Friday, May 11, 2012

Bike Racks + Bollards

I have never been a fan of bollards. Bollards are those annoying things that are designed to prevent cars from impeding on pedestrian walkways or areas. When I did my collegiate study abroad in Spain, I nailed a bollard just below my knee cap. (I still have the scar to prove it.) Where I grew up, the local Kent Trails system had them installed at many road-crossing intersections. They were handle-bar height and made me nervous to pass through. I often envisioned myself missing the mark and taking a nasty spill. At Clemson University, they have them all over campus, and, I feel that they are ugly nasty things that look like some sort of homage to saying “thou shall not pass.” I find them to be a kind of negative energy on the circulation and connecting landscape.

Close up of bollards + bike racks
When we were in Savannah, I found the neatest, friendliest retrofit of bollards:  making them into a bike rack parking area. They may be hard to see in the photo, but the bollards are widely spaced. They were placed there to prevent cars turning into the pedestrian mall along the restored Central Market. In between the bollards, inverted U-bike racks are specifically placed for folks to park their bike before they enter the Central Market. As you can see in the photo, they were packed in on a warm March Saturday night.

Wide shot of bollards + bike racks.
They create a great space to not only park a bike, but encourage the bikers to drop off their bike before entering a pedestrian area. This encourages folks to make the “bicycle to pedestrian” or “pedal to foot” transition. The bollard-bike rack retro fit is a great design answer to the common behavioral problem that’s hard to get people to want to follow. I also see it as a way to kind of cover up the big “NO ENTRY!” vibe that the bollards give off on their own.

Pizza delivery bike.
Also, it should be noted, that a great pizza place, Vinnie Van Go Go's, delivers pizza by bike and keeps their delivery bike parked right there! I was so geeked that they took advantage of a great location, simple design solution and inspiring business message, that I had to take a photo.

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