These Four Design Options for the Colorado Street Bridge Suicide Mitigation Project Have Received the Most Public Support

After a year of planning and design, here are the plans going before the Historic Preservation Commission Tuesday

Published : Monday, November 18, 2019 | 8:34 PM

After more than a year of discussions, meetings, and public input, the four suicide mitigation design options for the Colorado Street Bridge which have reportedly received the most public support will be presented to the Historic Preservation Commission on Tuesday.

The presentation is for information only; the Commission won’t vote at this point.

According to a memo from the Department of Public Works, the concepts—A2, Vertical Frame, flexible mesh, with and without a vertical post; A2, Open, with Vertical Frame and Rods; and B2, Open, with Intermediate Post and a rigid mesh—were reportedly selected based on popular support in public meetings and will be shown at Tuesday’s meeting.

Each of the concepts would feature open alcoves on the bridge with access by pedestrians. “A” concepts refer to designs that are vertical in nature, and “B” concepts refer to plans that have a curved top design.

The City Council approved the creation of the Colorado Street Bridge Task Force in April of 2018 to help develop solutions to a sudden increase in suicide leaps from the historic bridge. In October of 2018, the Department of Public Works then issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for design ideas and environmental review.

San Francisco-based Donald MacDonald Architects was awarded the contract, and showed off an initial set of ideas at two community meetings in September and October. The design group previously worked on suicide mitigation plans for the Golden Gate Bridge. They also worked on the La Loma and Holly Street Bridges.

Meanwhile, the suicide rate at the Colorado Street Bridge has reportedly dropped dramatically since 2017, the year City Manager Steve Mermell ordered installation of emergency fencing to try to halt a significant spike in suicide attempts. From eight suicide falls in 2017, the rate dropped by 63% to just three in 2018, according to Police Supervisor Melissa S. Trujillo.

City spokesperson Lisa Derderian confirmed the fencing on the bridge has resulted in a slowdown in the number of suicides.
Suicides in the area continue, however, though at a much smaller rate.

Last Friday, Nov. 15, a 37-year-old Hispanic man climbed over the fence of the eastbound SR-134 Freeway bridge between San Rafael Ave. and Orange Grove Boulevard, jumped and died.

The busy ten-lane freeway bridge is located just yards north of the Colorado Street Bridge.

On Sunday, November 3, a man in his 50s from Arcadia jumped off the Holly Street Bridge to his death.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, the new bridge mitigation designs will be presented to the Public Safety Commission on December 18. City Council would likely consider the design sometime in January, according to Public Works Director Ara Maloyan.

Maloyan estimated that the final design concept phase might be completed in summer 2020.

Tuesday’s Historic Preservation Commission meeting will take place at 6 p.m. in the Hearing Room of the Hale Building, 175 N. Garfield Ave.

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The National Suicide Hotlines are available 24/7 at 1-800 SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) and 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

Additional help is available at the Didi Hirsch 24-hour Crisis Line: 1-877-727-4747 (en Español: 1-800-628-9454)

LGBTQ – The Trevor Lifeline: 1-866-488-7386

Trans Crisis Line: 1-877-565-8860

Crisis Text Line: Text HELLO to 741-741

People of Color Crisis Text Line: Text STEVE to 741-741