Every year, tourists and locals alike flock to Brooklyn Bridge where a recent trend of attaching padlocks, or "love locks" to the bridge’s pedestrian promenade has been on the rise, echoing the romantic gesture made popular by tourists at Paris’s Pont des Arts bridge. But the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) has declared that enough is enough. The agency has announced plans to hang signs prohibiting love locks and other items, and will impose fines of $100 for those unwilling to abide by the new rule.
According to the DOT, the padlocks create new maintenance costs for the agency and are dangerous for vehicular traffic below the pedestrian promenade. "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," stated NYPD’s Transportation Bureau Chief Thomas M. Chan. Back in September, one of the bridge’s street light wires snapped due to the pressure of the many locks that had been attached to it, forcing the Brooklyn-bound left lane to close for two hours.
While highly informative, the new signs are a little bit playful as well, suggesting that visitors enjoy a bagel with lox and refrain from padlocking the bridge. In addition to the padlocks, the DOT removes shoelaces, hair ribbons, headphones, and other random items from the bridge on a regular basis. These items and all other have also been prohibited.
The city doesn’t want people to stop showing displays of affection on the bridge; it just doesn’t need to be left behind. "If we care about preserving this landmark for another 133 years, we will heed DOT’s call and lock hands or lips instead," stated Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. "We encourage romantics to continue to express their love but avoid the heartache of a summons," Chan advises.
In addition to the new signage, the city is working with the editors of various travel guidebooks, asking them to warn travelers against leaving anything behind on the Brooklyn Bridge.