The Golden
Gate Bridge
is a national icon. It’s also one of the most popular – if that’s the right
word – suicide spots in the world.

Putting a suicide barrier on the bridge has been debated for
years. Some methods were deemed unsightly on the iconic span. Others were too
costly. Some argue that it’s pointless because determined people will find a
way to end their lives. But the issue persisted as the macabre count topped
1,000 and then 1,200, and a barrier has seemed inevitable since the 2006
release of “The Bridge,” a documentary based on surreptitious recordings of a
year’s worth of jumps.

What the barrier will look like and how to pay for it are
questions that still need answers.

This week, the bridge district unveiled five possible
designs. Four involve taller railings, the fifth a net beneath the bridge. Cost
estimates range from $40 million to $50 million. An initial $25 million estimate for the net option was revised Tuesday by bridge officials, who said added costs include a truck that would be needed to scoop people out of the net.

You can see photo illustrations of all five options at
pressdemocrat.com.

Bridge officials plan to take public comments through August
before deciding how to proceed.

We’re planning to write later this week about the potential addition
of a suicide barrier on the bridge. And we would like to hear what readers
think about it.

Feel free to comment here, or send us a letter for
publication at letters@pressdemocrat.com.
We also plan to conduct one of our periodic e-mail surveys of regular readers
on the subject.

If you’d like to be included in our reader surveys, send
your e-mail address to jim.sweeney@pressdemocrat.com
or paul.gullixson@pressdemocrat.com.

— Jim Sweeney