Suicide Prevention Activists Want Nets Before Lights on Coronado Bridge

Suicide prevention activists believe the lights will bring more problems

A renewed funding strategy to pay for lights across the San Diego Coronado Bridge wouldn’t use public money according to a plan approved by the Port of San Diego Board.

Port Commissioners recently voted to allow anyone making a donation to the San Diego Art Foundation or Port to select the bridge lighting project as the source for their donation.

Waterfront developers required to pay into a public art fund could pay significant portions.

The conceptual rendering developed by Peter Fink gives a futuristic vision with vibrant LED lights spanning the two-mile long bridge.

NBC 7 showed the rendering to county residents who had mostly positive reactions.

One woman called it “gorgeous” and another said “it enhances the area”, but suicide prevention activists worry the lights will only bring more problems.

"And there's no reason to have money for lighting which is going to be maybe a suicide magnet to bring more people and not put either a fence or nets to prevent suicides and prevent bridge closures," said Wayne Strickland, president of the Coronado San Diego Bridge Collaborative For Suicide Prevention.

Strickland wants the port to work with his group to find a way to get nets or fences built along with the lights.

He says it's time to save lives and put traffic nightmares associated with the closures behind because they threaten military operations and emergency response times.

Studies show the fences and nets would require much more money, putting the more feasible lights project on a more indefinite hold.

"I think it’s totally irresponsible to do one without the other," said Strickland.

Port spokeswoman Tanya Castaneda says the lighting project is still very much in early stages and even with funding through donations, a feasibility study needs to be performed along with a long list of other items before the lighting becomes reality.

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