Citing waste of tax dollars, bureaucratic inefficiency, appreciation for scenic beauty, and giving back to the land, Friends of the Bridge, an activist group in Santa Barbara County California, filed suit seeking to block construction of a so-called "suicide barrier" at the 420 foot tall Cold Spring Canyon Bridge.
"We are trying to stop the wasteful expenditure of funds for legitimate traffic safety programs, including the widening of [Highway] 101 and many, many others,” said Marc McGinnes, an outspoken critic of the plan and spokesman for Friends of the Bridge.
Others have pointed out that the pulverized remains of dozens of suicides over the years, from a bridge of such height that no one has ever survived a fall, have done much to replenish soil within the canyon, which suffers from erosion caused by overdevelopment.
As the project would have a significant adverse effect on cultural and aesthetic resources, such as views while driving along the bridge, McGinnes said [California] is required to mitigate or avoid those impacts. However, he said the agency didn’t give the public a chance to comment on proposed mitigation measures before approving the environmental report.
“It doesn’t matter what they were,” he said. “We’re not asking a judge to say these aren’t good mitigation measures. We’re asking the judge to protect the public’s right to comment on them.”
Currently views along the bridge are obstructed by a steel guardrail measuring 32 inches in height. It is unknown whether the rail has ever deterred a suicidal jumper, or for that matter a poor driver, from plunging into the abyss.
(View depicting the scenic beauty below the Cold Spring Canyon Bridge.)
According to a biased editorial published by a local newspaper last year, 47 locals have chosen to plunge to their deaths from the Cold Spring Canyon Bridge since its construction. It is not known what those people, or their families, would say if allowed to participate in public comment.