Colorado Street Bridge

In September 2018, the City of Pasadena installed 10-foot high fencing along the Colorado Street Bridge, which remains in place today as a temporary measure of dissuasion for suicide attempts off the bridge. The City is seeking a permanent and responsibly-designed enhancement to the bridge railing to serve as an effective deterrent while preserving the national historic character and significance of the bridge. The vision of the City is to allow the community to experience and enjoy the Colorado Street Bridge and the Arroyo as a safe and beautiful environment now and in the future.

On April 14, 2023, the City Manager awarded a contract to Apexx Architecture for the conceptual design of enhanced vertical barriers for the Colorado Street Bridge. Apexx Architecture is a full service architectural firm specializing in the design of bridges nationwide. As part of the proposed design team, Apexx Architecture has included Chattel, Inc. and PacRim Engineering. Chattel, Inc. is made up of historic architects, historians, and planners with extensive experience in historic preservation efforts. Chattel, Inc. recently collaborated with City of Pasadena and Pasadena Heritage on the Picture Bridge rehabilitation project at the Langham Hotel.

A public hybrid meeting was held Thursday, October 27, 2023 in which city staff and the design team presented further developed concepts. A copy of the presentation and a recording of the meeting can be found under “Agendas & Reports” and “Meeting Recordings”

The City is interested in the community’s feedback following this meeting. Please fill out the survey provided below.

Based on the public input received, the design team will further develop the preliminary concepts.

  • Public Safety Committee (tentative) - Summer 2024

Contact Information

City of Pasadena
Public Works Department,
Engineering Division

Colorado Street Bridge Barrier Mock-Up Map

Are there studies which support the effectiveness of bridge barriers in other settings?

Barriers have been known to be an effective way to prevent future suicides. Various research studies discuss different kinds of measures to prevent suicides, such as call boxes, cameras, signage, all of which are helpful, but are not a complete deterrent. Barriers are much more effective at securing potential access points to prevent breaches and incidents.

What is the justification for the proposed barrier option heights?

Studies show 8 to 11 feet above the nearest toe hold as a minimum height consideration for an affective barrier solution. The presented options are shown at a height of 10 feet above the nearest toe hold, which is a conservative estimation for any proposed option’s maximum height. Currently, there is a study being conducted on the effectiveness of bridge perimeter barriers, which will referenced as to confirm barrier dimensions.

Can an arched profile at the top of the barrier be implemented for all the presented options?

Answer: Yes, the undulating arch profile can be implemented for all the proposed options.

Are there proposed options for the barrier treatments at the ends of the bridge to prevent access?

Currently, the design team is focused on the vertical barrier along the bridge and surrounding the alcoves. End treatments will be designed and presented once the vertical barrier options are narrowed down and refined.

The presentation shows concepts from the point of view on the bridge, but what about the view from the surrounding hills and streets?

Based on the community feedback received from the public survey, options will be refined and detailed renderings will be created to model the entirety of the bridge from multiple angles including views from the Arroyo and surrounding neighborhoods. These detailed renderings will be presented at future community events.

From an engineering standpoint, do the vertical metal pickets need to be secured through the balustrade to the bridge deck or below the deck?

At this time, each of the proposed options has been assessed from a preliminary engineering standpoint to determine only feasibility. It is unknown what the final engineering solution will be for any solution until the preferred options are chosen and further developed.

In Option 1, the canted webmesh option, it appears a "V" forms where the mesh attaches to the bridge. Could that become an area where a person who scales the balustrade becomes stuck? Could it be a potential collection point for garbage and other debris?

There will be no gap or separation between the mesh and the balustrade. The mesh will be anchored to the balustrade along the top rail to eliminate space for someone to potentially be stuck or for the collection of trash and debris.

Since the bridge curves, do pickets create a “stacking effect” which creates the illusion of a solid panel?

Due to the spacing requirements of less than 4 inches between each picket and presumed size of the pickets, there will be a stacking effect around the curvature of the bridge that makes the barrier look solid.

What's the anticipated time to complete installation of the chosen barrier from approval of a final design? What is the expected impact on usage of the bridge (walking, bicycling, driving) during construction?

Until a final design concept is chosen, the anticipated construction duration and impacts to usage of the bridge cannot be determined.

Will there be mock-ups of potential options?

Recommended options based on community feedback will be presented to the Public Safety Committee in early 2024. At that time, the Committee may direct City staff to install mock-ups for the public’s review.

With the Metal Pickets option, will the railing of the balustrade need to be re-constructed to support the weight of the barrier?

A preliminary structural analysis indicates that the existing balustrade can support each of the options presented.

Has any engineering been done for the options?

Preliminary, high-level engineering has been performed. Currently, no final structural details have been developed.

Do all options meet or comply with the Secretary of Interior Standards?

Yes, all options comply with the Secretary of Interior Standards.

What is the spacing of the Metal Picket option, is it the same as the current fence?

The proposed Metal Picket option has a clear distance of approximately 6 inches (8 inches center-to-center). The current fence also has a clear distance of 6 inches between pickets (6 3/8 inches center-to-center).

Is any option more climbable than the other?

There is no universal system to rate how climbable each option is, therefore, a definitive answer cannot be provided at this time.

Will there be surveillance cameras installed on the bridge?

The goal of the current project is to design and construct a vertical barrier. However, at a later date, City Council may direct staff to develop complimentary measures, such as the one being suggested.

Can the webmesh be cut?

Webmesh, like most materials, can be cut with appropriate tools. The design team is considering all options including gauge (thickness) and aperture (size of opening) to decrease the likelihood of the material being cut and allowing for the barrier to be breached.

What are the cost considerations between the options? Is there funding for the project?

At this time, cost is not a consideration in determining the appropriate solution for the vertical barrier.  The design phase is fully funded, but construction funding is yet to be identified.