Fencing in a Problem?

30 03 2010

For anyone (like myself) who was away for break, returning to campus brought with it an unpleasant surprise; the installment of large “temporary” fences along several of the campus bridges over the gorge. The Triphammer Foot Bridge is closed until May 26th. Stewart Avenue has no fences yet, but Cornell and the city of Ithaca are in talks on how and when to install them.

The logic to support such a move isn’t hard to figure out. It’s a very visual gesture that makes it look like Cornell is attempting the address the recent series of gorge deaths. In other places, fence installment has significantly curtailed bridge jumping, such as the Prince Edward Viaduct in Toronto. But still, it’s really unfortunate that this is what things have become, due to the recent tragedies.

I don’t like it. But apart from installing nets or filling in the gorges, there’s not much else that can be done. This is going to look really bad during Cornell Days, and for Alumni Reunion if they’re still up in June.



One response

30 01 2011

Just came upon this post from last March. You may be interested to know that since you made this post, a study on the Prince Edward Viaduct and its suicide barrier was released in the British Medical Journal. It showed that while the barrier seemed to stop people from jumping from that bridge, there was no decrease in the overall jumping suicide rate in Toronto. It appears the suicidal people just migrated to other places. The study is the largest yet to look at the effectiveness of suicide barriers.

You can read more here: http://www.bmj.com/content/341/bmj.c2884.full

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