Hoping to prevent deadly vehicle attacks such as those that have struck in London, New York City and France in recent months, the Fremont City Council approved spending more than $540,000 for 12 Delta portable barricades to protect public events including Festival of Arts
The barricades are intended to keep cars and trucks from driving onto roads and plazas where events such as the Fremont Festival of the Arts, Street Eats, Niles Antique Faire and Flea Market, and the Festival of India are held.
Fremont Police Chief Richard Lucero said special events are an important part of a community’s fabric.
“They provide an opportunity for people to come together in different ways than they do in their ordinary, day-to-day life and have a chance to connect,” he said, “In order for it to be effective, it’s got to be safe.”
Lucero said the potential danger of cars driving into public gathering areas to kill and hurt people is “Very Real,” adding that the barricades are a ‘good, flexible way to be able to protect these venues cost efficiently.”
On May 18, a woman was killed and 22 others injured in Manhattan when a man who police said was high on drugs drove his car through Times Square, hitting pedestrians before being stopped by a street barrier. Law enforcement authorities said that attack did not appear to be an act of terrorism.
A city staff report on the barricades purchase quoted a May report from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration that stated, “Terrorist organizations overseas have advocated conducting vehicle ramming attacks – using modified or unmodified motor vehicles – against crowds, buildings, and other vehicles.”
Fremont will buy a dozen MP5000 model, 20-foot portable barricades from Palmdale-based Delta Scientific Corp. The barricades have a battery-operated road plate that can be lowered to allow emergency or police vehicles through when necessary. The cost is $543,330, according to the staff report.
On June 3, three men ran over pedestrians on London Bridge with a van, then got out and attacked other people near Borough Market with knives. Eight were killed that night and many others injured in the terrorist attack.
The company says each barricade can be set up within 15 minutes and are lowered into place with hydraulic jacks.
Although some vehicle incidents are the result of drivers experiencing a medical emergency while behind the wheel and losing control, Delta sales manager Jeremy Andrews said terrorist attacks are the primary reason such barricades are used at military bases, embassies, colleges and other organizations.
“After 9/11, our business has grown tremendously,” Andrews added.
Lucero said, “The purchase of barricades is simply about protecting the people that are in the venue.”
Andrews said the barricades can also be used quickly if an impromptu road closure is needed for repairs or police activity. The company plans to deliver the barricades before the Aug. 5 start of the Fremont Festival of the Arts.
The report said, “The city also hopes the investment in city-owned barricading would help reduce the cost currently borne by event sponsors, helping encourage more community building events.”
City staff will be working up a ‘comprehensive, permanent downtown barricading plan’ to present to the council later this year.
Delta always keeps an inventory of the MP5000s for purchase and quick delivery at their manufacturing facility in Palmdale, Calif. In many cases, they are needed for events that come up quickly such as politician or celebrity visits and other unexpected incidents.