Mark from 248am posted this image of bollards being installed outside his office building. They are spread out wide enough to allow for bicycles and pedestrians to pass through, but not cars. Ostensibly, the reason for that would be to discourage parking on the side walks and encourage pedestrian traffic. That seems to be a good enough reason to install these, however it does raise a lot more questions which should have been answered before the bollards were installed.
- Are there sufficient parking spaces for cars in the area for visitors and employees? Are they within walking distance?
- Is it comfortable to walk in the new sidewalk on a hot afternoon? If not, are they installing shading devices and benches to alleviate the stress?
- How would emergency services reach the building? Will they be forced to stop in the middle of the road, blocking traffic? Is there a gap in the bollards for them to get inside?
- If this is a government initiative and is to be implemented throughout the city has a tender for the project been presented? Who has decided on the aesthetic of the bollards and why have they chosen a Victorian look that has no historical reference in Kuwait? Are will still affected by colonialism? Why not a simple, timeless, stainless steel rod?
- Based on the image, the installation seems to be very imprecise. It looks like they’re already bolted down, but they don’t look straight to me. I’m also curious to see how they articulate the detailing between the bollard base and the rest of the concrete pavement. I hope they don’t just leave it naked like that. Also, in the image the pavement is actually raised above the street level, which makes it highly unlikely that it’s being abused for parking anyway, unless there is a little ramp somewhere out of view.
It is always a good idea to have bollards protecting sensitive areas of a building and high value targets; embassies, jewelery shops, banks, etc. However, I must question the logic of employing this technique around every congested street in Kuwait. Where will all the cars go? Unless this is part of a comprehensive solution which addresses pedestrian comfort, parking availability, aesthetics and emergency services then I suggest that they stop with whatever they have already installed and use it as an experiment. After a year the problems that will undoubtedly arise will become clear and if they can be resolved then the experiment can expand further. Retractable bollards should be part of the experiment, maybe to allow for parking at night and weekends, or for emergency situations. We should not force this initiative on a large scale and live with the consequences. It can be a good thing if we do it right, otherwise it’s only a way for certain people to make some money.
Update: Mark sent us these images. Wow, this is just too stupid. The pavement of the entire block is raised above the ground, so there’s really no point in installing these. This just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. The whole point of raising the pavement was to separate it from the street. These things are a redundant eyesore. I don’t think anyone can argue that they look good. If you have a budget to clean up and beautify the place why not just replace the broken pavement, add benches and shading, plant some trees or whatever. This is just wrong. I want to break them. Thanks for sharing this, Mark.