Title:
Flexible parking post
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A flexible parking post is provided with an aluminum base, a flexible support and a rigid square tube which are mechanically fastened together, thus resulting in a durable device that may be used to easily display signs in parking lots or any other location. It can also be used to act as a barrier at the end of a parking space.



Inventors:
Audet, Sylvain (Saint-Hyacinthe, CA)
Application Number:
10/639375
Publication Date:
04/22/2004
Filing Date:
08/11/2003
Assignee:
AUDET SYLVAIN
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01F9/011; E01F9/627; E04H12/00; (IPC1-7): E01F9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HARTMANN, GARY S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Sylvain Audet (Sain-Hyacinthe, QC, CA)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A flexible parking post comprising of: a base having first and second base members, said base members being secured to each other; a flexible support, said flexible support being formed of an elastomeric material, said flexible support having a curvature therein about a vertical axis; a bottom portion of said flexible support being secured to said base members; a rigid vertical tube secured to an upper portion of said flexible support; and a sign secured to an upper portion of said rigid tube.

2. A flexible post according to claim 1 wherein said first and second base members each comprise an aluminum angle and a base leg and an upstanding leg, said upstanding legs being secured to each other.

3. A flexible post according to claim 1 wherein the stiffness of the flexible support is lower than the stiffness of said base and said rigid tube.

4. A flexible post according to claim 2 wherein said vertical portions are secured together by means of nuts and bolts, one said bolt having locknuts thereon to prevent excessive flattening of said flexible support.

Description:

[0001] The following application claims priority on U.S. provisional application S.No. 60/403,627, filed Aug. 15, 2002.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates generally to a post and more specifically to a flexible post that can be used to easily display signs in parking lots or any other location. It cn also be used to act as a barrier at the end of a parking space. The flexible parking post is made of a flexible support and a rigid square tube. The flexible support enables the post to bend upon an object impact and resume its normal upright position after the impact force is removed.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] “Handicap”, “Reserved Parking”, “No Parking” and other signs have been used in the parking lots since the expansion of the motor vehicle industry. In rural areas, these signs can generally be installed several inches from the end of the parking space to make sure that the motorist does not hit the post when he parks his motor vehicle. In many highly populated areas where the space is scarce, these signs, generally mounted on rigid U-Channel posts, are generally installed only a few inches from the end of the parking space. It is a well known fact that these rigid posts are sometimes impacted by the vehicles. The result of only one impact by a motor vehicle is high maintenance costs to repair the damaged post and a lost of effectiveness of the sign while the post is damaged. To limit the maintenance costs and to ensure the effectiveness of the signs, it is preferable that these signs should be mounted on flexible posts to make sure that the signs will always remain in an upright position.

[0004] So far, there is no product that has been specifically designed to mount signs few inches from the end of the parking space. In some cases, to limit maintenance costs, collapsible traffic posts, similar to U.S. Pat. No. 6,068,233 to Green, can be used. This solution reduces the repair time but it does not permit the post to always remain in an upright position.

[0005] Plenty of flexible solutions have also been developed. Most of these solutions have been developed to act as road delineators or similar applications (eg. U.S. Pat. No. 6,375,385 to Kennedy, U.S. Pat. No. 6,113,307 to Joyner et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,620,277 to Cole, Sr. et al. and U.S. Pat. No. 5,205,236 to Hughes). These solutions are well suited to be installed in grass. They are not designed to be installed in concrete or asphalt which is the pavement most frequently used at the end of the parking space. Other solutions that can be installed easily on asphalt or concrete have been developed (U.S. Pat. No. 5,908,262 to Ahn, U.S. Pat. No. 5,439,311 to Hughes, Jr., U.S. Pat. No. 5,354,144 to Lizakowski and U.S. Pat. No. 5,199,814 to Clark et al.) but none of these solutions have been specifically designed to be an esthetic and economical solution to act as a barrier or to support a sign in a parking lot.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The principal object of the invention is to provide a parking post that is flexible and resilient upon vehicle impact.

[0007] Another object of the invention is to provide a parking post formed of materials that are impact resistant.

[0008] Another object of the invention is to provide a parking post that can be installed easily in asphalt or concrete.

[0009] Another object of the invention is to provide a mean to easily display messages in parking lots or other locations.

[0010] Still another object of the invention is to provide a solution that is esthetic, durable and economical.

[0011] According to the present invention, there is provided a flexible parking post comprising of a base having first and second base members, the base members being secured to each other, a flexible support, the flexible support being formed of an elastomeric material, the flexible support having a curvature therein about a vertical axis, a bottom portion of the flexible support being secured to the base members, a rigid vertical tube secured to an upper portion of the flexible support and a sign secured to an upper portion of the rigid tube.

[0012] The base is preferably formed of aluminum material and can mainly be fabricated of two aluminum angles that are mechanically fastening to each other. The aluminum angles would have an horizontal segment which seats on the substrate and a vertical segment, the vertical segments being secured to each other. The horizontal segments or legs will provide a stable base that can easily be bolted or otherwise secured to the substrate.

