The Super Bowl will be held Sunday, February 13th, a week after the Winter Olympics kicks off. These two global sporting events typically attract hundreds of thousands of people, making their host cities and venues high-value targets for terrorism.
Protecting such large crowds is an even greater challenge in the era of escalating Hostile Vehicle Attacks. Our fifth PROTO-TALKS discussion, and first of 2022, will discuss the prevention and mitigation of vehicle attacks with some of the country’s top safety experts and engineers.
Original Air Date:
Feb. 10, 2022
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Matt Morgan: Hello, welcome everyone to Prot-Talks, our fifth installment thus far. I'm your host, Matt Morgan. I'm the president of Protogetic, the protective design industry's first digital marketplace. Before we get started, I'd like to give a big thank you to Stone Security Engineering, our sponsor. Stone Security Engineering has been very, very supportive of us throughout the last years. And we thank them for their continued partnership and participation today. So thank you.
Today's 75 minute discussion features a very serious topic that every year becomes more and more important, hostile vehicle mitigation. Today, we have some of the leading experts in their fields with us to talk about protection strategies, primarily for urban events. You cannot save lives and protect property if you are not employing and deploying the proper defense systems.
So I know this topic is going to be insightful to all of us, given that the Super Bowl is this Sunday and the Olympics right now are ongoing. So, let's get to it and bear with me for a moment because our keynote speaker today, Rob Reiter really does have some exceptional experience and credentials that I really want to get right. So if you'll bear with me, let me read this because it really is something impressive.
Rob Reiter is a national subject matter expert in both perimeter security and the protection in safety of pedestrians in crowded places in retail locations. He is chairman of the perimeter security subcommittee for the security industry association, which is now writing new guidelines to address hostile vehicle attacks and mitigation.
Rob is also co-chair of the ASTM F12-10 subcommittee that developed test standards for low speed safety barriers, and secretary of the full F12-10 committee responsible for high speed anti-terrorist barrier standards. For more than 20 years, Rob has focused his efforts on both high security and public safety measure to protect people and property from accidental or deliberate vehicle incursions.
And in 2012, Rob co-founded the Storefront Safety Council, an advocacy organization focused on tracking and preventing vehicle into building crashes. Trust me, you are not going to find someone more passionate about this topic than Rob Reiter. So I would like to welcome Rob to Proto-Talks. Rob, how are you? And welcome my friend. It's not been too long, but always good to see you.
Rob Reiter: Well, it's good that you say I'm the most passionate around, because if you said I was the smartest around, 50 people would be rolling their eyes right now and going, "What [inaudible 00:03:08], this is crazy." I'm a lot of things, but I'm not the smartest guy in even a virtual room.
Matt Morgan: Well, that makes two of us, so great.
Rob Reiter: Yeah. But everybody knows that about you. They're not so sure about me.
Matt Morgan: Yeah, okay.
Rob Reiter: So I'm going to be rambling a little bit because I think we need just a little bit of perspective and some sort of context, but I'm going to run through 1,000 slides in about 12 minutes. So everybody needs to hang onto their hat. Is that okay with you?
Matt Morgan: That's fine. Let's get started.
Rob Reiter: All right. There you go. But here I am. So yes, I am in fact that guy. And I have in fact been doing this for longer than most people will realize. And somehow it's all blown through awfully quickly for me as well. One of the things that I do want to mention today is I have been blessed by a lot of friendships and a lot of mentors in this industry. And as I reach, oh, I don't know, 39 or whatever I am now, I'm doing everything I can to encourage people to become more involved in the industry and to become more involved as professionals.
There's a lot of things that people need to teach and a lot of things that people need to communicate. So that's one of the reasons why we're here and I want to thank Protogetic for being really forthright about that and taking leadership. So, as mentioned, I co-founded the Storefront Safety Council.
I spent an awful lot of my time looking at bonehead stuff. Bonehead stuff, in terms of what drivers do, bonehead stuff in terms of what parking lots are designed to and bonehead stuff day after day, the same sorts of accidents happening at the same sorts of locations, same sorts of restaurants and store chains. It's great, fun and very frustrating at the same time. As you can see, storefront crashes happen 20,000 times a year, and most of them are about like this.
