Letter to the Editor | Bollards and bumpers are for the birds

No matter our political leanings, here’s something we can all agree on: Don’t waste taxpayer dollars. Neighbors around Nova and Magnolia are asking the city not to spend money on a project we do not want.

In 2019, the City of Piedmont installed its first use of plastic bollards to calm traffic at the intersection of Nova and Magnolia. The bollards compromised the neighborhood aesthetic, and, in letters and testimony at council meetings, neighbors urged the city to take a different approach. We were told the bollards were only temporary, simply a trial design for a landscaped solution. 

This eyesore was supposed to enhance safety, but has not. The bollards have created confusion and posed their own safety risks. Neighbors have asked the city repeatedly to remove the bollards ASAP, but, even in the face of a petition signed by 120 residents, the bollards are still there.

Now the city is proposing to install black and orange asphalt bumpers at a cost of $50,000 in lieu of the bollards. But these, too, are ugly and pose safety risks.

Neighbors have done everything the city asked in order to get a landscaped solution. For example, we were told to go to the CIP, and nothing occurred. We were told to raise funds; we did, but were rebuffed.

Now we have some simple requests to the city:

  1. Remove the bollards
  1. Do not spend $50,000 of taxpayer money to foist on residents raised eyesore markers that are inappropriate to the neighborhood

Many of us are longtime residents and we are all taxpayers. This intersection, which abuts a main Piedmont artery, deserves more than a slipshod solution. If we have to raise money, we need a good list of options and how much money each would cost. Perhaps nothing further is even needed. 

This is all common sense. Spending the $50,000 would be folly. Let’s hope a majority of the city council agrees.

5 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor | Bollards and bumpers are for the birds

  1. I totally agree with Joy Koletsky Jacobs’ comments and I want to congratulate her for expressing so well what all the neighbors in the vicinity of the Magnolia /Nova intersection feel.
    It was mentioned in a previous issue of Exedra that a roundabout had been considered for the Magnolia/Nova intersection but it had been rejected because it would have suppressed 20 parking spaces. This doesn’t make much sense, currently, there are fewer than 20 spaces available and the intersection is large enough to accommodate both the flow of trafic and all the parking spaces.

  2. Here here. The bollards were installed under a “quick build” policy to achieve cheaper traffic safety but with the promise that they were temporary. Previous traffic island projects in other neighborhoods were costly- Indian Rd and Kingston Avenue. But there has to be a better solution than bollards and bumpers. For lower Piedmont, I suggest adopting the simple elevated beds that were put in at Grand/Cambridge years ago to make a consistent design throughout the neighborhoods. But whatever the design, start the process – the Wildwood neighborhood has been asking for this for years. And no need to wait for CIP. The city quickly approved a $300,000 stairway improvement in Piedmont Park with no CIP. And no need to solicit donations – The city has over $8M in facility maintenance/capital funds for this kind of project.

    • The city is under mandate to build Green Infrastructure – traffic/pedestrian improvements that retain street runoff to divert pollutants from the Bay. Including this site and the proposed crosswalks on Oakland Ave in an integrated project eligible for grant funding (there’s lots) is a no brainer.

  3. Our neighborhood collected 120 signatures because this bollard circle was forced upon us, creating danger and an eyesore for the whole city and violating the city charter. (I bet it would be 500+ signatures if we had gone citywide) Before its vote to install the bollards in 2019, the City Council said on record that it was only temporary and a permanent, landscaped solution would be installed. Over three years later, the neighborhood has done everything it can to facilitate that project – organizing support, raising funds, and offering designs. We’ve even said we’ll take a concrete triangle if that’s all the city can afford. If the City has decided against a hardscape solution, then the City Council should vote and state publicly that the proposed black and orange asphalt curbing is all that will be done for the Nova/Magnolia intersection. The City should also reconsider what it requires of private residences in design and associated cost. If the city can no longer afford nice things (or only nice things in certain neighborhoods), then residents shouldn’t be subject to design requirements either.

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