In the wake of a crash last week in which a man was killed when a car careened into an outdoor dining area in San Jose, a Pasadena company says steel barriers, like the ones it manufactures, could help ensure such tragedies aren’t repeated as the pandemic continues forcing dining outdoors in L.A. County and other places throughout the country.
Meridian Rapid Defense Group builds and sells the 700-pound, steel Archer 1200 Vehicle Barrier, which “can stop a car or truck at lethal speeds,” the company said in a written statement.
A man died hours after he was struck by a pickup truck that had driven into an outdoor dining area in San Jose on Oct. 11, according to the San Jose Police Department. Seven other diners were reportedly injured.
Investigators determined the driver had mistaken her truck’s gas pedal for the brake while parking, according to San Jose police.
Meridian CEO Peter Whitford said incidents like the one in San Jose, as well as others on the East Coast, demonstrate a need to revisit how outdoor dining areas are kept safe from motor traffic.
“A series of collisions in New York, like that in San Jose, has highlighted that swiftly assembled, flimsy outdoor dining setups just aren’t good enough,” Whitford said. “These terrible tragedies can be averted if the correct equipment is used and the correct decisions are made at the very beginning.”
Meridian’s barriers are being used nationwide, according to the company.
Pasadena, Ventura, and West Hollywood have made use of them during the pandemic, as well as cities in Florida and North Carolina, Meridian representatives said.
“To provide an added layer of safety to on-street dining locations, the City utilizes Meridian Archer barriers as a vehicle arresting device for on-street dining areas that do not have adjacent on-street parking. We have currently deployed 25 Meridian Archers for on-street dining,” according to Pasadena Transportation Director Laura Conejo.
The barriers are selected and placed with high visibility and safety in mind, “as an additional level of safety for dining patrons to serve as protection from a potential errant motorist,” Conejo said.
“With any installation of on-street dining, it is important for the customer and the motorist to be able to distinguish where the dining perimeter ends and where the street begins,” according to Conejo. “In all on-street dining examples, there are barriers that are installed that serve to distinguish between the dining area and the street right of way.”
Meridian’s barriers are “Safety Act certified” by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to the company.
More information is available online at betterbarriers.com.