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High Level Bridge report

High Level Bridge report

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Published by caleyramsay
High Level Bridge report
High Level Bridge report

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Published by: caleyramsay on Jan 20, 2014
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08/26/2014

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ROUTING – Community Services Committee | DELEGATION - H. McRae/J. Kain January 20, 2014 – Community Services CR_571 Page 1 of 4
Options to Further Secure the High Level Bridge
Recommendation:
That the January 20, 2014, Community Services report CR_571, be received for information.
 
Report Summary This report provides a summary of actions to improve security and safety on the High Level Bridge. Previous Council/Committee Action
 At the August 20, 2013, Community Services Committee meeting, the following motion was passed: That Administration consider all available options to further secure the High Level bridge including erection of a physical barrier, proactive prevention strategies and installation of a telephone with a direct line to the Distress Line and provide a comprehensive report to the Community Services Committee outlining the costs and efficacy of various options and strategies prior to budget.
Report
 
Since the August 20, 2013, Community Services Committee meeting, a Crime Prevention through Environmental Design audit was completed to assess potential security and safety measures on the High Level Bridge.
 
 Administration also conducted further research on the erection of a physical barrier, proactive prevention strategies and installation of a telephone with a direct line to The Support Network.
 
 Administration has also consulted with representatives from The Support Network, the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research, and EPCOR (Light the Bridge initiative). Installation of a telephone with a direct line to the Distress Line
 
 According to the Crime Prevention through Environmental Design audit, the installation of distress phones at the Bridge's four points of entry should be given priority above all other recommendations.
 
The Support Network plays an essential role in connecting people with services, and would provide an appropriate intervention for those who are contemplating suicide, but are not in crisis.
 
Conversely, a distress line connection to 911 becomes invaluable both to those who are in crisis and bystanders attempting to appropriately navigate a crisis situation.
 
6. 4
 
Options to Further Secure the High Level Bridge
Page 2 of 4
 
The opportunity exists to include both a connection to The Support Network as well as 911.
 
 A panel box ‘push button’ style phone, complemented by appropriate signage, could be installed at all four access points.
 
The phones could be positioned to blend in with the existing structure, but still be visible enough to distressed persons and bystanders.
 
Telephone lines connected to a suicide prevention hotline in New York showed that over a two-year period, 30 out of 39 persons who were contemplating suicide used the telephone to call for help.
 
The cost of the hardware and installation would be approximately $20,000. Erection of a physical barrier
 
The Crime Prevention through Environmental Design audit cites three alternatives related to physical barriers: 1. The first option involves replacing the existing chain link fence at vulnerable points along the Bridge, with a material that is less scalable and blends with the existing fence. This option maintains the status quo in terms of height, but the use of less scalable material will create greater pause, and have limited impact on river valley sightlines. The estimated cost for this fencing is approximately $600,000. 2. Based on a design similar to that of the Golden Gate Bridge, the second option cited in the audit recommends replacing the existing chain link fence with a design that gradually extends upward, peaking at vulnerable points across the entire Bridge. Similar to the previous option, this would create greater pause, however, the additional height would impact sightlines and could contribute a feeling of confined space for pedestrians. The estimated cost of this option is $720,000. 3. The final and most rigorous option presented, consists of replacing the existing fence with an anti-scalable and lower-profile design. The benefit of this option is that it would provide the function of an enclosed space while neither impeding pedestrian sightline or aesthetic sensibility. The estimate for this option is approximately $2,900,000.
 
 All options would need to conform to Class ‘A’ Historical Regulations. As identified above, estimates for design, materials and application range from $600,000 to $3 million in order to cover the over 6000 feet that would require securing.
 
Replacement and improvements to fencing could be postponed until the fencing is due for renewal (10-15 years).
 
Research results on the efficacy of a physical barrier are mixed. An English study found that barriers on one bridge reduced overall suicide rates while a Toronto study found suicide by bridge did not change with the introduction of improved barriers.  An additional study of the Westgate Bridge in Melbourne, Australia, credits an 85% reduction in suicides to the introduction of new barriers.
 
Options to Further Secure the High Level Bridge
Page 3 of 4
Proactive prevention strategies 1. Lighting
 
 According to the Crime Prevention through Environmental Design Report, the addition of functional and decorative lighting could further secure the High Level Bridge. The benefits of illuminated space extend to those in distress, bystanders and pedestrian traffic in general.
 
In Japan, the use of blue light at train stops showed a decrease in suicides. The 'Bridge of Life' partnership with Samsung in South Korea attributes a 77% reduction in suicides to the illumination of and interactivity of space along the Mapo Bridge.
 
The estimated cost to light the pedestrian walkways is $120,000. 2. Signage
 
Signage that provides information on the purpose and function of the distress phones could be installed at key access points.
 
There is some research indicating that signs displaying a telephone helpline may decrease suicides in suicide hot spots.
 
Signage can be developed internally by Transportation Services. The cost to produce these signs would be $400. 3. Public Education
 
 An area-specific, public awareness approach would be developed in consultation with suicide prevention organizations.
 
The goal would be to raise awareness of the purpose and function of the distress phones, other efforts to secure the High Level Bridge, and appropriate bystander response.
Corporate Outcomes
Improving Edmonton's Livability - public education and physical barriers to prevent suicide, enhance safety and social connectedness for citizens.
Budget/Financial Implications
 
Should City Council decide to pursue one of the options related to physical barriers, Administration could be directed to include a Capital Profile in the 2014 Capital Budget Adjustment or the 2015-2018 Capital Budget.
 
The installation of phone lines, directly connected to emergency and support services, would be approximately $20,000. These costs and the additional costs for signage could be absorbed within Community Services.
 
The estimated cost to light the pedestrian walkways is approximately $120,000.

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