TIJUANA.- Baja officials, at a tour lead by Governor Francisco "Kiko" Vega, announced that a new modern and larger pedestrian crossing building at the San Ysidro port of entry will be up and running in just three months and ready to accommodate the more than 25,000 pedestrians that make their way southbound into Mexico.
Joined also by both the tourism and infrastructure and urban development secretaries, members of the media were shown the amount of progress being done on the project, with only a ramp and some other details left to be carried out.
"It's a comprehensive project," commented Manuel Guevara, the state's Infrastructure and Urban Development Secretary who accompanied the governor, answering technical questions about the project. "It'll be two floors for installing offices for federal agencies -- [like] Indaabin [agency responsible for federal infrastructure], Sagarpa [ministry of agriculture, fishing, farming and forestry], Banjercitio [Financial services for the Mexican armed forces]-- and the SCT [Federal Communications and Transport Ministry] will have a CCTV system", adding that the entire project will then be joined to a future park and a public transit hub, which might include a new light-rail line that will run parallel (or on?) to the current rail line that enters Mexico from San Ysidro and goes through the city, similar to the San Diego Trolley system, although Guevara stated that it is still only a possibility, with other options being looked at.
For now, state planning officials will have to settle for a single bus stop and possible connection with the bus-rapid-transit lane being developed by the city government for next year. Guevera stressed that the point was "pedestrians [coming into Mexico] will not have to walk a mile to the nearest bus stop" into the city.
VIDEO: Watch the progress on the new pedestrian border crossing at San Ysidro
"Project approved!"... Or why do you think they brought me here?" joked the governor after the tour, provoking laughs among the group and media. He promised to quickly facilitate the rest of the funding needed for completion, around 10 million pesos (or 762,000 U.S. dollars) needed for the final ramp that will take pedestrians from the building and towards the public transit station and the main streets of the city.
Overall, around 46 million pesos (around 3,500,000 U.S. dollars) have been poured into the construction of the new building that will replace the inefficient almost labyrinth-like entryway currently in place.
This is actually the first of two pedestrian crossing facilities on the Mexican side of the San Ysidro Port of Entry, with another one being planned on the east side, near the El Chaparral crossing that already operates as the southbound vehicular entrance.
Daily, authorities estimate that southbound traffic amounts to about 25,000 crossing on foot through the San Ysidro border, while another 50,000 cars do the same.
Governor Vega and Secretary Guevara were accompanied also by the Mexican Consul General in San Diego, Remedios Gómez Arnau; the Baja California Tourism Secretary, Óscar Escobedo Carignan; the U.S. Consul General in Tijuana, Andrew Erickson.