The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony near the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry (LPOE) to commemorate the opening of the PedWest pedestrian processing facility and the Virginia Avenue Transit Center.
Speakers from both the U.S. and Mexico joined the federal government in celebrating the new state-of-the-art northbound pedestrian infrastructure that was recently constructed by GSA. Speakers highlighted the great collaboration between the two countries and their stakeholder agencies as well as the important role these facilities will play in the San Diego – Tijuana region.
(See how pedestrian processing will change with the opening of PedWest, a new northbound pedestrian crossing on the west side of San Ysidro, and the adjoining Virginia Ave Transit Center on July 15th. Courtesy of GSA (General Services Administration) and YouTube)
“One cannot exaggerate the significance of the largest-ever pedestrian expansion to the busiest land border crossing in the Western Hemisphere,” said GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth. “Management of land ports of entry is one of the General Services Administration’s most important missions. These facilities are a crucial strategic national investment, helping secure our borders, and contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to the American economy.”
PedWest is an approximately 22,300 gross square foot pedestrian processing facility on the west side of the San Ysidro LPOE with twelve northbound lanes and two reversible lanes. This facility will complement the new pedestrian infrastructure planned for the east side of the port which will be constructed during the next phase of construction.
“CBP is pleased to open this brand new facility together with our partners,” said Sidney Aki, CBP Port Director of the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry. “As part of the larger infrastructure changes at the San Ysidro port of entry, we are looking forward to additional improvements to come in the next several years, helping to facilitate legitimate travel between Mexico and the U.S.”
The Virginia Avenue Transit Center is a multimodal transit center that will serve as the pickup and drop off location for pedestrians. It accommodates taxis, buses, and privately owned vehicles (POVs) dropping off and picking up passengers at PedWest. This new transit center connects the community to mass transit options through the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System trolley’s blue line and buses. The transit center was a collaborative effort between the federal government, CalTrans, City of San Diego and the San Diego Association of Governments. This enhanced infrastructure will support the San Diego regional economy and accommodate the demands of border security initiatives.
Throughout the project, GSA worked closely with government stakeholders and community leaders to hone the project’s requirements. The plan to improve pedestrian mobility was developed in response to feedback from the local community.
“Our status as a border city is one of our greatest strengths,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “Being able to cross the border safely and efficiently is key to growing economic opportunities in the San Diego-Tijuana megaregion, which why I am proud of the progress that has been made with PedWest and the Virginia Avenue Transit Center. This project is a major accomplishment that demonstrates the power of binational collaboration. I want to thank all of the federal, state and local agencies on both sides of the border for their efforts on this project.”
Speakers at the celebration included: Paulo Carreno King, Undersecretary for North America, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico; Denise Turner Roth, GSA Administrator; Carlos Manuel Sada Solana, Ambassador of Mexico to the United States; Roberta Jacobson, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico; Kevin Faulconer, Mayor of San Diego; Jorge Astiazaran, Mayor of Tijuana; David Kim, Deputy Director, U.S. Federal Highway Administration; Ben Hueso, California State Senator; Betty Yee, California State Controller; Caridad Sanchez, Senator Boxer’s Director for San Diego and Imperial Counties; Janine Bryant, Congressman Vargas’ District Director; Sidney Aki, CBP Port Director of the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry; Laurie Berman, Caltrans District 11 Director; Harry Mathis, Chairman, San Diego Metropolitan Transit System; and Gary Gallegos, San Diego Association of Governments Executive Director
The San Ysidro Land Port of Entry (LPOE) is the busiest land border crossing in the Western Hemisphere; currently processing an average of 70,000 northbound vehicle passengers and 20,000 northbound pedestrians per day. The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) projects an 87 percent increase in vehicle traffic in San Ysidro by the year 2030. To accommodate that growth and to better meet the changing needs of the tenant agencies and the traveling public, GSA is conducting a complete reconfiguration and expansion of the port.
For more information about the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry expansion and renovation project, visit www.gsa.gov/sanysidro.