News Build the Damn Fence Already
posted by April 17 at 15:05 PMon
Last night, Seattle Police officers spent 45 minutes trying to talk a man down from the Aurora Bridge. It didn’t work.
Police were called just before 10pm, and a group of officers spent 45 minutes trying to coax the man down, before he leapt to his death from the north end of the bridge and landed on the pavement below.
According to the state’s own Aurora Bridge suicide prevention website, more than 50 people have committed suicide on the bridge since 1995. Nine of those were in 2006, and there were at least seven more in 2007.
This is going to happen again, and again, and again until the city and the state get their shit together and builds a barrier on the bridge, or close it off altogether. And yes, fences work.
Since 2006, neighborhood groups and community activists have been pushing for a suicide prevention barrier on the bridge.
It’s an old bridge, with historical landmark status, so there’s been a lot of hemming and hawing over the logistics of building and maintaining a fence. Instead, the state installed a phone system which connects directly to a crisis counseling line. Clearly, that’s not enough.
The process has also been slowed by some community groups, who made a fuss about the barrier—which will save lives—because it might block the view from the bridge.
At some point, neighbors relented and in the last few months, things have been coming together. Community groups from Fremont and Queen Anne met with city and state reps to discuss potential designs for the bridge, but it’s going to be at least two years before anything gets built.
When people repeatedly get hurt at intersections, we put crosswalks and stoplights in. When people get shot at nightclubs, the city shuts them down. So when one bridge becomes such an attractive spot for people to kill themselves, why is it taking us so long to build a fence?