DATYONA BEACH, Fla. - A resident of First Step Shelter in Daytona Beach was struck and killed early Monday morning.
Administrators at the shelter said the woman left for her first day at her new job when she hit by a white pickup truck just before 7 a.m. as she attempted to cross Route 92 to get to the bus stop. The 30-year-old woman was taken to Halifax Health Medical Center, where she was pronounced deceased
"It's just been devastating for staff, has been devastating for the residents," said Executive Director Victoria Fahlberg. "Everyone here at First Step is grieving her loss. She has only been here since January 5th but has already made some good friends. She was working hard and doing what she needed to do to make a new life for herself. We feel devastated."
First Step Shelter is located at 3889 W. International Speedway and opened a little over a year ago. Shelter residents say they have no safe or reasonable access to public transportation.
According to Fahlberg, she has been advocating for a safe bus stop for shelter residents but nothing has materialized.
"They don’t even have a sidewalk or a crosswalk. The speed limit here is 65 mph. Besides the danger in crossing the road, many of our residents use bicycles to get to work and we worry all the time that someone will get hurt. It’s past time to provide a safe way for residents to commute safely."
The Florida Department of Transportation has expressed concern and is open to making changes, but it would be a process likely to require a study and would need coordination with partners like the Volusia County.
Volusia County officials say, although they are heartbroken to hear about the death, options for bus service that wouldn't require riders to cross the busy highway are extremely limited. The County would be open to working with the City of Daytona Beach on a design for a closer, eastbound bus stop.
Fehlberg hopes changes come soon.
"I hope we never have to go through this again," she added.
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