SUNRISE (CBSMiami) — Commercial Boulevard is a busy street and a challenge for veterans to cross to get to the VA clinic when they ride the bus.
Two years ago, Willie Span was killed when he got off at the bus stop across the street from the William Bill Kling VA Clinic in Sunrise. He was hit trying to cross Commercial.
Now that bus stop is gone, leaving vets to walk a quarter mile or more from stops further away.
“For me, it’s difficult because I can’t breathe,” said veteran Lisette Corsino. “I have to walk a long distance.”
“I got bad knees,” said Marine vet Mose Clayton. “In the rain, it’s terrible. In the heat, it’s terrible, too.”
“My husband died in the street on Commercial Blvd trying to get to the VA center,” said Doris Span, Willie’s widow.
She stood before Broward County commissioners, urging them to reopen that bus stop across the street and put in a cross walk with an “on-demand” light making it safe and convenient for vets.
“What I want to see is veterans get safely from one side to the other,” she said.
Broward County Mayor Marty Kiar, however, said her idea goes against federal and state guidelines, and could be dangerous.
But five members of the South Florida’s congressional delegation sent the mayor a letter saying it is, in fact, possible and the Federal highway commission can “consider various factors such as the aging veteran population served by the adjacent clinic.”
Commissioners had ideas of their own.
“Take the bus right into the facility,” said Broward Commissioner Lois Wexler. “Take it right into the facility.”
The only problem there — without improvements, there’s not enough room to bring a bus in.
“Build a pedestrian walkway that is wheelchair accessible,” said Mayor Kiar, who envisions something like the A1A walkway on the beach. “They have them in Ft. Lauderdale that go over the road.”
In the end, the commission agreed to move quickly to study the ideas and their costs.
On October 2nd at 6 a.m., Doris Span will hold a memorial for her husband across the street where he died two years ago.