Archive » September 11, 2008
COLD SPRINGS BRIDGE HAS THIRD SUICIDE THIS YEAR
By Robert Perry, Staff Writer
Cold Springs Bridge has third suicide this year
A 39-year-old San Luis Obispo man has taken his life by jumping from the Cold Springs Arch Bridge on Highway 154 early on the morning of Sept. 8, according to Sergeant Alex Tipolt, Public Information Officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
Matt Aydelott, an instructor at Cuesta College, was seen by motorists sitting on the curb by the bridge at about 5:30 a.m. Authorities were contacted but the man had leapt from the bridge before help could arrive.
The death is the 46th from the bridge, considered a “Hot Spot” for suicides by Caltrans. A proposal for a suicide barrier is being considered by the State of California and is supported by a local suicide prevention organization, the Glendon Association. A number of public officials and agencies also have expressed support for a suicide barrier, including State Assembly member Pedro Nava, County Supervisor Brooks Firestone, the County Association of Governments, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, the California Highway Patrol, and the Family Service Agency.
A barrier is opposed by an ad hoc group known as “The Friends of the Bridge.” The group is headed by Associate Professor of Political Science Garrett Glasgow who has written that barriers such as the one proposed do not prevent suicides.
“Deterring suicides at a particular location is not proof that we have saved lives,” Glasgow wrote. “We must consider the possibility of displacement.”
According to Glasgow, those who are motivated to commit suicide and are prevented by a barrier will only go somewhere else.
A local environmental and political action group, the Valley Alliance, also has expressed opposition to a suicide barrier at Cold Springs Bridge.
“We believe that focusing on building a physical barricade on the Cold Springs Bridge is unjustified and is an inappropriate use of precious public funds,” Valley Alliance President Mark Oliver wrote in a March 10 letter to Caltrans. “The Valley Alliance is opposed to the proposed project.”
The proposed suicide barrier will cost approximately $1 million, Caltrans has estimated.