The Department of Transportation will allow motorists to park in the curbside Select Bus Service lanes on Cross Bay Boulevard from Liberty Avenue to the Belt Parkway at all hours on Saturdays, area elected officials announced Thursday.
"Today is a perfect snapshot of how government should work," state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) said in front of C-Town Supermarket located at 107-66 Cross Bay Blvd. in Ozone Park. "Business owners, residents and others complain to their elected officials about a Select Bus Service that started in November and wanting change and change occurs. And we're thankful the DOT listened to our concerns and did the change."
Parking in the lanes was previously not allowed from 7 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday, with buses and cars making right turns being the only vehicles allowed in the space.
The DOT on Wednesday changed the signs to let motorists know parking is now permitted all day Saturday, following pushback from business owners along the strip who said business was negatively impacted.
Rose, the manager of C-Town, said her store lost 10 to 15 percent of its Saturday customers since the restriction was put in place in November — when SBS launched on Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards.
"People were telling me they weren't able to stop and they couldn't come," Rose said.
She's now relieved the five to seven spots in front of the market will be accessible to her customers during the weekend.
"That will really help the community and my business as well," she said.
Area elected officials thanked the DOT for listening to their concerns.
"Our local businesses are the heart and soul of South Queens," Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Park) said. "It is great to see the Department of Transportation listen and work with our community to ensure residents can have the ability to access their local business and facilities."
But, they added, there is more work to be done on the issue.
Rose said her store still needs additional parking spots — saying the 4 to 7 p.m. restriction on weekdays continues to hurt her business.
"When they do find a spot they tell me how happy they are, but it's very rare," she said. "These five spots, they may seem like just five but it's a lot."
And Addabbo said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg has promised to revisit the issue of the bus lanes along Woodhaven Boulevard being in effect 24/7 in the spring.
"We're going to look at it six months after SBS has started," he said, "and see if we can effectuate some change there."
Community leaders said they're confident the DOT will hear them out.
"The agency has proven itself that it will listen," Community Board 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton said.