Shannon Ahartz: [crosstalk 00:05:02] the south suburbs after a driver slammed into a Starbucks store, [inaudible 00:05:06] HD was open his seat in matches late today. Police say an elderly woman hit the gas instead of the brake and drove straight into that store. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt.
Rob Reiter: I always liked the part of that, where the cop is picking up the ADA sign, breaking it off and tossing it out because it's probably the fourth time it's been hit. Our database involving retail oriented crashes, crashes into commercial buildings, government buildings, and bus stops. We have over 24,000 incidents that are logged in catalog.
We have another 12,000 incidents, which we have record of, but not sufficient information to make them fully logged in. But as you can see, retail stores, restaurants, number one places people do these things. The age spread of accidents, it skews slightly towards older drivers, but not as much as many people think. And the frequent causes, as you can see, the steady ones is that little over 40% that are just operator error and driver error. It hasn't changed much in the last six years. I don't expect it to change much in the next six years.
But today we're really talking mostly about what's going on on streets and for special events. And for times when streets are used for things other than vehicular traffic. I sometimes call this turning a street into an entertainment venue. But as you can see in the graphic, lots of cities because of COVID decided that restaurants needed to move outside. And so they put people closer and closer to traffic. And a big topic today is there's a good way to do that and a not so good way to do that. And here's a surprise I'm going to be talking mostly about the not so good way to do that.
Here are two photos of ways that various cities have decided that putting people into outdoor dining works. I love the picture of the fire engine, barely able to pass. I think that's an interesting lack of standards there. And then the picture on the other side where you have people sitting and there are flower pots and a yellow line protecting them from traffic, I think that's an interesting innovation in public safety as well.
We experienced from the start of the pandemic to about a couple of months ago when I ran the numbers, we saw approximately a 25 accidents that we saw at restaurants and outdoor dining went up about 25 times. We were used to seeing four to 80 year. We saw closer to 100 of them, I think in the first 16 months of the pandemic. So there's a lot going on with the interface of vehicle traffic and outdoor dining.
This is going to be one of the main topics that the two smart guys in the presentation we'll be talking about, is how do you protect people who are just inches away from oncoming traffic? This is a picture of an accident in Santa Monica, drunk driver in a small BMW misjudged a coroner, and ran into and injured some people who were dining outside on the curbside dining.
And you'll notice there that there's a barrier tipped over. Jersey barriers just because they're heavy doesn't mean that they can actually protect a vehicle. We know this from things like this, where they've just been tipped over by a simple collision. But we also know that because we test these things.
Just because it's heavy, doesn't mean it's a vehicle stopping barrier. And cities have done all kinds of things that maybe seemed like a good idea at the time, but when it comes to being a crash tested barrier that will protect people on the other side of it, they have not done as good a job as I think many of us would like. For example, here's a street, is this street open to traffic or closed to traffic? We see lots of barriers. We see some tents.
It reminds me of Denver airport, but is this closed street or an open street? So we look more closely at the sign there. And what it says is, "Please watch for people exiting the tents." My guess is that's a street that is open to vehicular traffic. Is it smart to be that open to vehicular traffic with that many people who might be walking back and forth?
I think it's easier to close the street off. This is part of the lack of standards that the other speakers will be addressing and something that I work on all the time. Now, let's talk about street events that are a little bit different. This is downtown New Orleans. And as you can see in the picture on the left, people are walking past the, "Hey, this street is closed," bike rack that has been the main method of closing streets off for special events, or I don't know how many dozens of years.
And on the right is a different corner of the same street that has crash rated barriers installed. New Orleans went through a program to improve security against deliberate acts of terrorism using a vehicle because they have some of the most crowded street in the nation when Friday nights and Saturday nights, much less on Mardi Gras nights.
But as you can see from the picture on the left, that's an incident that happened about eight years ago at a Mardi Gras parade, not downtown where a young kid in a Ford F150 who blew as I recall 0.240 or three times the legal limit ran into a crowd of about 25 people who were standing watching the parade in the median of a street.
