Pasadena’s Department of Public Works provided the latest updates on Wednesday regarding the Colorado Street Bridge Barrier Enhancement Project.
The project aims to deter people from attempting suicide by jumping off the bridge.
In 2017, a temporary 10-foot tall chain link fence was installed at each of the bridge alcoves due to a significant increase in the number of suicide incidents.
That same year, the City Council approved a task force’s recommendation identifying vertical barriers as the most effective deterrent and directed staff to develop a design.
Five years have passed, and a final recommendation for vertical barriers has not come before the City Council for consideration.
In August of 2021, the Public Safety Committee did not approve the recommended concept design for the vertical barriers and instead directed the Department of Public Works to review more options and get more input from the public.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Department of Public Works Deputy Director Kris Markarian said the design concepts will be presented to the Public Safety Committee in September 2023.
According to Markarian, the department has been holding discussions with the Southern California chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art (ICAA) and Pasadena Heritage since the last quarter of 2021 for concept designs for the barriers.
As a result of the discussions, possible design solutions were presented and discussed. At a meeting held last July 2022, four new preliminary concept designs were presented by ICAA to Pasadena Heritage and City staff.
According to Markarian, design charrettes will be conducted from November 2022-May 2023. The development of design barrier concepts is anticipated from January-June 2023.
“This is an ambitious schedule and we are confident that with this effort and having gone through the initial process, we can further refine and reach a consensus on that preferred concept,” Markarian said.
The department currently has $2 million in ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds that will cover the expenses for the design and a portion of construction.
Markarian said the department believes that this budget is “not enough to get us to construction.” A cost estimate for the project will be developed for the project once a concept is approved.
At the meeting, Councilmember Steve Madison observed significant time has already passed since the chain link fence was installed.
“We are over five years and counting. I get that a lot of process has gone into this and we made some missteps but we really need to start to bring this to a conclusion. So I’d really like to see us stick to this timetable,” Madison said.
Suicide attempts from the bridge have decreased since 2017 when 10 incidents occurred according to the Pasadena Police Department. There were only four incidents in 2018, one in 2019, none in 2020 and one in 2021.
The National Suicide Hotlines are available 24/7 by dialing 988
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