Q Regarding building a suicide barrier at the Golden Gate Bridge, I am afraid desperate souls will turn elsewhere. I fear that we will see an increase in suicides along train routes and BART and no overall decrease in suicide rates.
Money should be increased to allow a program that can provide workers to patrol the bridge and possibly prevent deaths. I hope the barrier does not simply disperse the 40 or so Golden Gate deaths per year to other public areas.
A Me too. Bridge officials told KGO-TV that studies show 9 of 10 people who were stopped at the bridge before they jumped did not commit suicide elsewhere and went on to live long lives. While there have been 1,600 confirmed suicides since the Golden Gate opened in 1937, officials suspect there have been many more. Still, the actual number of confirmed suicides is staggering and makes the bridge among the top suicide sites on Earth, along with the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge in China.
Q The decision to place a suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge is welcome news for the poor souls who ponder jumping to their deaths. Now the next question, which I think is just as important of a safety issue. When will a median barrier be in place to prevent head-on collisions?
A Late this year or early next year. It will require closing the span for at least 52 hours, the first closure of the bridge's existence.
Q I am writing about a situation that is becoming increasingly annoying and hazardous. My morning commute takes me northbound on Almaden Expressway, then onto Highway 87. There are two left-turn lanes from Almaden onto 87. The onramp also has an additional commuter lane on the far left, for a total of three lanes. Due to this, carpoolers (including me) take the far left turn lane, which moves considerably faster than the next lane.
Since everyone knows the left lane is the fastest, most people queue up before the left-turn lane, often leaving open space in the other left-turn lane. What then happens is that people will drive past the queue, get in the right left-turn lane, then attempt to push their way into the far left lane, cutting ahead of maybe 40 to 50 cars.
At this point I get to explain to my daughter as I drive her to school that these people think they are special and don't need to wait like everyone else and that they can be a hazard, which is why we queue up in an organized fashion. Where it gets hazardous is when these people cutting in see a little opening and try to abruptly change lanes into a rapidly closing space. I have been nearly hit on a couple of occasions.
Is it possible to get some sort of barrier between the lanes, or even a barrier to keep cars from entering the left-turn lanes at all at the last moment?
A The danger in this move is the rapid deceleration in the Almaden through lane, which often generates outraged honks from through traffic forced to slow as people cut in. County and Caltrans traffic officials may recommend a striping revision that would convert the left lane on Almaden into a carpool lane. This may cause a backup on the expressway, but it could help drivers like you.