Which means coming down the street on the left side was the parade where he ran into one of the float trucks. But on the right hand side, where he came from, it was just open to traffic. So they had thousands of people on that grass, median, just watching something unprotected on their right. And folks that have seen my slideshows before or who have an interest in it that photo on the right is Stillwater, Oklahoma, Oklahoma state homecoming parade, where a car went through an intersection that was only blocked off by a police motorcycle parked sideways.
She hit and killed four people. And she injured as I recall something like 46 people. This is not all that uncommon. Events like marathons, where you have so many exposures are risky. And people like Jeff [Halland 00:12:06] and Scott Rosenblum and people who I've been working with for years at ASTM are very conscious of the fact that there's just not enough protection for the public who are mostly minding their own business. And the last thing on their mind is watching out for vehicles because they assume the city has closed the street. Even if you just see an orange cone, you assume that somebody has made the area where you are safe and it's just not always true.
This is an impact five years ago at Times Square. I'll let it speak for itself for a second. That vehicle came down the sidewalk. He had killed one person and hit about 25. And he ran into a row of Ballards that were put in as part of the Times Square Plaza improvement. Because tourists and people walking around and people on foot going to their offices can't be watching over their shoulder every second, find out if there's a car coming down the sidewalk behind.
So New York City and the Times Square people said, "We will protect this area so people don't have to have perfect situational awareness." Now what it doesn't show in that frame is in the path of the vehicle that those Ballards weren't there. There was 300 people sitting at tables having lunch. It was a beautiful spring day, quite warm. And there was just a ton of people there. If they hadn't had the foresight to put in those barriers, probably would've been one of the bigger body counts in this category of tragedy in the United States.
And this is the one that really got me started in this business of protecting people. And this is the Santa Monica farmer's market, 2003, I believe an 84 year old man driving a Buick for various reasons that have been ascribed, either made a pedal error or had some sort of a psychotic moment, drove 1000 feet down farmer's market on 3rd Street. He killed 10 people outright. He puts more than 60 in the hospital. And back when $24 million was a lot of money, $24 million is what the city paid out in settlements. I don't know what that would be now, almost 20 years later, but it would be a lot.
You can see the state of the vehicle and how many things he had to hit have that vehicle look like that. At the end of the investigation into this, the National Transportation Safety Board said, if they had made the traffic plan, they would've realized that they needed to close off the end of the street with some sort of a steel barrier. In many cases, that's a bar or Ballards or wedges, but for something that happens every single week, it is cheaper and safer to make a permanent barrier operable, removable, or whatever.
But to prevent these sorts of very predictable, very foreseeable and very tragic incidents. At last, 19 years later in Waukesha, Wisconsin, just two months ago, a gentleman drove down a parade route that was not blocked off and he killed six people and he injured 62. And the videos of that are just absolutely horrific. So I'm not going to show them all, but this is just a screen capture from CNN.
On the left is the police chief saying, "Gee, we did this the same way we do it every year. We did the best we knew how to do." And on the right is a picture of the vehicle driving over some plastic barriers that weren't really even set up. Cities need to do better. And the industry needs to do better in leading the way.
Now we have the problem with deliberate vehicle attacks. On the left is the van attack in Toronto that killed 10 people. On the right is the New York bikeway attack that killed eight people. And people for various reasons, ideology or whatever, will you use their vehicles as a terrorist weapon of mass destruction. And it has happened many, many times around the world.
We call this terror by truck. On the left is the truck that struck the Berlin Christmas market and killed a dozen people. On the right is the aftermath in these fronts a few years... Gosh, about eight years ago now, that killed or injured over 200 people. Simple breach of security, poor training, poor execution, and 200 people dead and injured.
And I love this photo because this is the truck that was rented from home depot that was used in the bikeway attacks that killed those people. You too can be a terrorist for just $19. I think the lesson here is that cities have to understand that they have an obligation. The industry needs to do a better job of saying, "Hey, there's some good solutions here." And one of the great things about Protogetic and putting on these sorts of talks is it raises the level of discussion.
We'll be talking about it at ISC West in our perimeter security subcommittee meeting. There'll be an additional SIA event in 24 and 25 May in Washington DC. And we are actively looking for greater involvement. And just because you got to end with a video, this strikes me as being about the level of security for public events on streets that most cities like to do. [inaudible 00:18:00].
