What do littering around Rome and putting “love locks” on the Robert Redden Footbridge have in common? They both involve denigrating our beautiful city, creating an eye-sore and costing the taxpayers money. I am as romantic as anyone, I believe. I think that love should be celebrated. I take joy in seeing others in love, more so in long-lasting, truly meaningful relationships than just “puppy love,” I admit. I know some people think that it is okay, even endearing, to put locks on the Robert Redden Bridge, a highly-trafficked and necessary bridge that joins Bridgepoint Plaza and Heritage Park, just like some people think it is okay to throw cups, wrappers, bags and cigarette butts on city streets. Both are major problems for our otherwise fair city. They create expense and ugliness.
To those who well-meaningly believe that the love-locks are “sweet,” I do not think you mean any harm, but please consider these facts: putting locks (or anything) on a public bridge is vandalism and is against the law, putting locks on the bridge causes it to rust and deteriorate, locks and the paraphernalia some attach to them weighs down the bridge, throwing the keys in the river is an environmental hazard and, again, is littering, also against the law. The need to repair and repaint the bridge from all these “love locks” creates a huge expense for taxpayers, creates a heavy workload for city workers (it is an environmental hazard to paint the bridge without taking down the railing — you can’t safely paint over a river), people could cut their hands on the rusty railing and someone (likely a child) could fall in the river if the railing continues to deteriorate and break from the rusting “love locks” and those cutting the railing to get their locks off after they “fall” out of love.
If you disagree, please keep an open mind until you examine the poor state of the bridge railings now and Google “the problem with love locks.” You will see why so many cities have put a stop to it. We can have an interesting alternative. The city can set up a designated place for such public displays of affection. For now, please, please quit defacing our much-needed historic Robert Redden Footbridge. And please do not litter. Please pick up what you can. Do you love Rome? Do you love each other? Let’s show love in healthy and helpful ways. Let’s keep our city beautiful and not tear up public property. Let’s teach our children to do likewise.