According to the City Manager’s newsletter, local residents will soon be presented with the scope and schedule for construction of a vertical barrier intended to prevent suicides from the Colorado Street Bridge.
The meeting is from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 26 at Pasadena City Hall, 100 N. Garfield Ave.
According to a staff report released in May, the San Francisco-based architectural firm Donald McDonald would design a vertical barrier on the iconic bridge for under $550,000.
Local residents will be able to comment on the plans and provide ideas at the meeting.
City officials have pushed for suicide mitigation measures since last year’s Labor Day weekend, when police spent 13 hours successfully talking down a woman threatening to jump from the bridge, which has become so well known for people jumping fom it that it’s become known over the past several decades as Suicide Bridge.
After last September’s encounter, City Manager Steve Mermell exercised his authority to make an emergency purchase and spent $295,932 on fencing to span both sides of the 1,400-feet long and 100-feet high bridge.
More than 150 people have jumped from the 106-year-old span since the Great Depression, according to city officials, with more than 30 of those deaths reported since 2006. Most of those jumps occurred from the alcoves along the bridge’s walkways, where access to the edge over the existing metal railings is easier.
In April, a passerby found the body of a man beneath the bridge. His shoes were located on top of the structure. So far, he is the only known jumper this year. Three people jumped from the bridge in 2018, and eight people fell to their deaths in 2017.
Temporary suicide-prevention fencing was placed in the bridge’s alcoves after a total of 12 people jumped leapt to their deaths in 2015 and 2016.
The increase in jumpers, coupled with concerns for public safety after the city approved a Habitat for Humanity housing project underneath a portion of the bridge’s south side, forced officials to erect 10-feet tall, one-inch thick mesh fencing, blocking access to 20 alcoves on both sides of the historic structure. People had used the alcoves to climb off the bridge and onto the ledge. The now-completed housing project and park occupies the former Desiderio Army Reserve Center, declared surplus property by the Army and recommended for closure in 2005. After public hearings, city officials decided to convert portions of the property into affordable housing and a neighborhood park, much of which lies directly underneath a portion of the bridge.