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Los Gatos Museum Offers Space For ‘Love Locks’ Amid City Crackdown

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A "love lock" placed on a bridge above Highway 17 in Los Gatos. (CBS)

A “love lock” placed on a bridge above Highway 17 in Los Gatos. (CBS)

LOS GATOS (CBS SF) — Couples in danger of losing their “love locks” on a bridge in Los Gatos have been invited to move them to a fence at a nearby art museum for display on Valentine’s Day, a city manager said Wednesday.

The solution for the endangered locks, affixed to a fence on the Main Street Bridge by the romantically-involved as symbols of devotion, came the day before the deadline the city, citing safety concerns, set for people to remove them.

“Love locks” are a tradition centered mainly in Europe, where couples engrave or write an inscription on a lock, clasp it onto a fence and throw away the key to symbolize their commitment.

In Los Gatos over the past few years, a small cluster of the locks formed on a chain link fence on the north side of the bridge.

The locks reached a high of 24 although only 18 locks remained as of Wednesday amid calls for their removal, said Todd Capurso, director of the city’s Parks and Public Works Department.

The city and the state agency Caltrans, which owns the bridge, determined the locks posed the risk of falling on motorists driving on state Highway 17 beneath the bridge, Capurso said.

They also violate state regulations that prohibit things like banners attached to state property, Capurso said.

But now the non-profit Museums of Los Gatos has offered to provide a “love lock” fence at its Art Museum on Tait Avenue for display on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day.

“The Museums of Los Gatos has stepped in and offered an alternative,” Capurso said. “We’re still asking people to remove the locks.”

The city recently put up signs requesting those who clicked the locks onto the bridge’s fence to take them down by Thursday and that any locks remaining would be snapped off on Friday.

The locks then would be held at the city’s Town Corporation Yard on Miles Avenue until Feb. 15, when unclaimed ones would be tossed out.

City officials, however, issued a statement today saying, “The Town prefers that individuals personally remove their own locks by (Thursday) and participate in the Museums’ ‘Love Locks’ installation.”

Capurso said he expects some couples to just leave their locks behind.

“I don’t think that they’re all going to get claimed,” he said. “Some locks are cheap combination locks that someone has written on with a felt pen.”

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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