I like the bollards and I think they should stay downtown, but I’m sure truck drivers and people pulling trailers, especially those who have found themselves stuck on one, probably don’t feel that way.
Listening to complaints about the bollards is similar to the guy years ago who complained about hitting someone’s mailbox and it doing a lot of damage to his vehicle. His chef complaint centered on the homeowner using bricks to construct a mailbox and not a traditional post. Apparently hitting a brick mailbox did a bit more damage to his vehicle than hitting a post. I remember him questioning if they were "protecting their junk mail." I laughed at that statement.
Let’s keep it real. The bollards aren’t the problem. As long as your vehicle stays in the roadway, you’re safe from them. They aren’t going to leap off the sidewalk as you pass and destroy your day. They are, best I can tell, stationary. I felt the same way about the guy’s brick mailbox complaint. As funny as the complaint was, the mailbox didn’t leap into the road.
I’m about to confess. Back in 2013, when officials first discussed their removal and decided the bollards should stay, I decided to use sidewalk chalk and place a smiling face on one of the downtown bollards. I thought a smiling bollard would be a good addition to my article about the fate of the bollards.
I gathered my items of graffiti: paper towels, sidewalk chalk and baby wipes, and left the office. I drove around and selected my target. I parked and looked around. As you can imagine, I was looking for officers of the law. While what I was doing created no permanent damage, I did feel slightly sneaky.
I saw no officers and exited my car. I quickly cleaned off the bollard with dampened paper towels and drew a quick face. While I’m no Seth Wright, I thought I did an OK job. As I’m crouching there, an officer drove by and gave me a look. I’m sure I looked slightly suspicious. If I had been near the scanner, I probably would have heard him call that out as he made his way back around.
However, at this point, I’m invested in getting this picture. So, I quickly back away from the bollard and snap a few pictures. I knew he would be back. Right after I wiped the bollard off and stood up, there he was. I smiled and waved at him as he drove by. Once again, he was looking intently to see what I was doing despite my nothing-to-see-here-so-move-along expression.
That picture was used in 2013 and again in Friday’s edition of the Standard. Loved it!
In the spirit of my sneakiness four years ago, I think the city should hold a bollard decoration contest. People could use temporary paint and/or sidewalk chalk. Let’s tap into people’s artistic side, add some whimsy to downtown and highlight the bollards, which are here to stay.
Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.