Stop in the name of love: Locks removed from Brooklyn Bridge due to safety concerns

Now, your love will cost a thing if you’re thinking of displaying it with a “love lock” on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Apparently, the power of love wasn’t enough to stop NYC DOT from clamping down on the unwanted hardware last week as hundreds of locks were removed from the 133-year-old thoroughfare on Friday, October 7.

Equipped with new signage threatening pedestrians with $100 fines, some even taking a playful approach – featuring images of crossed-out padlocks with the text “No Locks” displayed atop a photo of a bagel and lox with the words “Yes Lox”- the Brooklyn Bridge will be no place for locks, or any other unwanted attachments, according to DOT.

“A walk on the Brooklyn Bridge can be one of the most beautiful and romantic anywhere in the world,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.  “However, with the bridge now loaded with so-called ‘love locks,’ we face costly maintenance headaches and serious potential dangers for car traffic.  While we welcome and appreciate the enthusiasm of couples sharing the walk on this New York City landmark, we ask that they abide by a variation of a maxim heard in our national parks: ‘take nothing but selfies, leave nothing but footprints.’”

The trend, which involves couples writing their names on locks and fastening them to a bridge as a romantic gesture, started in Europe and began to make its way to the states about 10 years ago, according to the DOT. “At the Brooklyn Bridge, the practice began around 2009 with a few dozen; in 2015, DOT removed over 11,000 locks,” according to the agency.

And, it’s not just locks. “In addition to leaving locks, a growing number of visitors have in recent years also begun tying other random items to the bridge, including hair bands, shoe laces and headphones,” says DOT.

Now DOT conducts yearly sweeps on the Brooklyn Bridge, costing upwards of $116,000.

According to DOT, the locks pose a serious safety threat. Last month, a wire attached to an overhead street light on the bridge snapped under the weight of the locks that had been attached to it. The incident caused the left lane of Brooklyn-bound traffic on the bridge to close for two hours that day while emergency crews made repairs.

“The brilliant architect John Roebling designed the Brooklyn Bridge to be a safe structure that would endure for centuries, but these ‘love locks’ pose a danger to pedestrians and motorists by adding stress to the bridge’s structure,” said NYPD Transportation Bureau Chief Thomas Chan. “We encourage romantics to continue to express their love but avoid the heartache of a summons.”

“There are many healthy ways to spread love in Brooklyn — weighing the historic Brooklyn Bridge down with locks and endangering the span as well as those who drive on it is not one of them,” added Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “If we care about preserving this landmark for another 133 years, we will heed DOT’s call and lock hands or lips instead.”

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