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New pedestrian crossing in the works in west San Ysidro

Created: 23 May, 2014
Updated: 13 September, 2023
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3 min read

Federal and local officials from both the United States and Mexico had an informational forum recently to announce a new pedestrian port of entry in San Ysidro, scheduled to open in early 2016.
Federal and local officials from both the United States and Mexico had an informational forum recently to announce a new pedestrian port of entry in San Ysidro, scheduled to open in early 2016.

Pedestrians who cross the border into and out of San Ysidro will have a new alternative in a couple of years.

The Virginia Avenue Pedestrian Border Crossing, also known as San Ysidro PedWest, will be located on the westside of the San Ysidro Port of Entry, on Virginia Avenue, adjacent to Las Americas Outlets. In the Mexican side it is located in the new El Chaparral port of entry.

San Ysidro PedWest was announced at a community forum earlier this month at Willow School, where government officials at all levels from the United States and Mexico gave details about the project, which is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2016.

“In general, the PedWest crossing is a very good thing for San Ysidro and the binational region,” said Jason Wells, executive director of the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce. “Even in weather as temperate as San Diego, standing in line for hours-on-end at the border is not a good thing for anyone. Since we have yet to be able to change the inefficiencies of Customs and Border Protection inspections, we must rely on increasing border crossing.”

The anticipated PedWest will feature 10 to 15 thousand border crossers everyday, according to General Services Administration (GSA) senior asset manager Anthony Klep-pe, who represented GSA at the forum. The facility will also feature a SENTRI and bicycle lane.

“We all agree we have an inefficient border,” said San Diego Councilmember David Alvarez, who represents San Ysidro. “We all hope to have a more efficient border.”

In addition to the pedestrian entrance, a transit center on the west side of the port will be developed in coordination with the City of San Diego, the California Department of Transportation, the San Diego Association of Governments, and the U.S. Federal Highway Administration.

Kleppe presented the community with the artist rendering of the proposed design for PedWest, a design that wasn’t very welcomed by several speakers during the Q&A that followed the presentation.

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“The architectural rendering of the crossing facilities falls well below expectations of the San Ysidro community,” said Wells, after several speakers complained about the design. “It very much appears that GSA sees the vehicle crossing facilities as the mansion and PedWest as the backyard shed. But if you’re Las Americas, Outlets at the Border or the west community, that’s your front door and portal to the busiest land crossing on Earth and link amongst the largest economic region along the entire US/ Mexico border. San Ysidro deserves better. Our nations deserve better.”

The Mexican side of the project is already completed, and several residents pointed out that it is a state-of-the-art facility, compared to PedWest, including the design. The Mexican facility features a pedestrian bridge that ends at a transportation plaza, and near a corridor that leads to Downtown Tijuana.

Wells also represents the San Ysidro Smart Border Coalition, an association of community organizations in the South Bay that promotes the idea of a more efficient border.

Wells said that another message that “came out loud and clear” from the forum is that PedWest has to be under the City of San Diego, as much as the law permits.

“The long-term maintenance and operation responsibilities also remain an unanswered question,” he said. “The opinion of the San Ysidro Smart Border Coalition is that we would like the City of San Diego to retain as much authority and responsibility as possible. The San Ysidro Business Association, already dealing with City contracts, could manage the maintenance of the facility.”

For more information on the San Ysidro Port of Entry reconstruction, including Ped-West, please visit www.gsa.gov.

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