Sometimes I just want to watch that like three or four times. So Matt, this was a fast moving nevertheless rambling manifesto that between everyday accidents and accidents at special events. And now the increased risk of people who are moved off the beach and into the water where the sharks are by being put in curbside dining situations, between accidents and deliberate acts, this is a really scary thing.
Matt Morgan: Yeah, absolutely. And I think, some of the pictures and photographs, videos that you showed Rob are bone chilling. And it just really drives home the fact that cities need to do a much better job in protecting their citizens on this kind of stuff. There's [crosstalk 00:18:58]-
Rob Reiter: And that's why we do this. Thanks for putting this thing on. And now the smart people can do a better job.
Matt Morgan: ... well, all right. Thank you Rob very much. I appreciate that. Our next guest, again, an accomplished professional in his own right. And again, let me get this right, with more than 30 years of experience in the protective design industry, Shannon Ahartz is a registered professional engineer and vice president at Kimley-Horn. His expertise encompasses managing and designing multidisciplined infrastructure projects, including security features to protect pedestrians from hostile and [inaudible 00:19:40] vehicles.
Shannon Ahartz managed the fast track high profile design that installed more than 6,000 high security Ballards and protection measureds against the Las Vegas strip, thereby protecting hundreds of thousands of people on a daily basis. And he is no stranger to large event crowds and protecting them as well. So let me welcome Shannon Ahartz from Kimley-Horn. Shannon, are you out there?
Shannon Ahartz: I am. Good morning, Matt. Thanks for that kind introduction and great job, Rob, and with your presentation. And hopefully in contrast to Rob's presentation, I'm hopeful to show the right way to do and protect people from hostile vehicles. With that, let me get my screen set up here. Okay, great. Well again, thank you, Matt. And it's a pleasure to be a part of the Proto-Talks today. Again, great job, Rob.
Lots of great examples there. And as Matt mentioned, I live and work in Las Vegas and Las Vegas is no stranger to larger events. So I kind of just like to set up the background here. Many times in Vegas, we have multiple events happening and at the same time, sometimes they're simultaneous. Like this past weekend, we actually had the National Hockey League All Star weekend here in town.
And at the same time we had the NFL Pro Bowl, two really major events. And this is all on top of what is already our normal things that go on in the script in terms of concerts, and activities all up and down the strip. One of the things that they're... As you see the stats on the screen, we like to say that everything happens in Las Vegas, but there are similar events like this that occur throughout other cities and locations around the country as well.
And then while we're not at pre COVID numbers yet, Las Vegas is on the rebound. According to Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, in 2019, we saw about 42 and a half million people, and about 32.2 million of those folks just came back in 2021. And as you can see there too, from a convention standpoint, 2019, we saw just a little over six and a half million people. And with about 2.2 million people returning in 2021. And just a quick plug for ISC West, coming up here in the middle of March, hope to see you all here in Vegas.
One of the things that is for certain is that the economic impact of visitors and tourists is enormous in Las Vegas. And so I think it's pretty safe to say that tourists are one of the key assets here in Vegas. So what does this all mean? How do we go about providing mitigation to minimize the threats to hostile vehicles? Well, I'd like to think of it in terms of two unique deployment strategies. And playing on our words of our port top theme today, the two types are really zone defense and spot defense.
There are several similarities between these two strategies, but there are also several different considerations to take into account. And I'll try to point these out as we move through some of the examples. For instance, here in Vegas, I would consider a zone defense being along a path, if you will.
So think of the [inaudible 00:24:04] Las Vegas. And people are moving from a position to another position. For instance, maybe resort to resort or between a resort to a venue, or perhaps even between ride share to venues or vice versa. And it could actually be resorts to convention centers, or even between the convention centers here in Vegas.
And then I would actually define spot defense as generally where people are gathering more in just one location or in a general location. They're a little bit more confined and not moving along a specified path necessarily. So again, one of the best examples of its own defense is really along the Las Vegas Boulevard for the strip.
