"Don't give up on barrier"
HIGHER FINES AND STRICT ENFORCEMENT OF THE 45 MPH SPEED LIMIT ON THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE are having a positive effect. Accidents on the beautiful but deadly span are down by 60 percent - from 40 to 16 - in the eight months since the state doubled fines and the CHP added an extra officer to patrol the bridge. The accident statistics look so good that bridge district directors are beginning to wonder if the movable barrier it has been studying will actually be needed. An analysis of the $6.2-million barrier will be-ready this month.
Despite the costs of a median, directors shouldn't dismiss too quickly a system that could raise bridge safety from good to excellent, possibly eliminating all head-on accidents. The thin rubber pylons that separate north and southbound lanes are clearly inadequate, offering no protection in the 34 head-on collisions and 26 fatalities that have occurred on the bridge since 1970.
One can only wonder how many more lives might have been saved if the district had insisted on a lower speed and better enforcement in 1985, when directors seriously considered a barrier but couldn't come up with a workable design. If lives are saved, the combination of a lower limit, beefed-up law enforcement and a movable median on the bridge will be well worth the expense. We'll know soon if that's feasible.
Marin Independent Journal
Tuesday, June 3, 1996
"Return Home Safe"