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After a seven-part Chronicle series in late 2005 and publicity about an upcoming documentary showing half a dozen death leaps from the bridge, the district’s board of directors decided last spring to study a barrier to prevent suicides. It was the eighth time authorities had considered installing such a deterrent.

“When you look at the numbers from 2006, there was a big leap in activity — both successful and attempted (suicides) went up significantly. The first spike in activity that we saw came on the heels of Eric Steel’s film premiering in San Francisco,” Currie  [spokeswoman for the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District], said.

Steel’s documentary, “The Bridge,” premiered locally in April. In May, four people jumped to their deaths and another 11 tried to commit suicide, Currie said.

Normally, no more than two people succeed per month, and an average of four others attempt to jump, according to Chronicle research and the bridge’s own statistics.

Full San Fransico Chronicle Article

patarick K. Hines on January 21st, 2007 at 10:44 pm 

The reason there are deaths at the Golden Gate Bridge is because the rails are only four feet high.

One person dies there every ten days.

The Golden Gate Bridge Transporation district continues to obfuscate and misdirect the problem.

The are responsible for the deaths they have the knowledge of the danger and they continue to try to deny thier culpability in almost 2000 deaths.

Many San Franciscans think that the solution is to emulate the Empire State Building, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, St Peter’s basilica and other such places and put up a simple barrier. This, however, is a decision for the 19 board members of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, an entity that oversees the bridge itself and the buses and ferries that operate in the area. Most of its revenues come from tolls and fares, and the district loses money. A barrier would cost between $15m and $25m.

So the Psychiatric Foundation of Northern California, which has adopted the barrier as its cause, considers it a success that the board has merely allowed a feasibility study, for which various private and public donors have raised $2m. Mel Blaustein, a director at the foundation, has heard several arguments against a barrier over the years—too ugly, too expensive, and so forth—but the most persistent has been that people would simply kill themselves somewhere else, so why bother? This is nonsense, he says; “Most suicides are impulsive and preventable.” A bridge without a barrier, adds Pat Hines, Kevin’s father, is “like leaving a loaded gun in the psychiatric ward.”

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