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SANDAG accepts final San Ysidro Intermodal Transportation Center study

The San Diego Association of Governments Transportation Committee has accepted the final report of the San Ysidro Intermodal Transportation Center study.

The final report gives the financial feasibility plan and strategies for developing the transportation center, a project that would create better access to buses, the trolley and cabs.

The plan also calls for public parking, pick-up and drop-off areas, retail space and private development.

“The goal is to allow for improved mobility in this area and also provide potential private development investing,” said Rachel Kennedy, senior regional planner for SANDAG.

The proposed San Ysidro Intermodal Transportation Center would be right across the U.S.-Mexico border where the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System’s Blue Line Trolley begins.

The plan would include at-grade expanded trolley platforms in approximately the current location; a combined MTS/Intercity Bus Center in an extended elevated platform to the east of the trolley platforms; retail shops between the trolley platforms and the bus station; and a bicycle center with dedicated lanes and storage space.

The project is estimated at $125 million to $170 million. The final report stated funding options that include grants, retail leases and fees from intercity bus service providers; $50 million from the current SANDAG Revenue-Constrained Regional Transportation Plan; federal, state and local transportation funds; and private funds from selling of naming rights, taxi use fees and potential developer partnerships.

The final report also states the construction of the transportation center would be a 36-month process once preliminary engineering and conceptual designs start and would be completed in three phases.

Phase 1 lays the groundwork to provide operational, customer and community benefits.

The transit center will be completed in Phase 2. The major element of this phase is the construction of the final bus center to the east of the trolley, which frees up the north parcel for private development, including parking structure serving the area as well as border-crossers.

Phase 3 would develop the private sector area with commercial and retail shops most likely around a central structured parking facility.

SANDAG will submit the final study report to the California Department of Transportation, in compliance with grant requirements. The final study report will also be considered by the city of San Diego in its ongoing San Ysidro Community Plan Update.

SANDAG, the city of San Diego, Caltrans and MTS have been holding workshops, public hearings and working with residents and business to formulate a new transportation center since October 2012.

The plan is to determine how to create a more efficient transit and business hub where the Blue Line trolley begins and San Ysidro Boulevard ends. This is where pedestrians first enter the U.S. from Mexico.

The San Ysidro Intermodal Transportation Center supports about 22,000 travelers each day via one rail line, two MTS bus lines, various taxi lines, private jitneys and commercial shuttles.

SANDAG considered two other options.

The first option would have kept the trolley tracks at the existing location and added a third track to the Blue Line with a longer platform and a rooftop, an area for MTS buses, an elevated platform for private buses, a roundabout with a pick-up and drop-off zone, a plaza with retail spaces and a multilevel public/private development. This plan was estimated to cost from $90 million to $120 million.

The second option had the same elements as the first, but the tracks would have been moved east, the trolley lines given an atrium roof, the pick-up and drop-off zone would have been at the end of San Ysidro Boulevard, and the bus stations below grade. The second option would have cost $145 million to $200 million.

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