After 78 years and more than 1,600 deaths, it seems that action is finally being taken to help reduce the grisly suicide rate at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. A proposed suicide barrier has been the subject of heated debate ever since it was initially put forward in 2006, with some critics suggesting it threatens the architectural character of the suspension bridge, constructed in 1933. Others have argued that the money required to construct the barrier (a steely 76 million USD) would be better spent providing mental health care to those in need. But meanwhile people just keep jumping.
The proposed design is a long, stainless steel mesh that will span the length of the bridge on both sides, twenty feet beneath the pedestrian walkways, extending 20 feet out from it (and painted in International Orange, of course). The barrier is not designed to provide a gentle landing. Those who do jump into the net are expected to suffer the same injuries one might sustain from falling two stories onto a steel platform – acting as both deterrent and incapacitator for help to then arrive. p (gk)