Who Needs Paris? ‘Love Locks’ Live On Along Fence Of Atwater Village Bridge

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Turns out Paris may not have a lock on love after all.

Couples and other incurable romantics in Atwater Village have taken to the Sunnynook foot bridge over the Los Angeles River to bare their hearts by hanging padlocks and combination locks in an apparent homage to the famed Pont des Arts bridge.

A Facebook page dedicated to the so-called “Atwater Village Love Lock Bridge” shows the first locks going up on the bridge’s fence in Jan. 2013.

Since then, more than 100 locks – mostly sporting couples’ names and dates – can be seen hanging from the chain link fence on the bridge located just east of the 5 Freeway near Glendale Boulevard.

That number is significantly lower than the estimated 45 tons of padlocks authorities began dismantling Monday on the sides of the Pont des Arts bridge.

Parisian officials say the locks, usually hung by couples to express eternal love, are causing long-term damage to Paris heritage sites. Last summer a chunk of fencing fell off under their weight, the Associated Press reported.

With the Sunnynook bridge, Atwater Village joins a number of cities to boast “love locks” locations, including the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, the Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne, Germany; and Vodootvodny Canal in Moscow.

The trend in Atwater Village was started by Billy Vaughn in 2013, when he and his partner first connected two love locks into place on the footbridge, following inspiration by similar sites seen on a trip to Europe.

Then, when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in California, Vaughn and his partner got married in the center of the bridge.

The Chamber of Commerce encourages people to visit the footbridge, saying that it adds to the atmosphere.

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