There can be a lot of times up to 100,000 pedestrians a day or more that are moving up and down the strip. And while the photo you see is actually a pre COVID and actually a pre Ballards photo, it's a good example of how pedestrians are popped into the sidewalk area and how they were really unprotected and vulnerable at the time this photo was taken.
As a practicing engineer, I had to add something to the slides that looks a bit like an equation. So the first bullet here shows the length along the strip that has some form of mitigation. So nine miles of mitigation. That's a lot of zone defense. That mitigation is made up of a lot of different types, everything from Ballards to walls, planners, even elevated walkways.
And the other thing that's kind of interesting about this is that for a lot of it, the construction or the properties are existing. So the mitigation was an afterthought. And we had to design it to fit in with what was already at an existing condition. Versus some locations along the strip, there is new construction. And when that happens, we can actually integrate security and design into the design plans right from the get go. And that makes a huge difference in the way that some of these things get implemented.
Protecting a zone requires really a great deal of flexibility due to the multiple elements that you need to deal with. All of the bullets you see here on this slide are really mission critical items to consider when you're working to implement a project. For instance, there's various property types. If you think about it along the script, we have everything from, of course, the resorts and the casinos to souvenir shops, to restaurants, to even gas stations.
And so each one of those are very unique. And of course, just the numerous properties owners up and down the strip, it causes like a great deal of coordination between all those owners. And with those different types, you're going to run across a myriad of different site conditions. And of course you have to deal with easements, and that could be for construction or for eventual perpetual maintenance on the mitigation that is installed. Likewise operation and maintenance.
Every one of these properties have different requirements, different ways that they maintain or have to access their properties or their footage frontages. So having an upfront discussions with them and how this is going to work is certainly a key item. Scheduling and phasing. Getting a job done like this up and down the strip. There's always something going on, and there's always a reason to skip this area or do something at this time versus another time.
And with nine miles to cover up and down the strip, it certainly was a challenge. And of course, aesthetics, anytime you get more people in the room to decide on how something's going to actually look, the more challenging that becomes. However, I will say that the owners and the strip, the corridor, really did come together and settled on a look for the strip. And it has actually become really a look for the whole Las Vegas valley.
And of course, on any project, you have the utility coordination in 80 issues that you need to deal with. The photo you see here is really an example of some M50/P1 [inaudible 00:29:16] Ballards that were part of the first installation along the strip. And these proved to be very effective in terms of being able to just get over most of the utility conflicts.
And also they're pretty quick to get installed. So that allowed many of the walkways to be restored back to an open phase so that people could continue to use those walkways, which was important to all of the stakeholders.
So this particular photo here is a photo of [inaudible 00:29:57] Ballards that were installed along the frontage of [Bellagio 00:30:01]. And these were actually a trench type of installation. And what we found was that in many cases, just trying to fit Ballards in, on any given property was much like doing a jigsaw puzzle.
We had to use a lot of different types of foundations and a lot of different configurations just to fit the sites and minimize impacts. So really what happens is you really have to understand and identify constraints and upfront. And then the design process just becomes pretty iterative, very iterative before you get it all finalized.
Again, these were trench type Ballards. And one of the reasons we had to do that here in front of the Bellagio is because of all of the trees that lined the street there in front of the fountains and the tree wells, and all of the different elements that go along with that, the shallow frames just would not fit.
And the spacing of Ballards, we were not going to be adequate unless we went to this type of method. And so in the end, this is how it turned out. We ended up with a nice, good looking row of Ballards that protects the tens of thousands of people that are usually at the fountains every day.
Interestingly enough, I was able to take several of these photos during the pandemic so that you don't see a lot of folks out there at the moment, but it does give a chance to actually highlight the Ballards themselves. One of the next photo here is also an example of some finished Ballards.
These were shallow mount Ballards M50/P1s, which basically all of the Ballards along the script are M50/P1s. But one of the things that I'd like to point out here, as I mentioned, [ADA 00:32:12], is a big design component. And so every one of these curb ramps were all custom designed to meet ADA compliance. The other thing that happens is that there's an interface generally between public property and private property.
