Body Marks Colorado Street Bridge’s First 2019 Suicide, Death Jumps Down by 63%

City official says preventative fencing has slowed the number of suicides

Published : Saturday, April 20, 2019 | 5:18 AM

A witness found the body of a man lying on the ground in the wash area beneath the Colorado Street Bridge at 8:30 a.m. Friday, marking what City officials said was the first suicide from the bridge in 2019.

Shoes possibly belonging to the victim were located on top of the bridge.

The coroner’s office took custody of the body. The victim’s identity was not announced.

The suicide rate at the Colorado Street Bridge has decreased dramatically since 2017, the year City Manager Steve Mermell ordered installation of emergency fencing to stem the tide of a significant spike in the number of jumps.

From eight suicide falls that year, the rate dropped by 63% to just three in 2018, according to Police Supervisor Melissa S. Trujillo.

City spokesperson Lisa Derderian said the fencing on the bridge has resulted in a slowdown in the number of suicides.

Earlier this week, the City’s Public Safety Committee took up consideration of contracting with a specialized architect to design a permanent “suicide deterrent system” for the Colorado Street Bridge.

The firm chosen by the Pasadena Department of Public Works is San Francisco-based Donald MacDonald Architects, which designed such a system for the Golden Gate Bridge.

“The firm offers a unique understanding and expertise in suicide mitigation projects and brings a wealth of knowledge from extensive research into suicide mitigation efforts around the globe,” staff said in its report on the matter to the City Council.

The City decided to install the temporary suicide-prevention fencing along the bridge’s alcoves in July 2017.

Then in September 2017 Pasadena City Manager Steve Mermell, responding to a spate of jumps and attempts and a 13-hour marathon talk down of one would-be jumper, ordered the installation of 10-foot high fencing along the bridge walkway from end to end.

More than 154 suicides have occurred from the Colorado Street Bridge since it was put up in 1919, more than 30 of these in the past decade.