Miami residents driven mad by street closure
MIAMI — Hollywood filmmakers shooting a Will Smith/Martin Lawrence sequel are the bad boys of South Florida this week as they tie up the main road between downtown Miami and Miami Beach for a movie scene that has motorists in a road rage.Drivers found their usual 15-minute commute between the city and the island stretched to more than an hour, due to the closure of MacArthur Causeway, which offered the makers of “Bad Boys 2″ a backdrop of luxury cruise ships and some of Miami’s flashiest homes along the main ship channel and bay islands. Government officials, who approved the four-day closure of a road that carries more than 90,000 cars a day, promised the shoot would contribute $20 million to the local economy. But instead of viewing all that green, motorists saw red as traffic ground to a halt for miles around the closed road, which is the gateway to the Miami Beach model and tourist mecca South Beach. The closure left drivers fuming in overheating cars in 90-degree weather. “Apparently those charged with governing and managing our city are so blinded by dollar signs and Hollywood lights that they cannot see how unconscionable it is to close the MacArthur Causeway for four days,” resident Robin Statfeld wrote in a letter to the Miami Herald. The newspaper said Columbia Pictures is spending about $500,000 to cover the costs of the closure through Thursday, including the hiring of police officers to redirect traffic. The moviemakers also are paying the toll for one of the alternative routes to Miami Beach.