San Ysidro soon to have transportation center?

Grand scale, hands-on, model-making meeting

Over 60 community members gathered at the San Ysidro Civic Center on Thursday, April 18, to let their voices be heard about the potential building of a world-class “intermodal transportation center” at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

David Flores, community development and design officer at Casa Familiar, opened the meeting, saying that his non-profit organization is concerned about achieving a high quality of life for the residents of San Ysidro. To that end, Casa Familiar asked community members to share their visions of what an intermodal transportation center could look like.

Elisa Arias of SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments) gave a brief talk, explaining that the port of entry currently has an average of 25,000 northbound pedestrians and 35,000 northbound vehicles traveling through each day.

To bring services to this area, SANDAG is conducting a feasibility study of the center that could rival others, such as the Irvine Transportation Center. The study is being done in partnership with the City of San Diego, Caltrans, and the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS).

Five tables were set up with maps of the port of entry; tiles represented hotels, apartments, retail stores, parks, multistory atriums, and more. Community members gathered around the tables and together began to design the port of entry based on what Flores called a “grand scale.”

The hands-on meeting engaged members, who stacked parking-lot tiles, moved bus turnarounds, and added police stations. Many wanted an aesthetically pleasing look, adding parks next to retail stores. Some suggested that the border become an entertainment destination with a theater and arcade. One community member wanted a hospital to service the large number of people.

At the end of the development session, SANDAG and Casa Familiar took pictures of the five different designs.

The meeting ended with David Flores showing his own design. An architect who began working for Casa Familiar in 2001, Flores showed a plan that included high-rise apartment buildings, retail stores next to the trolley, and an underground parking lot.

The collective input will be taken into account as the study continues. To find out more, use the SANDAG website.

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