Last week the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the agency that oversees transportation financing in the San Francisco Bay area, approved $5 million in federal money for the engineering and design of a steel mesh net that will hang 20 feet below the pedestrian walkway on the Golden Gate Bridge.
Since the Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937 approximately 1,300 people have ended their lives by jumping more than 200 feet to the water below. Filmgoers saw a handful of those suicidal leaps firsthand in a documentary titled The Bridge, which captured the final fall of the almost two-dozen people who jumped to their deaths in 2004 (via cameras fixed on the span). The eerie images of those jumps galvanized suicide barrier advocates and helped spur a comprehensive study of suicide deterrent options in 2005.
Officials estimate the net system will cost $45 million to construct and install.