SAN YSIDRO.- For years San Ysidro has been in need of a better infrastructure to accommodate its public transportation system, mainly in the area near the pedestrian crossing.
Around 25,000 people cross daily through the border and, for most, the first concern is looking for a way of getting to their destination be it by bus, trolley, taxicab or their own car.
The problem reaches a new peak after the recent detour of the San Ysidro southbound pedestrian crossing, a few steps away from the trolley station; something that resulted in a higher influx of people going through the area.
For that reason, local authorities have supported the creation of a transport center in San Ysidro that allows arranging from buses to PediCabs.
Thanks to the San Diego Council's approval, this initiative could be a reality in the next few years.
Local officials endorsed $300,000 last week for market studies and financing to look for the better option.
Jason Wells, director of the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce explained that this project has been pursued for three years and the idea is for it to be sustained mainly by the private sector.
"We saw the perfect moment to make a move to look for funds between all to build a new transport center that distributes means of transportation, offers a wider commercial opportunity and a better experience for travelers," he said.
The leader also mentioned that this center is a necessity for San Ysidro, both to improve public transport and to solve the problem of the "raiteros," an illegal way of transporting present in the area.
On his part, David Alvarez, councilmember for the District 8 of San Diego said that, if possible, the facilities could take up another block to the north.
The corresponding studies will be performed by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).
"We are planning new facilities, bigger ones, with more opportunities for commerce, that are more modern because with the new crossing port we now have a crossing point next to the trolley, so people won't have to cross the bridge and as a result we will see more people in the area," said Alvarez.
The councilmember also explained that the research will determine what would happen with the small businesses currently in the area near the buildings by the San Ysidro trolley station.
"We want to see what capacity there is to see if we can incorporate them to the development or maybe they will have to be compensated if they have to move," he detailed.
If studies back it up, the transport station project is expected to span over a block, have an underground parking and a two-story building to accommodate all kinds of transport in the world's busiest border.
Original text: Alexandra Mendoza