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Pedestrian Crossing At San Ysidro Opens

A new pedestrian border crossing facility known as “PedWest” started operations Friday at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the busiest land border crossing in the Western Hemisphere.

Officials from both sides of the border celebrated the launch with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included the mayors of San Diego and Tijuana. They said PedWest is expected to decrease border wait times for the roughly 20,000 pedestrians who cross northbound every day through San Ysidro. Lines during peak periods can force waits of a couple of hours or more.

“The easier we make it to have our cross-border relationships, the better it is for our families, the better it is for our cultural ties, the better it is for our economies on both sides of the border,” San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said.

On opening day, PedWest saw a full house. Pedestrians filed in and awaited their turn to speak with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Then they carried their bags through security before entering the U.S.

Among the first to cross was 36-year-old Linda Gonzalez, who lives in Tijuana and goes shopping in San Diego. She said she made the cross in three minutes, but only after waiting three hours at the other San Ysidro pedestrian facility getting redirected to PedWest.

“We passed very quickly. They just need to get more organized outside,” Gonzalez said.

Photo caption:

Photo by Jean Guerrero

Pedestrians cross into Mexico through the San Ysidro Port of Entry, Nov. 3, 2015.

Like 19-year-old Dereck Orozco, many of the pedestrians who cross the border live in Tijuana but work in San Diego. He said he often has to wait more than two hours to cross into the U.S., but this time he only waited 20 minutes.

“I like it a lot, it’s great,” he said.

The facility is servicing pedestrians into the U.S. through 12 northbound lanes. Border crossers who pass through can access public transportation steps away at the Virginia Avenue Transit Center. Friends or relatives can pick them up or drop them off there.

Processing for southbound pedestrians into Mexico will begin at a later date.

According to the U.S. General Services Administration, the pedestrian facility is part of a $735 million renovation of the border crossing that will continue to at least 2019.

Photo caption:

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