Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Video suggests maybe those Atlantic Terminal bollards, however ugly, work as street furniture

When the bollards outside the Atlantic Terminal station emerged in December 2009, they were tagged by No Land Grab's Eric McClure as "a closely spaced series of enormous, intrusive, Sarcophagus-like — and butt-ugly — blocks."

(Photo by Adrian Kinloch)

The Brooklyn Paper's Gersh Kuntzman followed up in a 1/26/10 article pointing out that the New York Police Department advises that bollards “measure between 30 and 36 inches in height” and be spaced 48 inches apart--but the ones outside Atlantic Terminal are 50 to 52 inches high and in some places are 36 inches apart.

Plans for the Barclays Center plaza nearby include bollards, but not like these. "We're not making that mistake," said Forest City Ratner's Jane Marshall at a public meeting last September. "These are very simple standard bollards, that were approved by the security board and countererrorism."

A second look

Brooklyn architect Jeff Geisinger, however, recently filmed the plaza as an exercise in documenting public place. His video (below), he suggests, "demonstrates the effectiveness of the bollards as urban furniture and as a buffer to the bustling traffic of Flatbush Avenue, despite their bulky, unattractive aesthetic."

Atlantic Terminal Plaza from Jeff Geisinger on Vimeo.

"While I understand that the presence of bollards at the new plaza is still in question, it seemed there was a strong aversion to these elements in that they may adversely 'affect pedestrian movement,'" he wrote.

"I think my video reveals the AT bollards for what they are--ugly slabs that reinforce an edge, that define a plaza while protecting it from heavy traffic, and that offer public gathering spaces for various activities seemingly without blocking pedestrian flow. They may be too tall and an eyesore, but they attest to the capacity for security infrastructure to serve as successful street furniture."

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