Can Anti-Terror Bollards Be Something More?

City of York Council have released their proposals for protective measures against a hostile vehicle attack on the city centre. This is where a motor vehicle is used as part of a terrorist attack, either where a vehicle is used as a weapon to hit people/property such as the 2017 attacks in London or a vehicle is used to transport an improvised explosive device.

Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) is the installation of physical barriers to prevent such an attack. Temporary measures have been in place over the Christmas period which have been criticised for their appearance and lack of accessibility. The council’s proposals will replace these with permanent bollards at the limits of the city centre footstreets, using sliding bollards in locations where authorised vehicles will enter/exit the foot streets. The proposed bollards are of a type designed to much higher standards than a regular bollard, meaning they withstand the impacts of a vehicle being driven at them with the intent of breaking through.

York Cycle Campaign asks that the council consider whether the installation of HVM barriers could provide an opportunity to also provide much needed cycle parking.

A HVM cycle stand product by Marshalls plc

There are several off-the-shelf products on the market that combine a Sheffield type cycle stand with a bollard, achieving the required PAS 68 standard for HVMs. Using these bollards, where appropriate, would provide everyday functionality for a piece of street furniture which would otherwise hopefully never be used and without additional clutter detracting from the aesthetics and accessibility of the foot streets.

A crash test of a HVM cycle stand product by Eagle Automation Systems Ltd.

The proposed locations of the bollards around the city centre are also where additional cycle parking is needed, at the point where shoppers arrive at the foot streets and need a secure place to leave their cycles – without needing to push them through crowds to reach the current racks. This need is evident in the number of cycles chained to railings around the junction of Parliament Street and Piccadilly any weekend afternoon.

Map of the city centre showing bollard locations at;
Lendal, Blake Street, High Petergate, Goodramgate, St Andrewgate, Colliergate, The Shambles, Parliament Street, Coney Street
Map showing the proposed locations of HVM bollards around the city foot streets c/o City of York Council, click to see full size PDF

We also note the proposed location map of the fixed bollards on St. Andrewgate and Goodramgate are in the same location as the current bollards/temporary HVM barriers. In both locations these are immediately before popular cycle racks, meaning that to access the racks cyclists would have to pass through bollards. As best practice means HVM bollards should be no more than 1.2m apart, this means wider cycles such as trikes would not fit through to reach the parking and it would be difficult for a dismounted cyclist to pass through the gap pushing their bike. We ask the council whether in these locations the arrangement of bollards and cycle parking can be considered so that racks are accessible without travelling through the barriers.

We hope to put these ideas to the council at the executive meeting to be held remotely on Thursday 13th January, so that they can be considered in the decisions being made and hopefully taken forward in the final planning stages should the motion be approved.

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