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The Locks of Love Part II – No More Love Locks?

Last time, we looked at the history of the love locking trend and how it has spread across the world. Today, we’ll see how the popularity of this craze has led to a backlash in many famous cities, with one group going so far as to start a ‘No Love Locks’ petition in Paris.

As we mentioned last week, love locking has become incredibly popular in certain cities. The custom has permeated pop culture, and what was once the fringe practice of a handful of kooky romantics has been elevated to a modern tradition. Love locking is now as much a tourist activity for couples as it is a romantic gesture.

Consequently, love locks are no longer seen in groups of two or three but in their hundreds and thousands. Popular love locking locations such as the Pont des Arts in Paris have become saturated with the padlocks, and each panel of the bridge has come to resemble a cluttered hive of metal as each love lock piles on top of another, fighting for the limited space.

In the eyes of many, this is an affront to the architectural heritage of the city, and structural concerns have also been raised about the added weight of all that metal. According to an article in The Guardian, the Pont des Arts now carries an additional 93 metric tonnes thanks to the love locks.

Not only has this led to concerns over the continued stability of the bridge, some have expressed concerns about falling debris as a result of the extra weight. It’s not hard to see how chunks of metal or masonry falling onto the passenger barges below could pose a danger, and what’s more, the overcrowding of the popular love lock spots has meant that people are taking greater and greater risks to find a space to attach their padlock, climbing lampposts or dangling over bridges to get to the harder to reach spots.

Safety concerns aside, love lock infestations can cost a city’s taxpayers a lot of money in maintenance, as overloaded bridge panels fall off and have to be replaced and architects have to be regularly employed to check the degrading strength of the bridges.

Bearing all this in mind then, it’s hard not to be sympathetic to the residents of cities like Paris, who have to live with the degradation of their city’s architecture and bear the financial burden for the maintenance of the damaged bridges.

Enter the ‘No Love Locks’ campaigners Lisa Anselmo and Lisa Taylor Huff. In January 2014, the pair started an online petition to officially ban love locks in Paris, which has now surpassed 6000 signatures. Calling love locks “a plague on our city’s historic bridges and sites”, the campaigners are clear about what they view as the polluting nature of the trend.

For more information on the No Love Locks campaign, go to:

http://nolovelocks.com/en/

However enamoured one may be with the romantic idea of love locks, the sheer volume of the padlocks in cities like Paris is undeniably a problem. Despite this, it’s hard not to see the removal of love locks as sad and unromantic. One cannot help but feel that the thought of hundreds and thousands of love locks being unceremoniously cut apart and thrown into a bin is somehow depressing.

Perhaps though, there is a third option, one that alleviates the pressure that love locks are putting on public spaces in such a way that the romance of the initial gesture is preserved.

In the third and final part of our love locks series, we’ll be looking at ‘love picking’ and its practitioners in the world of locksports, and asking if maybe this could be the solution that everybody’s looking for.

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