In this case, and in many cases on the strip, the actual public right away, or the property line actually runs down somewhere in the middle or some portion of the sidewalk. So this side over here being the private property side, this side over here being the public side. So if you can imagine where that line [inaudible 00:33:00] here, it's likely that these three Ballards are actually on private property.
Which again means that you have to have construction easements, and you have to interface with that private property. The other thing that happened quite often was particularly when we did use shallow mount Ballards the ends of the frames many times projected into the private property, beyond the right away line. So again, requiring that interface between public and private and having to work out ease and maintenance agreements for these. But in the end, it really did seal up the walkways and made them quite safe or a lot safer.
This is actually one of my favorite videos that I like to show. And this is an ADA consideration that you may not think about initially, but it's really important that it's considered upfront, because you don't want to have to [inaudible 00:34:11] this after the fact. And what this is, it's a video of one of our bus stops along the strip.
And many of the buses, as you'll see here, have multiple doors. And those doorways need to line up with the openings and spacing of the Ballards. The last thing that you want to happen is that a bus pulls up and you end up with a Ballard that might actually fall within the opening of the doorway. Seems easy enough, but if it's not something that's planned for upfront, this can easily be missed and get all mixed up. This particular site was also interesting because the bus stop site actually has two different buses that stop at this site.
And as you can imagine, the dimensions of the bus is different and the door alignments are different. However, with that configuration that we were able to work out, the spacing of the Balards work for both bus configurations. So we consider that a success story for an ADA situation on the script.
A couple of other examples of zone defense include, as I mentioned, moving people from resorts to venues. What you see in this photo is people moving from the resort corridor, or the strip along the [Hacienda 00:35:55] bridge over to Allegiant Stadium, which is the home of the Las Vegas Raiders.
What happens is they shut down the north side of this bridge, and it becomes a dedicated pedestrian path to move pedestrians between the strip and Allegiant Stadium. Now, this is an example of a temporary situation. This only is in place when there are events at the stadium.
Another example is a venue to a ride share lot. In this case, this is T-Mobile arena and when people either leave or are coming to the arena, basically they follow this path to the ride share lot. And since this is a permanent path, there is permanent protection along this entire path. But that's just another example of again, what I would call zone defense.
Let's move on to some spot defense situations, which can be similar to zone defense, but with a couple of added considerations or a couple of different types of mitigation. T-Mobile Arena, home of the Golden Knights, let's go Knights. This is a situation, as you can see here where people gather mostly, or generally in one location or more of a confined location. Like in this case, out on the plaza in front of T-Mobile.
However, there are people that access this area from all around the venue itself. And so many times what happens in these types of situations, the entire venue has its perimeter protected with some type of mitigation. And so when that happens, when the entire perimeter has some kind of mitigation, there's a need to secure access points or to have access points that are secured.
And so these access points will generally require some form of active barrier, whether it be a wedge or retractable Ballard or some form of a gate. The other thing with these access points is because now they are not readily accessible and they're shut off or closed down. You got to figure out and coordinate with the fire department and first responders, and actually work through SOPs or standard operating procedures for staff as to how these access points are going to be operated and managed during off times and during event times.
So again, the SOP might include working with the first responders and knowing what to do in those situations. And that could be anything from using Knox boxes to some of them have readers that can... On the Opticon readers that can operate the gates as the first responders approach. We did not go with that situation here. We did use Knox box type of operations.
The other things to consider though, are in an SOP is, how are you going to process vehicles during events? How long is the process cycle per vehicle? How many vehicles can you queue up before you're causing issues on the approaching roadways? You need to consider these things because that will determine, or could determine where the location of the protection is actually placed.
And this is just a quick example of the fire lane approval that had to be done to this project. And it does show all of the different locations of the gates and where they are so that the first responders and fire folks know exactly how to access and what they're going to be dealing with should they have to access the venue.
Another spot defense example is a popular venue in downtown Las Vegas. Maybe many of you have been there and that's Fremont Street. Fremont Street is the host of 22 million people per year for concerts and events. And as you can see from this photo, it's a pretty packed venue at times. And just recently, they installed really super bright LED lights on the overhead canopy for the shows that happen multiple times per hour, every day out there.
