Watchdog: Route 110 left turn to get DOT study

Alan End stands atop the stump of a Alan End stands atop the stump of a tree that fell during superstorm Sandy, tearing up the sidewalk and damaging power lines in the area of 1161 Old Country Road in Plainview. (June 11, 2013) Photo by Barry Sloan Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

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Judy Cartwright Judy Cartwright

Judy Cartwright writes the Community Watchdog column ...

There is a left turn in East Farmingdale that is extremely dangerous and I would like to see it made illegal. I would sleep better at night if this left turn was prohibited. I have been unsuccessful in finding out who needs to be contacted in order to make this happen.

-- Barbara Kaplan, Roslyn Heights

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Kaplan's concern is prompted by tragedy: Her mother, Judy Stein of East Meadow, was killed in a traffic accident on Route 110/Broadhollow Road last summer. Stein had just left a store on the west side of the road and driven across the southbound lanes of Route 110 to the median. While she was waiting there to make a left turn, her car was hit by a southbound truck.

After the accident, which occurred the afternoon of Aug. 27, Kaplan said she and her husband drove to the site. And in her email to Newsday, she wrote: "I have driven by this area many times, and I would tend to make a right turn [onto southbound Route 110] and then a U-turn at the first light, as crossing so many lanes of traffic seemed ill-advised."

She learned from the police report that the truck driver "looked down to adjust his GPS and when he looked up, he said there was no time to stop."

"The case is closed and is deemed noncriminal," said a Suffolk County police spokesman.

Kaplan said she called transportation officials a few times, with no result, before getting swamped by the process of settling her mother's estate and dealing with the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.

Eileen Peters, a state Transportation Department spokeswoman, said all it takes to start a safety investigation is a letter.

That has now begun.

"Our NYS Department of Transportation Traffic Engineers will be initiating a study of this intersection to determine whether the elimination of left turns would improve safety and whether other traffic control measures are appropriate," Peters said.

Kaplan said her mother was 75 years old -- and was anything but elderly.

Judy Stein "walked two miles a day" and was working as a salesperson, Kaplan said. "To beat cancer twice, to be mowed down by a pickup truck," she added, her voice trailing off.

Kaplan initially feared that her mother may have been talking on her cellphone and, if so, that the distraction may have contributed to the accident. She was relieved to learn that the last call was 30 minutes before the 3:15 p.m. crash.

She found that out when she took the phone, which was found in the wreckage, to an AT&T store and asked staff if they could determine when the last call was made.

-- JOAN GRALLA

 

On Old Country Road in Plainview, just east of the intersection with Manetto Hill and Plainview roads, an old telephone pole is dangling next to the one that replaced it. The old pole is pulling down wiring. There's also a tree stump that needs to be removed and a broken sidewalk in need of repair. All this is the result of superstorm Sandy. It's not the only location I've seen like this, but it's the worst one. When will this damage be repaired?

-- Alan End, Plainview

We're pleased to report that half of this issue has been fixed. The other half will take a little longer.

Within 24 hours of our inquiry earlier this month, Verizon sent workers to transfer the company's lines to the new pole and remove the one that was dangling. Spokesman John Bonomo said Verizon was the old pole's only remaining "tenant," meaning the company's wires were the only ones that hadn't been moved to the new pole, and workers were dispatched in the rain to remedy the situation.

Bonomo said the situation wasn't fixed sooner because Verizon hadn't been aware of it.

"Our engineering staff, where this would have come in to, did not have a record of it," he said in an email.

But it looks as if the roadside stump and damaged sidewalk may be around for a while. As we reported earlier this month, Nassau County is working through a list of stump removals and sidewalk repairs made necessary by superstorm Sandy.

The county's public works spokesman, Michael Martino, verified that this particular location is on the county's list. He did not respond to an inquiry seeking an estimated date for repair.

End is pleased the dangling pole and its electrical box are out of harm's way. "I was quite amazed with how quickly they worked today," End said of Verizon.

Verizon-related issues can be reported at 800-837-4966.

-- MICHAEL R. EBERT

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