Abbey Road Studios Made a Second Beatles Crosswalk Because Tourists Have Been Causing Traffic Jams for 50 Years

50th Anniversary of Abbey Road, London, UK - 08 Aug 2019
Photo: James Veysey/Shutterstock

London is a treasure trove for Beatles fans. The city is almost a living monument to the historic band, with plaques, art, and memorabilia dedicated to the band around town. But there is no pilgrimage more meaningful to most Beatles fans than to step onto the crosswalk where the Fab Four were photographed for the cover of their “Abbey Road” album.

Fifty years after the release of the album, Abbey Road is still drawing tourists. And drivers in London are getting sick of it.

On the 50th anniversary of the album on Thursday, Abbey Road was prepared for thousands of people to visit the zebra crossing. And in order to appease both drivers and tourists hoping to recreate the photo, Abbey Road Studios created a backdrop in their parking lot where visitors had a better chance of snapping a memorable photo — without having to dodge oncoming traffic.

It’s notoriously hard to recreate the Beatles cover. For the original, police were on hand to stop traffic and photographer Iain Macmillan used a stepladder to get the angle.

Today, when tourists try to get their photo, they have to contend with not only traffic but dozens of other people waiting for their turn in the crosswalk. To see just how bad it gets, you can take a look at the live Abbey Road webcam.

Although the backdrop was a “one day only” opportunity according to the music studio, it might not be a bad idea to make it permanent.

Ten years ago, on the 40th anniversary of the album, a taxi driver told the BBC: “I come here all the time and it's always been the same - it really does annoy you. All they're doing is posing on the crossing. Someone's going to get mown down one of these days, there's no doubt about it."

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