I have been reading the articles in the Canadian press and the discussions about the spacing between the bollards in front of the Costco store in London Ontario. I was taken by two things; the notion that since bollards are not required by code or ordinance that no retailer would spend money to install them, and that somehow bollards were either so ugly or so ineffective that retailers would see business suffer for no useful purpose. The comments section of one article was particularly illuminating as to the wide difference of opinion and lack of information about parking lot safety and design....see the article and the comments section HERE.
It occurred to me that many people are unaware that there is a growing use of bollards as safety devices, security devices, and architectural features at Big Box retailers and certain high-end specialty retailers. For many, they do double duty -- they prevent accidental storefront crashes and they prevent Crash and Grab ram raids. But for most of the larger chains (and Costco is certainly one of those, given $100 billion in sales and almost 500 US and international locations) the use of bollards and the elimination of nose-in parking near entryways has become more and more standard. I believe that this trend refutes both of the notions discussed above; that no retailer would install them unless required to do so, and that the public would not be able to enter or exit through some sort of intimidating barrier.
As they say, a few pictures are worth a whole lot of words; retailers (some of the biggest in the world) are using bollards to protect customers, employees, and entrances every single day. They do have to do more to update and retrofit older store designs, and they do need to consult with experts as to what products to use and how they should be installed (as ASTM is in the process of validating.) But I think when you see these stores with bollards in front, stores owned by companies that are very profitable and continue to be successful, it has to be seen that safety is good business, and that safety does not mean lost sales and lost profits.
Suffice it to say -- In the case of the Costco crash in London Ontario, the same bollards already in place but properly installed the correct distance apart would have saved two lives, millions of dollars, and much pain and grief.
I bet there is no person in that town who wishes it was any other way.
Here is the slide show, put together from random photos from an online image search. I make no copyright claims as these are instructional examples only.