The Death of the Suicide Bridge

The Stranger ran a great piece last year about suicide and the Aurora Bridge.  Our humble bridge stands right behind the titanic Golden Gate as the second-most jumped from bridge in the world.  The article also went on to discuss the psychology of suicide – how making it slightly more difficult to jump drastically decreased the odds of someone trying.  Between that and the fact that Adobe is really tired of people landing in their parking lot below, the fence is now going up on what is officially known as the George Washington Memorial Bridge (how fitting, right?)

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Hit the jump for more pictures and words and such.

Walking out on the bridge gave me some time to think.  I’ve driven across it twice a day for upwards of a year now, but walking it is a whole different thing.  It shakes.  It’s high and narrow.  But honestly, the original fence barrier to jumping was what struck me first.  Possibly appropriate for a set of stairs or a bridge over a creek, but jesus!  That thing is low!  Luckily this new one fixes that right up.

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Hopefully in the future, they won’t need these signs.  Before the fence, it didn’t seem like it would take more than a strong breeze to send people over the railing.  Now there is certainly a physical deterrent that I hope will slow people down.

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I’ve also wondered why so many people choose to come down in the Adobe parking lot instead of the water of the ship canal.  I suppose some romantic notion of plunging into the cold lake made me assume that’s what everyone would want to do.  A coworker wagered that maybe the assurance that you wouldn’t live through it if you hit that asphalt below was the deciding factor, but honestly it could just be the walk – it takes a pretty long time to get all the way out over the water.  If you were really ready to go, I can see someone thinking that they’d just hiked far enough.

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With traffic whizzing by, I’d had enough.  The view is great, the sunset was nice, Mt. Rainier was out, but I wanted to go home.  So long, suicide bridge.

3 Comments

  1. I really love these photos and your descriptions. I think they are beautiful even if they are depicting a place where a number of people have jumped to their deaths. I hope the fence does provide that forced hesitancy which will keep people safer.

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