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Resident begs city to curb accidents

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"When you stand there and you watch them come, you hold your breath," she said.Two days before Christmas, Romano and her husband were cleaning up debris from an accident that had happened a week earlier when she was nearly hit by a black Acura that took the curve too fast, she said. The car spun out, hit some rocks between the grass and the sidewalk and came to rest against a tree.Romano said she saw three accidents in front of her house in the last two weeks of December. In the last one, late at night on Dec. 29, the driver missed a telephone pole by less than two feet and hurdled into Romano's fence, shaking her house."I really thought he was coming through my dining room window," she said.The curve is marked in both directions with yellow warning signs, but Romano said drivers ignore them. When they hit the turn, she said, drivers either drift over the yellow lines or nearly run off the road. Douglaston Parkway is one lane in each direction at the section of the curve.The Department of Transportation denied a request for a stop sign one block north, at the corner of Douglaston Parkway and Carolina Road, because they found it was "unwarranted," according to a DOT spokesman. The agency examines how much pedestrian and car traffic the intersection gets and how many accidents it has, among other factors.But Romano said many drivers do not report accidents at the location, so the city's data is flawed. Elliott Socci, president of the Douglaston Civic Association, said the stretch has been a concern for a long time. The problems with the curve are exacerbated because the road is deteriorating there and much of the curb is gone, he said."In the northbound lane, it's so pitted that if you do go too fast your tires are going to lose their grip on the road," he said. Romano has lived in her home for four years and said she has seen eight accidents in that time. But with three of them in the last half of December, she said something needs to be done immediately.She said she does not think even a stop sign would be sufficient, and she wants the city to install flashing yellow lights. She has been in touch with Community Board 11 and recently contacted Councilman Tony Avella's office. She said everyone has been helpful, but still nothing has been done."I'm a homeowner. I pay taxes. I live here. I don't want to be told [to] move," she said. "Can anybody help?"Reach reporter John Tozzi by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

Updated 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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