Several to One: Removable Bollards Systems

Why you might buy more than one receiver per bollard (or vice versa)

Several stainless steel R-8460 bollards guard a mall plaza containing a train station with artistic mural.
A mixture of mounts sits outside a mall’s plaza in Vancouver, BC.

Removable bollards are a style of bollard used to permit or deny access to variable-use spaces. When the bollards are present, they prevent cars and trucks from accessing a space. Site managers remove them at certain times or for specific people to grant vehicle access. When these bollards are removed, they must be stored.

Self-storing bollards for variable access are also available. Retractable bollards slide into below-ground receptacles when not in operation. Fold-down or collapsible bollards grant periodic access by hinging at the base and lying flat on the pavement. These self-stowing bollards are useful because they don’t take up storage space—but they offer a limited number of design options. Retractable bollards must be simple columns. Fold-down bollards must be narrow and light.

Removable bollards are available in a much wider range of styles because they are not constrained by these functional requirements. There are many different styles of removable bollard mount available. Some receivers self-store below grade, while others bolt to the surface.

Receivers or mounts and bollards can be ordered separately. Often, when sites choose removable bollards, they don’t order perfectly matched sets. Sites may buy several receivers and one bollard—or, they might buy several bollards and one receiver. With such a custom order, the customer creates a site-specific removable bollard system. These systems can save cost, time, and labor.

Two pawn-shaped R-7589 decorative cast iron bollards sit locked to removable economy mounts
Removable bollards on mounts come in a wider range of styles than fold-down or retractable bollards.

The difference between a bollard receiver and a bollard mount

When choosing a removable bollard system, the terms “removable receiver” and “removable mount” (or “mounting”) are often used interchangeably. They both are ways to affix bollards to the ground. However, to be precise, receivers are something the bollard is locked into. Mounts are something a bollard is placed over.

Receivers are usually installed below grade. The foot of the bollard is placed into the receiver and locked. Mounts can be installed above or below grade, but are above grade when in use. The bollard is placed over the mounting and locked through it.

Receivers create a more limited range of style choices, since the foot of the bollard must fit into the receiver.

One receiver or mount, many bollards

A mix of mounting options

The main reason a site would order more bollards than removable receivers is if they are ordering a mix of mounting options. Usually, all bollards do not all need to be removable. It is very common for a plaza or building to have only one or two needed access points for vehicles. Traffic in and out of the site can be permitted or stopped using removable bollards at these lanes, while the remainder of the perimeter can have fixed, permanent bollards.

Bollard styles are often available in both permanent and removable options. Fixed systems are less costly than removable ones. Embedded, bolt down, or threaded-rod anchor systems may work for the majority of the bollards on site.

Removable and fixed bollards can look the same, providing consistent site aesthetics, without needing to offer the same function.

A series of flexible bollards marks off an authorized vehicle only bay
Flexible bollards are tough enough to be driven over by authorized vehicles, but they cannot withstand a snow plow.

As back-up, for high-accident scenarios

Most times, replacement removable bollards can be ordered without substantial lag time, and site managers don’t want to order and warehouse many bollards. However, occasionally a customer knows they have a problem area and extra bollards are brought in ahead of time, for easy replacement.

One such scenario is with snowy regions and polyurethane bollards.

Polyurethane flexible bollards are incredibly tough, even in winter conditions. They take many years of sideswipes and are repeatedly run over without being worse for wear. However, they can be sheared off by a snowplow!

Areas with unpredictable snow fall may not have time to remove all their flexible bollards before plowing teams start work. Having some immediate replacements can be useful, although for most sites, knowing that we warehouse backup stock is sufficient.

One bollard, many receivers

An easy way to store

Removable bollards need to be stored when they’re not locked in place. Some sites purchase more than one receiver and place the second receiver near the first to allow for easy, nearby storage. The off-duty bollard can be locked into a storage receiver in a nearby garden or to one side of the vehicle through-lane.

Storing on site allows a seamless handoff of responsibilities between employees. Bollards won’t be forgotten in the back of service vehicles or stowed in unexpected places. Locked bollards are also protected from theft. Although bollards aren’t a highly sought-after target, those placed in the back of a pickup truck may be taken.

Yellow bollards made of steel and capped with annular rings close a section of Robson St. in Vancouver
Bollards can be used for channelization, blocking traffic at certain times of year.

Channel redirection

It is common for removable bollards to be used for lane re-channelization. Some sites will close a lane in one direction and open it in another during events, seasons, or high-volume times. In these cases, the same bollard can be hopped between receivers. Municipalities use bollards to seasonally open and close alternative routes or streets.

Events, farmer’s markets, and more: from traffic-guidance to parking stop

It is common for parking lots around municipal buildings to become farmer’s markets during the weekend, while providing employee parking during the week. Removable bollards can be placed in front of parking stalls before farmer’s market events to define walking space and prevent parking. A second receiver placed at the end of the stall can turn the bollard into a parking stop and alignment guide for those who back-in to park.

Municipalities eager to create walkable neighborhoods may turn parking spaces into parklets or restaurant patios in summer months. Removable bollards can be used to facilitate this change. They can be placed traffic-side to transform parking into pedestrian space, and then moved curbside in the winter when parking is open again. On streets with angle parking, the curbside bollard is a very helpful guide to parking drivers.

Creative solutions with removable bollard systems

Before installing removable bollards, it’s useful to think of all the functions bollards can assume. Removable bollards can do double-duty depending on where they’re placed. In addition to traffic guidance, bollards can be used for crash-protection, bike parking, and wayfinding. When linked with chains, they can provide a border around gardens, or create moveable queues to help people line up.

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