FAQs: How to Set Up Pedestrian Barricades
Do you want to know who makes the difference between a high revenue holiday sale weekend and a pile-up of unhappy customers fighting over broken televisions?
It’s smart business owners who learn how to set up pedestrian barricades (AKA 'steel barricades').
When appropriately utilized, pedestrian barricades help event managers and business owners keep people at concerts, festivals, sale weekends, and sporting events safe from injuries, crowd surges, and rushes.
Here are the most frequently asked questions our product experts get asked about setting up pedestrian barricades.
Q: What types of businesses/events/organizations require pedestrian barricades?
A: A lot! Here’s a list.
- Parades and Political Events/Rallies
- Roadwork and Construction Zones
- Resorts and Hotels
- Department Stores and Shopping Malls
- Parking Lots
- Service Stations and Gas Stations
- Parking Garages
Q: I own one of the businesses on that list. How are you so sure I need barricades?
A: Because we can tell the future.
You’re town mayor, and it’s a beautiful Fourth of July.
You’ve planned a route through downtown and spectators are sitting on the sidewalks waiting for the parade to start.
Because you’re Mayor of a ‘nice’ community, you don’t set buy or set up any barricades.
The citizens of your town are smart and responsible. They don’t need barricades to tell them not to run in front of a parade float.
So you give the signal for the parade to start.
Floats start winding down Main Street, their riders throwing candy and knick-knacks at your town’s youngest and cutest residents.
The riders of the Humane Society float, not wanting the dogs in the area to miss out on the phone, brought along treats to throw. As the Humane Society float approaches First and Main, one rider sees a group of beautiful border collies and throws some treats in their direction.
But the Humane Society employee is no Tom Brady.
Her throw doesn’t go far enough.
The treats land just in front of a line of quickly moving fire trucks...
Six months later you lose the mayoral reelection campaign to a third party candidate whose campaign slogan is: “Pedestrian Barricades for Pet Safety.”
Moral of the story: the best way to avoid disaster is to plan for disaster.
If your business hosts large-scale events with crowds, the possibility of a crowd rush or riot is possible. Crowds are inherently unpredictable, and pedestrian barricades help mitigate the risk of incidents.
Q: Barricades are expensive. Can’t I buy some plastic chain and stanchion posts?
A: Not if you’re looking for an effective, large-scale queue management solution.
Caution tape, retractable belt barrier stanchions, and classic post and rope stanchions are fine for small crowds, but if your business or community needs to block off large crowds or traffic, you need barricades.
People think of retractable belt barriers and stanchions as suggestions. If they see a large stanchion queue with no people in it, they’ll crawl under or hop over the line to get to get to their intended destination.
Barricades, on the other hand, work like traffic lights. People see them not as a suggestion, but as a hard and fast rule that they must follow unless you are willing to accept the risk of serious injury.
Barricades successfully hold back large crowds, are durable enough to withstand rain and snow, and stay upright even if a few too many people lean against them.
To keep pedestrians out of traffic, passersby away from construction zones, and concertgoers off the stage, you need pedestrian barricades.
Q: When should I set up my barricades?
A: Well before your crowd forms.
No matter how nicely you ask a crowd of 200 concert goers, they won’t let you set up crowd control barriers after the show starts.
When an arriving customer sees a barricade queue, they assume the line is moving in a standardized, orderly fashion, and are less likely to push forward, causing a crush. Come up with a plan well before your event and set up your barricades at least one day ahead of time.
For example, if your event starts at 4 PM on a Friday, crowds could form as early as the morning before.
As a line gets longer leading up to an event, people in the back of the line start pressing or ‘surging’ forward in anticipation of the event. If there is enough space in your line for people to crowd together and spread apart as this happens, i.e., enough ‘breathing room,’ the less likely an accident will happen during a crowd surge.
Quick tip: make sure your barricades and queues are set up so that the line doesn’t begin at the exit and entrance points. Otherwise, you’ll cause a bottleneck in those areas.
Q: Okay, so how do I set up a pedestrian barricade queue.
A: With these nifty charts.
The number one goal of queue management is to reduce confusion.
Why? Because confused customers get stressed out, surge forward, and cause accidents.
Set up your queue with clearly defined entrance, line, and exit points, to avoid confusion and make sure your event runs smoothly.
There are two basic types of pedestrian barricades queues: venue barricade setup (for venues, retail stores, and events) and street barricade setups (for parades, political events, etc.).
VENUE BARRICADE SETUP
If you’re funneling people into people into a venue, check out point, amusement park ride, or sale event, your pedestrian barricade queue should have four central zones:
- Queue Entrance
- Checkout Point
The queue entrance should have clear signage funneling customers into your queue. The entry point should be easy to find and be labeled with clear signs.
