Standing at 212 feet, the Valley View Bridge has provided an unfortunate platform for an average of two suicides per year since its completion in 1977. Unfortunately, the preventative efforts on the Valley View Bridge have been lacking.
In 2009, the city of Cleveland was to replace the 42-inch parapets, along with re-installing 6-foot fencing with smaller mesh. Due to safety constraints and traffic concerns, the city did not initiate the expected project until 2011. The mesh fencing is still much simpler to scale than an iron barrier such as the one on the All-America Bridge in Akron.
A number of myths exist surrounding suicide barriers on bridges. One is that those prevented from attempting suicide on one bridge will merely find another method for suicide. Studies suggest otherwise. Researchers followed up with 515 individuals thwarted from attempting suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge, and only 6 percent later committed suicide.
Another myth is that bridge barriers at one location will lead to increased suicides at nearby bridges. Studies indicate that suicides typically decrease in the surrounding area.
This has proven true in Akron. Since the inception of the barrier on the Y-Bridge, suicide-attempt statistics have remained unchanged for the high-level bridge into Cuyahoga Falls or the nearby state Route 8 bridge. There was only one suicide on the Y-Bridge since the barrier’s creation.
One explanation for the effectiveness of suicide bridge barriers might be the impulsivity associated with jumping. By delaying the suicidal act, an individual has more time to reconsider and there are increased chances for intervention.
Opponents of suicide bridge barriers argue that construction is expensive and that these fences can hinder the aesthetics of the bridge.
When Akron began construction on the Y-Bridge barrier, however, the cost was a fraction of the total bridge refurbishment — $1.5 million out of the $6.4 million, paid by federal stimulus funds.
The price tag to refurbish the Valley View Bridge, without a suicide barrier, was $4.4 million.
In terms of the aesthetics argument, the iron fence along the Y-Bridge still allows passersby to see the city skyline, while preventing jumping. The city of Cleveland ought to reconsider issues of cost and aesthetics to bring safety to the Valley View Bridge.
Medina board needs to go
When a board and shareholders review why a company is struggling, and they find the CEO/CFO is still spending and receiving perks and privileges not in line with the economic state of the company, the guy at the top is shown the door.
So why is the Medina City Schools Board of Education being so stubborn? With regard to the superintendent, the board was caught leaving the lid off the candy jar (“Medina school board leader resigns,” March 28).
Why does the board need a 5.9-mill levy? If it would squander thousands of dollars here and there, where else could it be inattentive to the details of the district’s checkbook?
I am sure the district needs more operating funds, but I am not sure it needs 5.9 mills.
If the board is so lax in the spending of over $2 million from its “cash carryover,” where else is it loose with the spending of taxpayer money?
The district built two buildings it couldn’t afford to operate. I’m concerned what pockets were padded when the board was too overwhelmed by its duties.
I cannot support a huge tax burden to this community (whatever the cost to students) without full disclosure over every dime. The more the board has, the more it spends. It needs to stop.
I do not believe the board is capable of governing. I am respectfully urging all board members to resign. Save this school system, the students and the taxpayers from having to suffer any more of your inadequacies.
Medina City Schools will once again be back on top. Unfortunately, the current board should not be part of that process.
Pattern of resistance to new ideas
The debate regarding gay marriage has been amusing to watch. When pressed, those opposed to this concept invariably revert to biblical quotations and “natural order” arguments. The April 4 letter “Devolution of marriage” is a perfect example of both types of defense.
Sadly, similar arguments were made throughout recent history as “radical” ideas became mainstream, among them interracial marriage, women’s suffrage and the abolition of slavery. Intriguingly, one argument used in 1967 in Loving v. Virginia (which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage) was that such a marriage would be detrimental to the children. I think that President Obama would disagree.
The writer states, “I refuse to believe …,” which is exactly his problem. Many people still refuse to believe that we landed on the moon six times. The Flat Earth society still has about 400 publicly listed members and a website. Others insist that men rode dinosaurs and the Earth is only 6,000 years old.
The list of silly ideas that are promulgated by sillier individuals is nearly endless. This cognitive disorientation and the corresponding “retreat into the past” mentality is exactly the response to rapid technological and sociological change that Alvin Toffler predicted in 1970 in his seminal work Future Shock.
The good news is that despite the fierce and very vocal opposition to new ideas, society is becoming more tolerant and understanding. That can only help all of us down the road.
Steve G. Belovich
In regards to same-sex couples raising children, a recent letter to the editor, “Devolution of marriage” (April 4) suggested we should all learn a lesson from the “natural order God has ordained.”
As a fervent watcher of the Discovery and National Geographic channels, I have noticed that, throughout the “natural order,” females frequently chase the males away after procreation.