Chicago does a Christmas market, too, in cooperation with the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest. And, just like the markets in Germany, Britain, and Canada, it installed perimeter vehicle barriers and put up a larger police presence in response to last last's truck ramming attack on the market in Berlin which killed 12 and wounded 56.
How does Chicago compare to the others in terms of the effectiveness and subtle streetscapery of its barriers? It compares poorly.
Down go the concrete blocks across the entrance of the market in Daley Plaza. Just plain blocks, with little to no anti-ram value and no trimming to attempt to conceal their purpose.
Up goes fencing around the perimeter of the market space. Fencing that weak would serve to channel law-abiding people, but not much more.
Mounted on the surface of the sidewalk with no anchoring, and even less aesthetics. Hey, Chicago, you could at least have made them look like benches.
What's more, from the looks of it the market organizers and the police didn't even try to maximize the setback distance they could possibly have gotten by placing those blocks on the outer edge of the sidewalk. Either they don't understand the purpose of the anti-ram exercise or they're just going through the motions.
This is a step up from last year, when Chicago parked salt trucks as barricades around the Plaza. But still, all Chicago did was scatter some blocks and pedestrian barricades around, plus flood the zone with police patrols. Clearly not enough to actually preclude a Berlin-style truck ramming attack,
Visitors interviewed by local TV news sounded pleased with it all. They feel “safer, I guess, there's a lot of stuff going on lately ... more blue lights, that’s what I want to see.”
That might be the city's only goal here. Make people feel better, but don't take the truck ramming threat seriously enough to put up serious, tested and certified, anti-ram barriers.