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My family and I moved to Whidbey Island about four years ago and each time we pass over the bridge we are reminded of the tragedies that surround this beautiful landmark. I believe there is a simple and relatively low cost way to deter jumpers. Its much too easy to leap, the novelty of jumping off a landmark must be removed by installing a six foot tall archetectural chain-link fence the span of the bridge, like the one near the Woodland Park Zoo on Highway 99.
That fence is dark green and matches the archetecture perfectly, its curved on top to elimate the possibilitiy of someone climbing to the top and jumping. Not to mention the fact that a fence would make our bridge much safer. Even I get nervous walking across that windy bridge, the railing is much too short for a 180 foot drop. Think about it for a second, jumping only takes a second, but nobody is going to want to get caught on or maimed on a chain link fence trying to jump. If they tried it would be much easier to stop them as it would take several minutes to climb a six-foot curved fence.
As far as maintaining the beauty, the right fence would look nice. Besides, whats more important? The pain dealt to the families of Whidbey Island for generations to come along with having the stigma attached to the landmark or getting use to a fence? I believe a fence would eliminate suicides from the bridge. How many people are going to die before something is done?