Temporary Suicide Prevention Fencing Cuts Fatalities at Colorado Street Bridge, But City Wants Acceptable Permanent Solution

City will convene special public meeting to discuss design solution ideas

Published : Thursday, September 26, 2019 | 4:45 AM

Marci Solway doesn’t ever want to watch another suicide jumper fling themselves from the Colorado Street Bridge.

As a nearby resident with a clear view of the bridge and its heartbreaking history, she has seen it happen far too often, and far too close-up.

More than 154 suicides have occurred from the Colorado Street Bridge since it was first built in 1919, with more than 30 in the past decade.

The City placed a temporary chain link fence along the alcoves of the bridge in the spring of 2017 after a spate of suicide attempts, and then along the entire length following a 13-hour Labor Day 2018 attempted suicide drama.

Since the full bridge-length fencing installation, suicide attempts have been dramatically reduced. Only only one person has managed to successfully leap from the fenced bridge to death.

“I think [the fence] is a step in the right direction,” Solway told Pasadena Now Wednesday.

Solway noted that the fencing was the City’s second attempt at a solution, after the first version failed to stop jumpers from accessing the ledge away from the fenced alcoves.

The rate dropped by 63%, after the fencing installation, with only three attempts in 2018, according to Police Supervisor Melissa S. Trujillo.

From September 4, 2017 to August 7, 2018, there were 38 calls for service at the Colorado Street Bridge, according to Pasadena Police Department records.

Of those calls, three were suicide attempts.

Twenty-two of the calls were classified as “mental health” or “5150” issues. In eight calls, police merely checked the welfare of the subject, but did not take action.

From September 2, 2018 to August 29, 2019, there were 27 service calls. There were two suicide attempts, with one of them successful. Twenty-four were classified as mental health or 5150 calls.

“So many people lost their lives during that period when the fence was not adequate,” said Solway.

Solway also said she feels confident in the chosen design firm, Donald McDonald and Associates, who helped design the safety nets under the Golden Gate Bridge.

The City will hold a special meeting tonight, September 26 in City Council chambers to gather input from residents for what is being called the Colorado Street Bridge Suicide Mitigation Enhancement Project.

The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers 100 North Garfield Avenue, Room S249 For information or comments, readers may contact ColoradoStBridge@cityofpasadena.net.

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