In simple terms, bollards are posts that typically have a vertical rise of two to four feet. Although bollards were originally used primarily as mooring posts on docks, as the population shifted from rural villages to crowded urban centers, people found many more uses for bollards.
What Were Some of the Early Uses for Bollards in Urban Centers?
During the 1700s, bollards began to be used to protect pedestrians and structures from horse-drawn carriages and wagons, especially in cities with narrow streets, no elevated sidewalks, or little space between the buildings and the streets. Bollards sometimes doubled as hitching posts or milestones, and they were occasionally used to display the address of the home or business behind them.
What Are Some Modern Uses for Bollards?
Today, bollards are primarily used as tools to manage traffic and prevent vehicles from accidentally or intentionally intruding into areas where they should not go. You can find bollards bordering streets to make sidewalks safer for pedestrians, flanking utility boxes or other fixtures that can benefit from the additional protection, or in front of government buildings to provide additional security. Some stores that sell expensive goods use bollards to separate the structure from the parking lot to prevent vehicular smash-and-grab burglaries. Many convenience stores and small restaurants place bollards between their structures and their parking lots to prevent accidental intrusions. In parking lots, bollards may be used to prevent drivers from driving off a steep embankment at the end of the pavement, to provide additional protection for cart corrals and light poles, or to protect trees, shrubs, and other landscaping features. Bollards can be used to define bike lanes, protect diners seated outdoors on patios or other street-level areas, prevent vehicles from entering a playground or sports field, or protect bicycle parking racks. These are just a few of the modern uses for concrete bollards.
What Types of Bollards Are Available?
There are many different types of bollards available that offer a selection of diameters, heights, and styles. The most common type is a cylindrical bollard; these may be tapered or have a consistent diameter. There are also bollards with angled edges, bollards shaped like bowling balls, and architectural and novelty bollards that can add to the property’s curb appeal. Concrete bollards can be left in the material’s natural state, stained in various colors, or adorned with covers or thermoplastic coatings. An increasing number of architects are incorporating customized bollards as part of a building’s design, helping to promote the unified aesthetic flow or create a unique design.
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