Photo by Nykeema Williams
Liberty Avenue
By Steve Mosco

Businesses on Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park are hailing the city Department of Transportation’s decision to reinstate two-way traffic on the busy thoroughfare.

“This makes it easier for people to come to my store,” said Madu Patni, owner of Kalish Pharmacy, at the corner of Liberty Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard. “This is so much better for business.”

The change comes in the wake of the DOT’s re-evaluation of one-way, eastbound traffic-flow alterations introduced in 2010 as a way to make the area safer. The DOT said the project’s goal was to make several area roads less dangerous and since implementation crashes at Cross Bay Boulevard, 94th Street and Liberty Avenue have decreased by 54 percent.

But a re-examination of a stretch between Liberty Avenue and 93rd Street revealed that two-way traffic was deemed safe — and good for business.

“Our streets are more than just travel lanes, they also drive our local economy,” DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said. “We continue to work with local communities in Ozone Park to engineer streets that are better for business and improve the safety and mobility for everyone using them.”

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) applauded the DOT, saying “retailers on the busy commercial strip have suffered under these traffic changes for two years.”

The DOT monitored the area since making adjustments, working with Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and Community Board 10 to develop the plan — an effort to restore two-way vehicle access to local businesses and parking.

“Allowing two-way traffic along Liberty Avenue will boost small businesses there and offer drivers a more convenient commute in and around Ozone Park,” Ulrich said. “I want to thank DOT for listening to the concerns of my constituents. It is just another example of what can be accomplished when elected officials, residents and the Department of Transportation work together to improve our streets.”

In support of previously installed safety measures, the DOT will restrict left turns from eastbound Rockaway Boulevard onto northbound Woodhaven Boulevard in order to reduce the number of incidents, as well as improve traffic flow.

Betty Braton, chairwoman of CB 10, said she was pleased the DOT responded to community concerns.

“Following the implementation of a number of much-needed measures designed to increase traffic and pedestrian safety at the complex Liberty Avenue/Rockaway Boulevard/Woodhaven/Cross Bay Boulevard set of intersections, area residents and local merchants in that vicinity requested the DOT evaluate the results of the changes,” said Braton. “We asked that they reinstate two-way traffic on Liberty Avenue between 93rd Street and Cross Bay Boulevard, and they responded.”

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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