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Photo by Ryan Kelley/QNS
Photo by Ryan Kelley/QNS
From left to right: Community Board 6 district manager Frank Gulluscio, C-Town Supermarket manager Rose Chimienti, State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. and Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato at a press conference outside the C-Town Supermarket on Cross Bay Boulevard on Feb. 8.

Businesses along Cross Bay Boulevard in Ozone Park are getting some relief from parking issues caused by the Select Bus Service (SBS) through the efforts of local politicians.

At a press conference in front of C-Town Supermarket on Cross Bay Boulevard on Feb. 8, state Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. announced that Saturday rush-hour parking restrictions along the boulevard have been eliminated. After hearing the frustrations of local business owners who were affected by the parking restrictions, Addabbo worked with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to make the changes.

“One thing that really drives me with helping constituents is trying to reaffirm their faith in government,” Addabbo said. “To make them know that when they speak out and work with us, and we work with the governmental agencies, things do happen. Today really is a perfect snapshot of how government should work.”

Until now, curbside SBS lanes were active during both the morning and afternoon rush hours, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., on Monday through Saturday.

One of the concerned business owners is Rose Chimienti, who manages the C-Town Supermarket that is owned by her husband, and she joined Addabbo at the press conference. She estimated that the parking restrictions on Saturdays caused a 10 to 15 percent decrease in business on the weekends, and said that the 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. parking restriction during the week hurts the business as well.

“People were telling me that they’re not able to stop and they wouldn’t come if they were running errands,” Chimienti said. “They would go elsewhere because they couldn’t park here.”

Also at the press conference were Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, Community Board 6 Chairperson Frank Gulluscio and Community Board 10 Chairperson Betty Braton. Pheffer Amato said she was pleased to see the city responding to concerns about the SBS lanes given the amount of push-back the plan has received.

“In a small community like this, our local stores are the heart and soul of our community,” Pheffer Amato said. “It’s important that they can drive up and do their errands on Saturday and not change their routines at the cost of moving forward.”

All of the representatives expressed their gratitude for the DOT’s willingness to respond to concerns about the controversial SBS route than spans 14.7 miles along Cross Bay and Woodhaven Boulevards and serves more than 30,000 riders each day. Earlier in the week, the DOT also made changes to a poorly placed camera in Middle Village that was causing dozens of residents to receive warnings for driving in the bus lane.

Addabbo also said that some of the SBS kiosks for ticket purchasing have been moved closer to buildings rather than in the middle of the sidewalk, but acknowledged that there is still more work to do. One of his next priorities will be to reevaluate the 24-hour restrictions that are in place along certain stretches of the route, which he said the DOT agreed to discuss in May, six months after the route was launched.

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