And funny enough, Rob and I actually began looking at this project, but I think it was back in 2017. So it's been a while ago, but I'm happy to say that we finally have everything constructed and in place. Just like the other spot defenses, you want to make sure that perimeter is protected and has some sort of mitigation so that the actual plaza or the area that people gathered is protected.
And that was the case here. We did a site review, identified all the various locations that needed to have some security put in, some kind of a mitigation measure to seal up those access points so that that entire pedestrian plaza under the canopy specifically had some protection.
It did require a lot of, again, coordination with the Fremont Street management team and the fire and rescue team to determine operational and maintenance needs. And so that led to having to put in different types of Ballards as well. We ended up putting in some retractable Ballards and some removable Ballards, and that was simply just to be able to accommodate fire and rescue and the operations for Fremont Street experience itself.
There were several unique elements on this project. One of them being basements that extended out into the plaza and up into the speed area, even near the curb line in some cases. So if you can imagine that really doesn't leave a lot of opportunity to do much underground work, much less put Ballards in the ground. But we were able to work through that and make it work.
The other thing that was interesting here, and this goes back to some things that Rob said in his presentation, there are crash gates that we installed in the public roadway right away. And I have heard people tell me that this perhaps is one of the only locations in the country where this type of high security crash gate has been installed actually on a public roadway. They've been installed in many other locations, obviously, but in a public roadway, this is perhaps one of the first ones.
And so the reason that we did that is because every about two times per hour, they shut the street down so that the pedestrians and the folks that gather along Fremont Street can enjoy and watch the overhead show that goes on. And what was happening was they were formally using plastic traffic barriers that Rob had mentioned. They would pull them out right before the show would start. And then they'd pull the plastic barriers off when the show was over. And that just was not a safe way to do it.
Interesting too, this project, when we first started looking at it, the idea was to have everything automated as much as possible. Matter of fact, the thought was if they could just push a button in the control room that would actually shut down all the house lights, turn the traffic signals off and close the gates and start the show up, that was really what they were looking to do.
We got pretty close to that. We actually came up with a 15 step process that closes the roadway down, and it starts with some warning signs, warning vehicles, the roadways going to close in two minutes. Then there's a series of yellow and red lights from each direction that flushes out the area that's going to be closed down. And then actually the gates are manually closed and then signals turn red. And the pedestrian signs say, "Go ahead and walk." And then the overhead show begins.
Like I said, there's actually about 15 steps to that. And then there's the reversal of that is actually about eight steps to open it back up. But the feedback we've gotten from Metro police is that they are really, really pleased with the crash gates and that everyone feels so much safer with the crash gates versus the plastic areas that were previously used.
So one of the things is that we often ask ourselves if we were really making a difference. And while the, not intentional terrorist attacks, I think the next piece slides will show that I think we are making a difference. These are in contrast to what I think Rob was showing where people were getting through the mitigation measures. I don't know the details of these crashes, but what I do know is when I look at these photos, I see that if Ballards were not there, it's most likely there would have been injuries and, or perhaps fatalities. We won't know because thank goodness the Ballards stopped them.
And while again, we don't know a lot about these incidents, it is quite apparent that the mitigation does work. This one I do know a little bit about this is actually during in a construction zone, believe it or not. And I think this vehicle was going about 50 miles an hour, believe it or not, and ran into the Ballards. And it was a DUI situation.
And the thing I'd like to show here on this particular video is it's the same crash. But if you do look down the role of Ballards after the crash, you can see that they were very effective. They're really all in alignment. I don't even think they wiggled a bit. So they were very effective and did their job.
The other thing you see here is there are pedestrians that are out there though it was after the fact. But again, these are just good examples of, I think the Ballards are actually working. So I think it's clear we're making a difference, whether it's zone defense or spot defense. It takes advocacy and education as Rob was mentioning to get projects like this done and implemented. So I challenge each one of us out there to continue to educate and advocate. And I think with that, I'm going to turn it back to you, Matt. Thank you.
Matt Morgan: All right. Shannon thank you very much. That was truly informative and really a very interesting presentation. I'm going to sign off here. Thank you everyone for joining us, and we will see you at our next Proto-Talk in the coming future. Thank you everyone and have a good day.