Saturday, April 16, 2011

Businesses Along Liberty Avenue In Ozone Park Struggling To Survive by Stephanie Tsoflias- WPIX

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Businesses on Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park are dying for a lifeline.

A portion of the street went from two way to one way and now, shop owners say people have stopped coming to their shops.

"Liberty was the busy area, it was the busy side street now it's Rockaway Blvd.," said Kimberly Liverpool a store manager.

Liverpool has managed a pizza shop on Liberty Avenue for four years. She says since the traffic pattern changed, she has gone from having four employees to two.

"Honestly, how many stores on the block have to go, I don't want to be next," said Liverpool.

Four months ago, the Department of Transportation put concrete barriers up on Rockaway Blvd.

The DOT said it made the street on way back in November because of safety concerns. The intersection near Liberty Ave and Rockaway is notorious for accidents, the agency said. Last year, a young boy was killed crossing the street.

But it has been a disaster for businesses.

The bakery on the block now advertises breakfast sandwiches for $1.95 just to attract customers -- and even that is not enough.

"We only sold one muffin is down about 25 percent and we are not sure how much longer we will last," said Maria, the bakery manager.

The DOT said it will work with businesses but had no immediate plans to reopen both lanes to traffic.

Parking spots were put in to make it more conducive to shoppers but drivers say it just has caused more congestion.