Source: Hudson Reporter
Following a recent suicide, officials want to put up extra security and other prevention measures on the Bayonne Bridge.
First Ward City Councilman Neil Carroll proposed the idea at the January City Council meeting, asking a sign on either side of the bridge with the suicide prevention hotline number 1-800-273-8255 on them in large enough print so people can see it not only on the bridge but from the ground.
He also proposed that that Port Authority provide the city with a plan on installing safety fencing, netting, or some sort of preventative material on the right hand side of the bridge. There is already fencing on the side with the pedestrian and bike walkway, but nothing on the car only side of the bridge headed toward Staten Island.
Second Ward City Councilwoman Jacqueline Weimmer said it may also be good to include an emergency telephone on the walkway side of the bridge with the ability to call 9-1-1. La Pelusa said they already have an safety emergency button with a blue light on the bridge, but added that they could increase the number of those to increase safety.
The council then voted unanimously on the motion to have the Law Department draft a resolution authorizing a letter to Port Authority to add the side prevention signs and fencing as well as other proposed measures to the Bayonne Bridge. The resolution may be heard at the next meeting.
After the meeting, Carroll told BCN that this was an important step to prevent future tragedies off of the Bayonne Bridge. He said that more people have been walking across it since the project was completed and the pedestrian and cyclist path opening in 2019.
A Change.org online petition proposing a similar measure had been circulating on social media. It was started by Landon Paradine, son of 52-year-old Ed Paradine, who took his own life by jumping off the Bayonne Bridge.
Landon said the Bayonne Bridge roadway is about 215 feet from the water below and will almost always will be fatal if someone jumps from that height. He noted there is high fences on the walkway side of the bridge to prevent suicide, but no fence on the other side.
“When somebody is depressed, the mind is parasite-ed with negative thoughts constantly. The illness spreads like a wildfire inside of their brain,” Landon said. “Like I saw in my dad, it only took him 7 months to take his own life from this terrible, grueling battle.
“Many suicidal people think they are a burden to the people around them and think taking their own life will be the best for everyone – which is never the case.”