A $13 million project dubbed “Umbral de las Americas,” or “Threshhold of the Americas” envisions a renewed entryway, with plazas, new lighting, wide ramps, and a broad new bridge over the Tijuana River channel to connect the border with Avenida Revolución, the traditional tourist district.
“It’s going to be a place where you want to linger, to be entertained, rather than a place where you just want to walk fast,” said Aaron Victorio, executive director of Tijuana’s Economic Development Council, CDT, a private-sector planning group that has been championing the project.
Just across from San Ysidro, the project covers a 3/4-mile route from the PedWest pedestrian entrance at the San Ysidro Port of Entry to the giant arch at the northern end of Avenida Revolución. The pathway runs through an area in transition, at once booming with activity and new construction and struggling with urban decay, with empty shops, an entrenched homeless population and a persistent stench that rises from the concrete Tijuana River channel.
The aim is to make walking into Tijuana a safer, shorter and more pleasant experience, both for tourists and visitors to the city. The changes are part of a larger effort to revitalize the city’s historic downtown near the U.S. border, an area slowly being transformed with new living spaces, cultural venues, breweries, restaurants and cafes.
PedWest’s opening in 2016 underscored the need for a better pedestrian connection from the border to Tijuana’s downtown. U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures show an average 12,000 daily northbound crossers through Pedwest—close to 60 percent of the total northbound pedestrian traffic, and a similar number is estimated to cross southbound.
“It should be better,” said David Bernal, a 22-year-old Tijuana resident who crosses the border at PedWest to get to and from his job at Northgate market in San Diego. “After dark, I don’t go through here,” he said as he was heading home at sunset earlier this week.
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
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