The queue should be set up in an expandable U-Shaped pattern. The more people you expect to go through your queue at one time, the larger your queue should be.
The checkout point should also be labeled with clear signs. Even though people know the goal of the line when they enter it, reminding them they’re constantly getting closer to their goal stops are-we-there-yet? syndrome from setting in.
Last, your goal destination should also have clear signs telling customers that they’ve reached their destination.
STREET BARRICADE SETUP
If you’re hosting a parade, political rally, concert, or similar event, your queue should have two main areas/functions/zones:
The holding area should keep people out of the event space - concert stage, or parade route - and the points of egress should face away from the event space, giving people the option to leave your venue or walk down a different street.
- Holding Area
- Points of Egress
Q: Should I leave any breaks in my queue?
One uncovered sneeze or unintentional shove can start a domino effect that at worst will send everyone in your queue toppling over, or at best, create a line of uncomfortable, angry customers.
Leaving open spaces in your queue that allow people to get out should they need-a bathroom-right-this-minute/have-to-run-back-to-their-car-for-a-tissue/need-a-way-out-of-this-line-because-this-wait-just-isn’t-worth-half-priced-flat-screens will keep your event running smoothly.
Q: How many barricades do I need?
A: It depends on the size of your queue.
Before you purchase barricades, figure out how long the linear distance of your queues will be.
If you’re deciding between a slighter shorter or slightly longer queue, always opt for the longer queue. It’s better to have a little extra space for people to spread out than to crowd too many people into too small of a space (we’re looking at you, airline companies).
After you’ve figured out the linear distance of your queue, decide which size barricades you’ll be using.
We recommend purchasing one size barricade and adjusting the corners of your line based on that size rather than buying several sizes.
Storing and setting up one uniform size of barricade is a lot easier than trying to organize/fit multiple sizes together.
There are three standard barricade sizes: 6.5 ft. barricades, 7.5 barricades, and 8 ft. barricades. The 8 ft. barricades are the most common, classic barricade.
Q: Once my employees have set up queues, I don’t need to monitor the queues, yes?
People waiting in queues are like toddlers at daycare. If they see an opportunity to cut the line and get their juice box before it’s their turn, they’ll do it.
According to a study by Analytics Magazine, anytime we wait in line we end up feeling anxious. People waiting in lines, no matter how fast the line is moving, always feel like the line is moving slower than it should.
As a result, people eventually start complaining and looking for ways to either exit the line or skip through it, angering other people in line.
Designating employees to monitor your line, remind customers at regular intervals how long it is before they’ll reach the end of the line, and answer any questions people may have, will stop people from acting poorly while they’re waiting.
Q: Barricades are heavy. How am I supposed to transport these things?
Steel barricades are heavy and moving them from storage location to a queue location is a labor and time intensive task.
Fortunately, barricade pushcarts exist.
The standard barricade push cart size holds 30 barricades, but you can purchase smaller or larger carts.
Pushcarts can either be pushed by hand, as the name implies, or lifted by a forklift. However, in most cases, it’s better to use a forklift to transport your barricade push carts.
Using a forklift to move your push cart not only saves time, but it also reduces the risk of injury for your employees.
Barricade pushcarts also work great as a storage solution. Once your barricades are in their cart, you can simply store the cart in a storage facility and leave them there until you need them again.
Q: Barricades are expensive. How do I maximize my ROI here?
A: Barrier jackets!
Have you ever wondered why companies are willing to pay such big money on commercial spots during the Superbowl?
You might be thinking, “Easy, because 100+ million people watch the Superbowl every year,” and while that’s partially true, it’s not the whole truth.
Advertisers know that ads work best when they have the undivided attention of their intended audience, and they know exactly where they can get your undivided attention...
- In the waiting room at a doctor’s office,
- In the pages of an in-flight magazine,
- On a billboard on a crowded freeway,
- In your living room when you don’t want to go the bathroom because you’re afraid to miss the last two minutes of any game Aaron-Hail-Mary-Rodgers is playing in,
- And, you guessed it, while you’re waiting in a line.
There’s not much for people to do while they’re waiting in a queue other than, well, wait. That’s why it’s such a prime advertising opportunity.
You can sell “advertising space” by selling steel barricade jacket covers to sponsors.
Barrier jackets have logos and messages from sponsors, working like ground-level billboards. If this is something you’re thinking about doing, consider buying smaller barriers (3 ft. instead of 6 ft.), because you will have more barriers to be able to ‘sell’ to potential advertisers.
Want to learn more about queue management? Read our posts on How to Form a Line and How to Increase Revenue With Merchandising Panels.