A task force created to find a way to deter people from jumping off the Colorado Street Bridge held its second meeting on Tuesday to present recommendations from the public that will increase safety but maintain the aesthetics of the historic structure.
“There is great concern about preventing these sad and tragic activities,” said Sue Mossman of the Colorado Street Bridge Suicide Mitigation Task Force in July, after the seventh of nine suicides from the bridge that year.
“On the other hand,” continued Mossman, executive director of the preservation group Pasadena Heritage, “physical intervention on the bridge is probably only a small part of addressing the needs of people who would go there. Finding a solution that balances the aesthetics of the bridge and its accessibility to people who think of it as the last place they will spend time on earth is the hard part.”
The task force is made up of preservationists, public safety officials, mental health experts, architects and engineers.
The recommendations will be presented to the City Council’s Public Safety Committee later this year.
Twelve people jumped to their death in 2015 and 2016 combined, including MTV star Sam Sarpong.
Police spent seven hours attempting to talk Sarpong out of jumping on Oct. 26, 2015. The 40-year-old Sarpong gained fame as a model and appeared in the TV shows “My So-Called Life,” “Veronica Mars,” “Everybody Hates Chris” and “24.” Prior to his death, he completed filming in an episode of “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson.” Despite the efforts of the city’s crisis negotiation team, Sarpong leapt to his death.
The increase in jumpers coupled with concerns for public safety after the city approved a Habitat for Humanity housing project beneath a portion of the bridge’s south side forced city officials to erect 10-feet tall, one-inch thick mesh fencing blocking access to 20 alcoves on both sides of the more than 1,400-foot long bridge, which was built in 1913. People used the alcoves to climb off the bridge and onto the ledge.