After 73 years in business, the owner of Ben's Best Kosher Deli in Rego Park has announced he'll close up shop at the end of the month.
Owner Jay Parker said the decision to close was not easy.
He cited the loyalty of his customers as one of the reasons he wanted to stick it out.
However, Parker said the bike lanes added in front of his business on Queens Boulevard has killed his business.
He said the changes eliminated about 200 parking spaces in the area.
"You can't park here and if you can't park here, you can't eat here...I might as well have a resturant on the shoulder of the Long Island Express way. You can't stop, you can't even stop to let passengers off," Parker said.
A DOT spokesperson said, "Since the implementation of the Queens Boulevard safety redesign in 2015, there have been no pedestrian or cyclist fatalities on what was once widely known as the “Boulevard of Death.” Pedestrian injuries decreased by 55%, and total crashes by 19%, in the 2015 and 2016 project limits following implementation. On the block where Ben’s Best is located (the south service road between 63rd Drive and 64th Road), prior to implementation of this section of the redesign in 2017, there were approximately 10 spaces against the median and approximately 22 spaces against the curb. The block is well served by transit: there is an entrance to the 63rd Dr M/R subway and a bus stop serving the Q60, QM11, and QM18 buses. Following implementation of the pedestrian path and protected bike lane in summer 2017, parking against the median was removed, some 10 spaces on this block. In addition, a truck loading zone was installed against the curb based on merchant surveys to service the 14 businesses on this block. The loading zone utilized about 6.5 spaces against the curb 8:30am-7pm Monday-Saturday. Because DOT conducts ongoing outreach to get feedback from community stakeholders, particularly business owners along corridors receiving safety enhancements, DOT officials met on site with Jay Parker this winter to discuss his concerns. Based on this meeting, we adjusted the loading zone hours to 8:30am-4pm Monday-Friday, adding parking in the evenings and on Saturdays. Additionally, we conducted a shopper’s survey for the 2018 phase of the project in nearby Forest Hills and found that 89% of 617 shoppers surveyed on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills arrive by foot or transit."