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Atlanta is a filming mecca, but will the industry eat us alive?

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This week, 14th Street is standing in for New York City, but with the lights, camera, and action come headaches.

Traffic stopped in both directions on a packed city street.
Traffic jammed on Peachtree Street during the closure for filming Wednesday.
Michael Kahn, Curbed Atlanta

Earlier this year, Georgia overtook traditional filming locales such as California and New York to become the number one place to film movies in the world.

While the distinction is a point of pride—and major source of money for the city and state, at least that which isn’t handed over in tax breaks—the increase in filming on Atlanta’s busy streets is destined to take a toll on Atlantans.

Ask anyone who tried to traverse Midtown by car Wednesday.

A small segment of 14th Street, between Peachtree Street and Crescent Avenue, was transformed into a post-apocalyptic New York City. Burned-out cars, firetrucks, and other emergency vehicles crowded the street. On the surrounding blocks, film crews and support areas for the latest installment of Avengers overtook the sidewalks.

Though just a few hundred feet of pavement was impacted, traffic stayed in gridlock for much of the day, as drivers along the usually busy east-west corridor were rerouted to streets too small to handle the influx of traffic.

Traffic backed up on 14th Street as eastbound travelers are forced to turn right on Crescent Avenue.
Michael Kahn, Curbed Atlanta

Police presence was high, but in just a short span during rush hour, a number of near-misses were observed at major intersections as drivers tried to negotiate around the closures.

According to Midtown Alliance, the street closure will be in place today as well.

The closure may be one of the most impactful in recent memory, but filming across the city often requires traffic detours as Atlanta stands in for a number of cities in movies and TV shows. Sometimes, as with the filming of Baby Driver last year, the industry literally keeps Atlantans up at night.

Of course, screen time for Atlanta is a major boon, in more ways than financial ones. Obviously, it can be a burden as well. As Atlanta features more prominently in filming, will the impact continue to be worth it?

The closure at 14th Street and Crescent Avenue.
Michael Kahn, Curbed Atlanta
Burned-out cars in what was described by Midtown Alliance as the “aftermath of a violent battle.”
Michael Kahn, Curbed Atlanta
A map illustrating the street closure.
via Midtown Alliance