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City officials, AirTalk listeners share thoughts on how to prevent jumpers from Pasadena's Colorado Street Bridge




During the Great Depression, 79 people committed suicide from the bridge.
During the Great Depression, 79 people committed suicide from the bridge.
Genji Arakaki/flickr via Creative Commons

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After an uptick in deaths to start this year, including six deaths since March, the city of Pasadena is once again looking at a permanent fix to the problem of jumpers on the Colorado Street Bridge.

At a meeting of Pasadena’s Public Safety Committee on Wednesday, officials heard a presentation on the bridge’s history, the suicide barriers already in place and the temporary mesh fencing that’s being installed now while a permanent solution is devised. City officials say their area of focus are alcoves in the bridge, which offer beautiful views but also easier access for potential jumpers. Solutions include increasing bridge patrols, installing suicide help line call boxes, putting up a mesh barrier or safety netting and even planting trees below the bridge to put an obstacle in the way of a clear path to the bottom.

Not long after construction of the iconic Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena was completed in 1913, city officials realized they had a problem: people were leaping off of it to their deaths. It began during the Great Depression in the 1930s, during which time 79 people committed suicide from the bridge. City officials quickly began designing mitigation techniques and have updated them through the years, but the problem still exists. From 2006-2016 there have been 28 people who jumped from the bridge to their deaths.

How can the city of Pasadena stop people from jumping from the Colorado Street Bridge? Do you think a solution like a mesh fence or a safety net below the bridge take away from the historical and scenic value of the bridge? What would you suggest the city do to mitigate this issue?

If you or someone you know are considering suicide or need support or assistance, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Guest:

Michael Johnson, director of the Department of Public Health for the City of Pasadena