Thanks to some innovative design work and fabrication by Blockaides, pedestrians at the recently revitalized FIGat7th parking garage in downtown Los Angeles are better protected from wayward vehicles. Brookfield Properties, who owns the parking structure, needed to make some tenant improvements for the new Target retail store that is to be the new anchor for the Figat7th shopping center. The parking structure was never built to accommodate such a high-traffic retail location such as Target. Typical to these types of retail locations, you have a high amount of vehicle and pedestrian traffic in close proximity to the storefront. (For the purposes of this article, we will call this area the Vehicle Pedestrian Interaction Zone – VPIZ ). The interaction zone can be a big safety concern if not designed properly. Blockaides was contracted by the well-respected Warren Vander Helm, managing partner of the Parking Design Group, and their client Brookfield Properties, to help with these improvements by designing safety solutions that would help to increase parking garage safety. Blockaides was asked to focus on 2 main areas within the structure when designing safety solutions for this project. The first area was the pay-on-foot machines located on Level 8 (L8) and the second was the new Level 1 (L1) loading area.
BarricAide™ Creates Safety Zone For Pedestrians At Level 8 (L8) Pay-On-Foot Machines
The Pay-On-Foot machines located on L8 received a much-needed safety upgrade. The two pay stations are located against the wall nearest the elevators, which means patrons using the machines have their back to approaching vehicles — leaving them utterly defenseless! Protecting pedestrians at these locations is extremely important because they are forced to use these machines to pay for their parking and leaving them unprotected is not only morally wrong but a huge liability to the owner of the parking structure as well. Brookfield wanted to protect the patrons — not to mention the pay stations — from being run into, but this is challenging because it’s on the eighth floor of a post-tension slab parking structure, so core drilling large bollards into the floor is impossible. Typically bollards and other barriers get their strength and impact resistance from the concrete and rebar included in their footing. This strength and impact resistance directly affects the products protection ability. Blockaides rose to the occasion, accepted the challenge and designed an innovative, patent-pending, newly designed product for Figat7th project called a BarricAide™. The BarricAide™ is a steel platform that the machines sit on, with steel bollards built into the platform framework to provide protection. When being struck by a vehicle, the BarricAide is engineered to absorb impact energies and transfer them horizontally through the framework of the product and into the wall of the parking structure. This innovative parking garage safety solution gives any parking structure owner the flexibility to install pay stations virtually anywhere and be confident that safety has not been compromised.
Increased Parking Garage Safety For Level 1 (L1) Loading Area
The new Level 1 loading area doubles as the main pedestrian entrance to target and the loading zone where patrons of Target would have the ability to load the items they purchased into their vehicles to be taken home. This location is considered the only Primary Vehicle Pedestrian Interaction Zone. To make designing safety solutions for this location even more challenging, it is located in a more confined space being within the parking structure. Typically the loading areas for retail stores like Target are separated from the main entrance and located in a surface level parking lot that has more space. We had to balance safety, usability and traffic flow when designing the safety solutions for this area. Selecting the right solutions that increased safety without compromising the usability of the loading area or reducing the traffic flow of vehicles into and out of the space was a challenge. Ultimately, the safety solution package for this location included a combination of bollards, striping and signage to provide clear delineation of vehicle and pedestrian areas and protected safe paths of travel for pedestrians traversing the new Level 1 loading area. Pedestrians approach from 2 different locations when traversing L1, one is from the elevator bank that connects the different floors of the parking structure and the second is from the ADA required handicap parking spaces located adjacent to the loading zone. Taking this into account, the layout of the bollards consisted of two different groupings that frame the left and right sides of the loading area. This helped to delineate the safe paths of traveland provide much needed protection for pedestrians. At the ingress/egress points of the loading zone, where vehicle access was needed, striping was used in a crosshatch pattern to delineate the pedestrian crossings and alert vehicles of their existence. Finally, various signage was added to give direction to both vehicles and pedestrians. Any time you have vehicles and pedestrians in close proximity you have a decrease in the level of safety for the pedestrians and there is an increased potential for accidents to take place.
-  Vehicle Pedestrian Interaction Zone (VPIZ): Area with frequent vehicle and pedestrian traffic in close proximity to one another.
-  Safe Path of Travel: An identifiable accessible route within an existing site, building or facility by means of which a particular area may be approached, entered and exited, and which connects a particular area with an exterior approach (including sidewalks, streets, and parking areas), an entrance to the facility, and other parts of the facility. When alterations, structural repairs or additions are made to existing buildings or facilities, the term “path of travel” also includes the toilet and bathing facilities, telephones, drinking fountains and signs serving the area of work.