SI Live Editorial Calls On MTA To Prevent Verrazano Suicides

Source: Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons
Source: Ibagli via Wikimedia Commons

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge has been the site of seven suicides and seven attempts in the past 22 months, and advocates are wondering if the MTA should do more to stop them. An SI Live editoral spoke to the seriousness of the problem and brought up possible measures to prevent people from taking their lives on the bridge.

The bridge has been the site of two harrowing scenes in the past month alone. In the span of a week, one man leaped off the bridge to his eventual death and another was talked down by authorities. While the bridge does have phones that link people to the LifeNet suicide prevention hotline and signs that proclaim, “Life is worth living,” advocates are calling for more preventative measures.

SI Live pointed to solutions suggested by City Council candidate John Mancuso but questioned whether his suggestions were enough:

It’s just too easy for people to drive onto the bridge, get out of their cars mid-span and jump — or attempt to jump — off the side.
Democratic Mid-Island City Council candidate John Mancuso, reacting to this troubling trend, suggests that the MTA build pedestrian and cycling paths on the Verrazano. He said the flow of walkers and bicyclists back and forth across the span would deter people who are contemplating jumping.
Perhaps, but we wonder if there would be enough of the former to make the latter hesitate. In addition, the path would afford people on foot easier access to the bridge deck.
Mr. Mancuso also said that building paths across the bridge would allow the construction of safety barriers to thwart jumpers.

The editorial believes that simply making it impossible for people to leap off the bridge is the only real solution to the problem. The MTA has refused ideas like installing steel-mesh screens, which could be removed in emergencies, and has insisted that the LifeNet phones and constant police surveillance is enough to deal with the issue.

Obviously, if people are still managing to throw themselves off the bridge, the issue has yet to be resolved.

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