Bfusion.org members participate with public comments in a very important San Diego Association of Government's Board of Directors meeting this past February 12. The meeting included a public discussion about the long term regional transportation plan (Developing the 2021 Regional Plan (sdforward.com) ) that will have a significant impact in the quality of life and livelihood of San Diego County Residents and border crossers. Here are the comments made by Bfusion founder, Miguel Aguirre and Economic Development Advisor, Flavio Olivieri.
February 12, 2021, 9am Friday, Public Comment via Zoom, SANDAG Board of Directors
Good morning. My name is Miguel Aguirre, Managing Member of GRAND CENTRAL WEST in San Ysidro. Since 2003, we've owned the private two-story landmark known as the McDonald's Trolley Station, the heart of the Intermodal Transportation Center. Here, SANDAG plans major redevelopment, and expansion, to include an entire community block. As a BINATIONAL CORRIDOR LINKING EMPLOYMENT HUBS, please consider these three items of regional significance:
- A BOLD Border Policy;- SOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL EQUALITY & JUSTICE, and:- Strategic Bi-National Gateways
Design narratives surrounding SANDAG's project ultimately will be reduced to two simple views: BORDER AS DESTINATION, or, a DEPARTURE Project sustaining U.S. economies to the north, away from the cross-border itself where binational energy is greatest. Departure stations are what operate on our border today. As Co-Chair of South County EDC's Binational Committee, also, as Founder and CEO of the Border Fusion Group, we could share all day about a strategic platform and cross-border smart growth land use ideas. Please google our website, Border Fusion Group.
SECONDLY, It is no secret that for years the community of San Ysidro has been viewed by many as a poster step-child to the City of San Diego. Three freeways and Rail right-of-ways impact health, quiet enjoyment and property rights. Some have even had access to public ways and economic opportunity blocked in order to protect large-corporate, and special interests. Poor air quality and chaotic mobility caused by the world's busiest border-crossing only worsens as vehicle infrastructure is expanded.
We could debate how torturous treatment and economic oppression have plagued San Ysidro businesses for decades. Indeed, social and environmental equality and justice are long overdue. Fortunately, San Ysidro is poised to finally play a vital role in a competitive North American trade context. The U.S. absolutely needs Mexico to compete with China, and strategic cross-border districts bridge socioeconomic disparity.
FINALLY, SANDAG renderings of a future San Ysidro project suggest iconic background elements yet, still depict front and center at-grade trolley expansion which would simply exasperate chronic mobility conflicts. Understood...its just a concept. However, imagine ACTIVE DESIGN planning connecting to ABOVE-GRADE pedestrian bridges and ramps such as we already have, including rail operations into Mexico. Imagine also a future high-speed Subway next to a subterranean Long-Haul Centralized Bus Station protecting travelers from illegal transportation providers known as wildcats. Subterranean and above-grade public infrastructure, segregating safe paths of travel, would catalyze private investment, high-value innovation, technology and creative industries.
By necessity, really, by default, these are the design narratives now being formulated surrounding: A BOLD BORDER POLICY; Social Equity, and "Strategic" Binational Gateway(s).
Flavio Olivieri comments:
Transportation Planning should be closely tied to an ECONOMIC DEVLOPMENT long term vision, that applies the adopted Equity Statement by SANDAG and where inclusive growth and recovery should be privileged. We need a change in paradigm, one where new transportation infrastructure should focus not just to resolve current inefficiencies of moving people to their Jobs, but to facilitate and promote the creation of high value Jobs in their communities. It should create development hubs, reduce commutes or even eliminate them. The plan presented by SANDAG as is now is focused on moving people to jobs, but not creating jobs where the community lives.
In San Ysidro this is very relevant and a great opportunity for the entire region, considering the increasing integration with the Baja California economy in more creative industries and high value-added jobs. Imagine a Google binational twin campus surrounding the Port of Entry.
Today the border is seen as the end of the line, instead of a destination of opportunity, or as a HUB or node, ignoring the reality of our BINATIONAL MEGA REGION. We need to harness the binational opportunity, an opportunity to serve a market of over 2 million people.
Today San Diego has a growing gap in the talent pipeline that will increase in the coming years. Cargo movement is not the future, manufacturing will be shifting with technological advances, and serves other regions away from San Diego. CREATIVE industries on the other hand such as technology research and development are human capital-based, this represents a great opportunity for taping into talent sources and in this regard SAN YSIDRO is more strategic than OTAY mesa, and closer tied to San Diego´s economic drivers. The presented plan misses the mark, it is ignoring what is happening just a few miles south of the San Ysidro POE.