Physical Security in Public Spaces

A recently introduced bill, the STOP Act, or the Stopping Threats on Pedestrians Act, focuses on funding physical barriers to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety in public spaces. The version of the bill introduced in the U.S. Senate would authorize $50 million in spending over the next decade on such projects.

The beauty of bollards is that they don’t have to scream “security device” and make public spaces seem scary. Bollards range from the purely utilitarian, to ones which pull double duty with onboard lighting, to whimsical almost sculptural elements. I’m thinking of a particular retailer which a few years ago started installing gigantic red concrete spheres on the sidewalk outside its entrances. My kids love to jump on them like goats, they echo the brand’s logo, and they provide a level of protection to the entrance from vehicle attacks. Smart.

Other elements, such as large potted trees, concrete benches, and other landscaping features, can also serve a placemaking purpose while also helping to protect against a vehicle attack.

My colleague, Greg Zimmerman, wrote a brief piece on some of the considerations around bollards. He mentions ASTM F 2656 as a standard facility managers can look to when considering barrier options. Another place to educate yourself on bollards is the Whole Building Design Guide resource page on bollards.

And if you’re shopping for physical security devices and need some ideas, check out Building Operating Management’s security product coverage.

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