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Mailbag: San Miguel bridge rail is dangerously low

I let this issue go for three months, thinking my concern might go away. It hasn’t.

Ever since I saw the new bridge overpass on San Miguel Drive, I’ve had a concern about it’s safety. And I don’t mean structurally, but in terms of the ease with which someone could step over the railing and jump from the bridge to the street.

Most people don’t think about something like this. But, as a psychologist, when I see a bridge that has a low railing like this, I think how easy it would be for a depressed teen, a homeless person high on drugs or a local resident who has fallen on bad luck to try to commit suicide.

You might think the bridge is not high enough for a jump to result in death. But all it takes is a person timing the jump to land in front of a passing car. Even as low as the bridge is, it won’t be a pretty sight.


I was concerned enough on the day of the Civic Center grand opening to talk to a civil engineer who was in the building. He didn’t really have an answer to why the guard rail isn’t higher except to say that the city was covered by insurance should a suicide be attempted.

I understand the aesthetic concern in choosing to keep the rail low. If you look from MacArthur Boulevard, you can see the green landscaping above the rail. But the consideration of aesthetics just isn’t a good enough reason, I submit, to keep the rail low. It is too inviting for anyone with a plan to hurt himself.

All that would be needed is the addition of the same kind of see-through plastic panel that is currently installed at the observation deck overlooking the park close to the bridge.

Do we need to wait until someone actually jumps before this plastic panel is added? I’m writing this in hopes that enough people in positions of authority will read it and seriously consider this issue now, before we have a tragedy.


I don’t want to have to say sometime down the line that I told you so.

Steven Hendlin

Newport Beach


Climate change talk shows ignorance

Our esteemed representative, Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa), recently made a statement that global warming is a “fraud” based on “junk science.”

He is, of course, objectively incorrect, as he often is. This is particularly striking considering the contribution to climate science coming from UC Irvine (with the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry awarded to F. Sherwood Rowland), an institution that is on the border of his district.

And yet Rohrabacher, who has repeatedly shown his lack of understanding of science, thinks that he knows better than nearly every scientist in the world.


Science is not driven by opinion; it’s driven by tests and facts. Rohrabacher should learn this and perhaps consult somebody competent before speaking further on scientific issues.

It’s time to kick him out of office and put in someone competent. His misguided representation has plagued this county for too long.

Jamie Dow

Newport Beach