The Goleta City Council voted Tuesday to write a letter to Caltrans urging the state agency for “complete transparency” in its evaluation of plans for the proposed Cold Spring Canyon Bridge suicide barrier.
“This is obviously an issue of local concern,” Goleta Mayor Margaret Connell said.
The City Council’s discussion came at the request of Mayor Pro Tem Ed Easton, who was approached by a community group to weigh in on the controversial project.
While the council agreed that the bridge and the number of related suicides were indeed an important matter, several members expressed reluctance at taking a definite stand on the issue of the suicide barrier.
The project has been at the center of controversy among law enforcement, those who would seek to stop people from jumping off the bridge and others who decry the loss of views from the bridge because of the proposed steel mesh barrier or otherwise feel that the barrier would do little to prevent suicides.
The project was approved last year, but construction stalled when Friends of the Cold Spring Bridge sued, asserting that the agency had not adequately informed the public of its options. A Santa Barbara County Superior Court judge sided with the group, forcing Caltrans to recirculate plans and address concerns.
One element that has appeared since includes the potential for a horizontal barrier, a net of sorts that might do away with the need for the vertical barrier — and an option many have said has not been adequately examined.
Given the lack of updated information, and the fact that the Cold Spring Canyon Bridge is not within Goleta’s jurisdiction, the council went only so far as to approve a letter to Caltrans, urging full examination of all alternatives, but with no definite stance on the suicide barrier.