will prevent cars from going where they both should not AND do not want to go.” So, I thought I would propose some alternative design guidance for bollard placement:

(L) Planter and jersey barrier on National Park Service detour for closed trail at Tidal Basin. Approximately 100 feet from nearest road. (R) National Park Service duelly truck emptying trash cans on the bike/ped only Anacostia Waterfront Trail NPS section, near the Titanic Memorial

(L) Virginia DOT placed these spanking new kneecappers at the base of the Wilson Bridge for reasons known only to them. (R) Whether it is the DC DOT, or the alphabet-soup of agencies who want Pennsylvania Avenue preserved in the pristine asphalt-and-traffic-control-device aesthetic envisioned by L’Enfant, nobody will install sufficient countermeasures to prevent the many u-turns across Washington DC’s signature bicycle facility. To my eye, those pretty VDOT bollards appear highly ‘context-sensitive’ to Penn. Ave. This picture by David Garber shows the aftermath of a u-turning car hitting a bicycling user of the cycletrack [#StopUturnsOnPenn]

(L) Flexiposts (since removed?) to hypothetically protect a fragile bridge from imaginary wayward cars, posing a real risk to many actual fragile bicyclists (from CommuterPage blog). (R) Flexiposts should be the minimum barrier we provide to these guys on 1st St SE, where dump trucks regularly speed down a four-lane road overbuilt for baseball stadium traffic.

You’re welcome. $144, please!

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2 Responses to Bollard Design Guidance

  1. Pingback: Measuring bikeshare performance — defining “success” | bikepedantic

  2. Bollard says:

    For years there has been resistance by some in the traffic industry to place flexible delineators in buffer areas between bike lanes and traffic, for fear bicyclists injuring themselves on them. However I think the community is coming to realize the larger danger is the automobile traffic, and that placement as you suggest in your last set of pictures is a good idea.

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