Parking Posts: Fold-down, Telescoping, Flexible, and Structural

Choosing the right parking bollard

A green bollard bends as it is nudged by a black car in a parking lot
Flexible parking posts are designed to guide cars visually without being damaged or causing damage when nudged.

“Parking post” is a general term used for bollards installed in a parking space. Parking posts placed at the far end of a parking stall are used as guides and wheel stops. Since they are visible to drivers reversing into the space, they can help with vehicle positioning into the center of the stall. Parking posts may also be placed at the entrance of the parking stall. These are generally installed to prevent unauthorized cars from accessing the space. What type of bollard you use for a parking post will depend on what job the post needs to do.

Parking posts for authorized access

Parking posts which provide variable access to a parking space must be movable. There are two main types of functional bollard that get installed at the entrance to a parking spot.

A yellow bollard is folded flat against the pavement of a parking space
This type of bollard has an internal lock; others use padlocks to keep them in an upright position.

Collapsible or fold-down parking posts

Fold-down parking posts come on a hinged mount. They lock into an upright position, either with an internal mechanism or with a padlock at the road surface. When unlocked, they can be folded down or collapsed to the ground. The authorized vehicle parks overtop them. Collapsible parking posts can be found in a variety of styles to complement site design.

An example of the internal locking fold-down bollards is the R-8430. A bike-lock-style key allows it to be raised and lowered.

Bollard Stats:

  • Height: 24-1/2 in
  • Body Diameter: 2-1/2 in
  • Base Diameter: 5 in
  • Weight: 12 lbs
  • Material: Steel
  • Finish: Powder Coat
  • Function: Fold Down

Folding mounts can be installed on a variety of other narrow-bodied bollards, including ones like the R-7904, which have bike locking arms. (Bike locking arms are additionally useful as handles for folding the bollard up and down.)

Bollard Stats:

  • Height: 36 in
  • Body Diameter: 4-1/3 in
  • Weight: 26 lbs
  • Material: Steel
  • Finish: Powder Coat
  • Function: Bike Bollard

Mount Stats:

  • Width: 9 in
  • Material: Galvanized Steel
  • Function: Fold Down

Pros:

  • Easily installation: bolt to surface
  • Can have other functionality like bike parking, or have decorative elements like annular rings

Cons:

  • Vehicle must be able to enter and exit parking stall without wheels driving over the folded post
  • If left folded down when vehicle not in the space, can be a tripping hazard
A ring of stainless steel retractable bollards are shown side-by-side in down and up positions
Retractable bollards allow vehicle and airplane access at the Museum of Flying in Santa Monica.

Retractable or telescoping parking posts

Retractable or telescoping parking posts slide into below ground receptacles to allow vehicle access to a space. They can be single- or double-locking: locking up only, like the R-8471, or in both up and down positions, like the R-8472.

Bollard Stats:

  • Height: 35-1/2 in
  • Body Diameter: 4-1/2 in
  • Base Diameter: 8-2/3 in
  • Weight: 25 lbs
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Finish: Powder Coat
    (stainless available)
  • Function: Retractable

Pros:

  • Offers a sleek profile
  • Is not a tripping hazard when down: retracts completely from the surface
  • When stowed, it can be driven over

Cons:

  • Requires excavation and new poured concrete for installation
  • Cannot have details like annular rings or bike arms that prevent it from retracting

Maintenance for functional bollards

All functional bollards need a little care and attention to keep them in good working order. Wiping salt, grease, and dirt from surfaces and lubricating their moving parts will keep the metals healthy for years of use.

Posts as parking stops

Posts may also be used at the end of parking stalls, as a stop. Like a wheel stop made of rubber or concrete, they notify a driver that they’re at the end of the spot. Bollards as parking stops are not a tripping hazard, because they have a small footprint.

Flexible bollards

Flexible bollards are used as a visual guide. On any type of impact, they bend out of the way, making an audible thump but neither damaging nor stopping the car. Concrete wheel stops can scrape the underside of a bumper, and impact-protective stops can do damage to the bumper itself. Flexible bollards are a good choice to avoid these dings and scrapes.

Flexi-bollards are tall and visible to a reversing driver, which means they can be used for positioning. The R-8323 is available in three colors—black, green, or red—and can be embedded, bolted down, or installed with a removable mount.

Bollard Stats:

  • Height: 34 in
  • Body Diameter: 3-7/8 in
  • Weight: 6 lbs
  • Material: Polyurethane
  • Function: Flexible

Crash-rated or structural parking stops

Impact protective parking stops are designed to physically stop a car from driving past the end of the parking stall. They are intended to work as a barrier against head-on or high-angle vehicle incursion.

There are two major types of impact protective parking stops.

Crash-rated bollards are engineered to stop particular vehicle classes moving at different speeds. Different ratings offer different levels of security. The C40 is designed to stop a car moving at 40 mph. M30 and M50 stop midsize trucks at 30 and 50 mph respectively. If installed properly, these crash barriers are tested and certified to stop a vehicle within 3.3 feet.

The R-1009-12 bollard is M50 rated, so will stop a 15,000 pound truck moving at 50 miles per hour. It is also available as a removable bollard. A variety of covers are available to make it more attractive at the install site.

Bollard Stats:

  • Height: 75.5 in total; 39-1/2 in above grade
  • Body Diameter: 10-3/4 in
  • Weight: Approximately 1260 lbs before adding concrete
  • Material: Steel
  • Function: M50/K12 crash-rated

Structural or security bollards are also designed to be protective against high-angle vehicle crash. They might be placed at the end of parking stalls facing a storefront to help stop an accident caused by pedal confusion. They’re not designed to hold off intentional, high speed attack. The crash-protection they provide is influenced by both the substrate they are placed in and the method of installation. When installed under an engineer or skilled site supervisor they can be quite effective.

The R-1007-06 bollard is 6-5/8″ diameter. Near gas pumps and drive through windows, these bollards are often painted or adorned with high-visibility plastic covers. More formal sites might use classical iron or modern steel covers to enhance and protect their bollards. The R-1007-06 is a sturdy security bollard that protects buildings or utilities from driver misjudgment like low-speed impact or sideswiping due to incorrect vehicle positioning. Security bollards are also available in 4-1/2, 8-5/8, or 10-3/4 inch diameters.

Bollard Stats:

  • Height: 84 in
  • Body Diameter: 6-5/8 in
  • Weight: 133 lbs before adding concrete
  • Material: Steel
  • Function: Impact protection

Bollards for the parking lot

Bollards may just be short little posts, but they play a role in security and guidance. Parking lots can be busy areas where both pedestrians and vehicles share space. In this setting, bollards can be used to communicate intention, guide drivers, or protect pedestrian spaces, without adding more signs or symbols to the visual field. A functional bollard at the front of a spot reserves the spot, without need for security or ticketing. A collapsible bike bollard turns a spot from bike parking to vehicle parking with the twist of a key. Bollards offer clarity without clutter, which makes them a useful tool in site design.

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