Virginia Avenue Transit Center project to help reduce border congestion
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Deputy Federal Highway Administrator David S. Kim today joined U.S. General Services Administrator Denise Turner Roth and U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson to open the new Virginia Avenue Transit Center (VATC) and the PedWest crossing, which supplements an existing pedestrian crossing, at the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry.
The new pedestrian crossing, just west of I-5, includes an $8 million transit facility – which relies on $4 million in federal funding – and features 10 northbound processing lanes with two reversible lanes that will be open around the clock. It will connect with the VATC, serving as a main northbound crossing point and connection to bus options for pedestrians.
“It is our responsibility to find the best transportation solutions possible, ones that make the most sense for the communities in which they are built,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Projects like these will provide options for the many different ways people use this crossing.”
The VATC will accommodate buses, taxis, pedicabs, and drop-offs and pickups by private vehicles. Both projects are a part of the $741 million modernization and expansion of the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry which, once completed, will help the San Diego area’s economy. According to the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), San Ysidro is the busiest land border crossing in the western hemisphere, serving an estimated 70,000 northbound vehicles and 20,000 pedestrians per day. It also represents the third-highest dollar value of trade among all land border crossings between the U.S. and Mexico.
PedWest’s opening allows for the demolition of the current 14-lane pedestrian inspection facility on the port’s eastern side to make way for a new 20-lane pedestrian entrance there that is scheduled to open in 2019. In the interim, travelers on the eastern side will be processed through a provisional six-lane facility.
“This new crossing will improve the quality of life, and international commerce, along a key part of America’s southern border,” said Deputy Administrator Kim. “Our goal is to keep things moving in California for people, businesses and the economy.”
The VATC is part of a multi-agency effort to reduce border congestion, which – according to SANDAG estimates – can cost the San Diego economy as much as $2.5 billion per year in 8 million crossings not taken by people on either side of the border choosing to avoid the lengthy wait-times.
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