On April 22, 2005, the District Board of Directors adopted 11 different Project criteria that will assist in guiding the preliminary engineering and environmental studies. The Project Criteria state that a potential physical suicide deterrent system for the Bridge must:
- Impede the ability of an individual to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Not cause safety or nuisance hazards to sidewalk users including pedestrians, bicyclists, District staff, and District contractors or security partners. The Bridge sidewalks are used by thousands of bicyclists and pedestrians as well as by District staff, contractors and security personnel to perform maintenance and security operations. Any modification to the Bridge from installation of a physical suicide deterrent system needs to account for this intensive use and not introduce new hazards.
- Be able to be maintained as a routine part of the District's on-going Bridge maintenance program and without undue risk of any injury to District employees. Materials used for a suicide deterrent system should require minimal maintenance, be cost-effective and be compatible with existing Bridge materials and equipment, and not expose workers to undue risk of injuries.
- Not diminish ability to provide adequate security of the Golden Gate Bridge. Bridge security is a collaborative effort between Bridge Patrol, California Highway Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Park Police and Golden Gate National Recreation Area Rangers. The addition of a physical suicide deterrent system cannot obstruct or impede patrols or security response activity performed by these entities.
- Continue to allow access to the underside of the Bridge for emergency response and maintenance activities. The Bridge’s maintenance and emergency response program requires that workers access areas under the Bridge structure. To access the underside of the Bridge structure, workers typically climb over the existing outside railing and work from the existing moveable maintenance travelers (work platforms) attached to the roadway truss. Access to all areas of the Bridge for maintenance activities and emergency response activities must be easy, cost effective, and safe for workers and materials. Any proposed physical deterrent system must accommodate easy and safe maintenance and emergency response access.
- Not have a negative impact on the wind stability of the Golden Gate Bridge. As a 4,200 foot long main span suspension structure, the Bridge is very sensitive to wind velocity and direction. Very small changes in the shape of the Bridge cross sections (including the spacing and design of rail and fence elements) can have a significant impact on the Bridge’s aerodynamic stability during high winds. Any proposed physical suicide deterrent system must not adversely affect the aerodynamic stability of the Bridge at winds up to 100 miles per hour.
- Satisfy requirements of state and federal historic preservation laws. The Bridge is considered an historical resource under environmental law because of two key determinations: (1) The Bridge was determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historical Places in 1980 and (2) It was designated as California State Historic Landmark No. 974 in 1990. The Bridge has been the subject of numerous other recognitions and distinctions over the years. Any proposed physical suicide deterrent system will need to satisfy applicable state and federal requirements regarding projects that impact historic resources.
- Have minimal visual and aesthetic impacts on the Golden Gate Bridge. The Bridge is widely considered one of the most beautiful examples of bridge engineering, both as a structural design challenge and for its aesthetic appeal. It is distinctive because of its striking design reflected by its unique and distinguishing architectural qualities and characteristics. The detailed Art Deco styling, International Orange color, extraordinary illumination, and the arch over Historic Fort Point all set the Bridge apart from all other suspension spans of the era as an architectural masterpiece. The setting and the views contribute to the popularity of the sidewalks and to people’s affection toward the structure. Any proposed physical deterrent system must not result in significant visual or aesthetic impacts nor significantly affect views from the Bridge.
- Be cost effective to construct and maintain. The construction cost of a potential physical suicide deterrent system, the cost to maintain such a deterrent, and the impact of a deterrent system on the efficiency and cost of Bridge maintenance activities as well as future construction projects must be evaluated.
- Not in and of itself create undue risk of injury to anyone who comes in contact with the suicide deterrent system. A physical suicide deterrent system should not create undo risk of injury to the public or to District employees (e.g. ironworkers, painters, emergency responders, etc) accomplishing their duties.
- Must not prevent construction of a moveable median barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge. The addition of a physical suicide deterrent system, from the standpoint of the wind stability of the Bridge, should not preclude the later addition of a moveable median barrier, if the District decides to implement such a proposed project.