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Fiske wants fence on garage roof

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At the request of Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to revisit their decision from two-and-a-half years ago not to add a fence to the top deck of the Sherman Plaza garage.

Fiske says residents of the neighboring condo tower have continued to complain that young people sometimes sit on the four-foot high parapet wall surrounding the top deck of the garage and occasionally throw objects off the garage roof.

The proposal aldermen rejected in July 2014 would have installed a six-foot tall chain-link fence on the garage floor just inside the parapet wall, ostensibly making it more difficult for people to sit on the ledge.

At least two people have committed suicide by jumping from the Sherman Plaza garage — one in 2015 and another in 2013. But aldermen concluded that a fence wouldn’t deter somewhat who was determined to kill themselves.

After the 2013 incident there was also discussion of constructing a more elaborate suicide net system at the garage, as has been done in some other locations.

A rendering of a suicide fence proposed for a bridge in Ithaca, N.Y. At 8-feet-4-inches tall, it would be substantially taller than the six-foot fence being considered in Evanston and would curve inward to make it more difficult to climb.

The cost of the fence rejected in 2014 was estimated at about $25,000.

People have also tried to commit suicide by jumping from the city’s Maple Avenue garage — a woman died there in 2013 and a police officer saved a man from committing suicide there in 2015. But the current proposal does not include fencing the roof of that garage.

The staff memo about the proposed fence also does not address whether a fence might make it more difficult to rescue someone who had gained access to the ledge and was contemplating a jump.

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