[0013] The flexible support is preferably formed of a curved flexible elastomeric material with a curvature being formed about the vertical axis of the flexible support. The flexible support is preferably installed with the convex side of the curvature facing the oncoming traffic.

[0014] There is also provided a rigid post which may be of any convenient shape and is preferably of an impact resistant plastic. The post will also have a greater stiffness than the flexible support to allow the flexible support to bend upon vehicle impact. After the impact force is removed, it will resume its normal upright position.

[0015] There may be a sign or other displayed device attached to the upper portion of the rigid tube—i.e. the sign can be used to display advertisement, names, rules, pictograms or any other message in parking lots or other locations. Preferably, the sign is made of an impact resistant plastic.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0016] Having thus generally describe the invention, reference made to the accompanying drawings wherein:

[0017] FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of the present flexible parking post, showing the various elements thereof and their relationships to one another;

[0018] FIG. 2 is a side view, showing the flexible action of the present flexible parking post and the nature of the flexible bending occurring therein when struck;

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0019] FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of the present flexible parking post, designated generally by the reference numeral 10. The flexible parking post is basically formed of an aluminum base 12, a flexible support 14, a rigid square tube 16 and a sign 18.

[0020] An aluminum base 12 is made of two aluminum angles 20 and 22 that re fastened to each other by their respective leg where one leg 24 of the aluminum angle 20 is facing one leg 26 of the aluminum angle 22. Each of the elements 20 of the aluminum base 12 and flexible support 14 are provided with a plurality of holes 28. The aluminum angles 20 and the flexible support 14 are assembled together with each set of holes 28 being in alignment with one another. A bolt 30 is inserted through the holes 28 of the aluminum base 12 and flexible support 14. The assembly is then secured with a nylon locknut 32. Furthermore, a hole 40 has to be provided in the leg 26 of the aluminum angle 22. A bold 42 is inserted through the hole 40 and is then secured with two nylon locknuts 44. When the flexible support 14 bends, the locknuts 44 ensure that there is not an excessive flattening of the curvature of the element 14. The latter would result in a permanent deformation of the elastomeric material of the flexible support 14 that will affect the effectiveness of the flexible support 14.

[0021] The flexible support 14 is preferably formed of a curved flexible elastomeric material, although other materials may be used as desired, with the width and the thickness of the element adjusted accordingly. The elastomeric material provides the resiliency and return after being deformed, while the appropriate width and thickness provide the desired stiffness to support the rigid square tube and the sign. The flexible support 14 has preferably a curved shape about Axis A, as shown in FIG. 1. The curved shape provides additional stiffness to the flexible support 14. Flexible support 14 is preferably installed with the convex side 34 of the curvature facing the oncoming direction of traffic. The flexible support 14 and the rigid tube 16 are provided with a plurality of holes 36. The flexible support 14 and the rigid tube 16 are assembled together with each set of holes 36 being in alignment with one another. A bolt 30 is inserted through the holes 36 of the flexible support 14 and the rigid tube 16. The assembly is then secured with two washers 46 and a nylon locknut 32.

[0022] The rigid tube 16 is preferably a square tube formed with an impact resistant plastic. The rigid tube 16 is preferably a square tube, although other shapes may be used as desired, with the width, thickness or radius of the shape adjusted accordingly. The square tube provides the stiffness and the torsion strength required. To ensure the effectiveness of the parking post 10, the stiffness of the rigid tube 16 has to be grater than the stiffness of the flexible support 14. The rigid tube 16 is preferably formed of an impact resistant plastic, although other materials may be used as desired, with the width and thickness of the shape adjusted accordingly. Rigid tube 16 and sing 18 are provided with a plurality of holes 38. The element 16 and the element 18 are assembled together with each set of holes 38 being in alignment with one another. A bolt 30 is inserted through the holes 38 of the rigid tube and sign 18. The assembly is then secured with a nylon locknut 32.

[0023] The sign 18 is basically a thin rectangular piece of impact resistant plastic which can be used to display advertisements, names, rules, pictograms or any other message in the parking lots or other locations. The sign 18 has preferably a rectangular shape, although other shapes may be used as desired. The element 18 is preferably made of an impact resistant plastic, although aluminum,. water-resistant paperboard or any other material may be used as desired. Depending on the material used, the shape of the element 18 will be adjusted accordingly. The lightness of the element 18 shall be sufficient to permit the elements 14, 16 and 18 to return to their upright position after vehicle impact.

[0024] FIG. 2 is a side view, showing the flexible action of the flexible post 10. It will be seen that it is only the flexible post 14 that bends upon vehicle impact. The shape of base 12, rigid tube 15, and sign 18 remain unchanged. After the impact force is removed, the flexible post 10 returns to its normal upright position.