First San Diego-Tijuana
binational strategic plan developed
The Regional Comprehensive Plan (RCP) includes a chapter on “Borders Planning” which identifies major planning issues in the San Diego – Tijuana border region, including increasing traffic congestion and wait times at existing border crossings, and economic, housing and environmental issues associated with the rapid growth in this area. The RCP contains a recommendation that a binational planning partnership be created to develop a strategic plan to address these issues.
Following adoption of the RCP, the SANDAG Borders Committee, which includes representatives from local, state, and federal planning agencies on both sides of the border, recommended that the proposed binational strategic planning process focus on the Otay Mesa – Mesa de Otay binational corridor. Two public workshops were held (one in San Diego and one in Tijuana) to refine issues for further analysis and potential early actions. Transportation, housing, economic development, and environmental conservation were four key issue areas identified for further analysis. These were evaluated in the Strategic Plan that includes early actions and other initiatives for each of these areas.
Following review and recommendations by the SANDAG Borders Committee, the SANDAG Board of Directors accepted an Early Action Plan in 2006. In fall of 2007, the SANDAG Board of Directors and the City of Tijuana approved the Otay Mesa-Mesa de Otay Binational Corridor Strategic Plan, which became the region’s first binational strategic plan. The Strategic Plan was developed by SANDAG and the City of Tijuana’s Municipal Planning Institute (Instituto Municipal de Planeación or IMPlan), in collaboration with the State of Baja California’s Secretariat of Infrastructure and Urban Development (Secretaría de Infraestructura y Desarrollo Urbano or SIDUE), and Caltrans District 11. The preparation of this plan also included input from a diverse group of stakeholders from the United States and Mexico. The SANDAG Borders Committee provided policy guidance, while the Committee on Binational Regional Opportunities (COBRO) was the primary stakeholders group.
The Study Area
The study area encompasses the City of San Diego’s Otay Mesa community planning area, the County of San Diego’s Otay subregional plan area (including Otay Lakes), the eastern portion of the City of Chula Vista east of I-805 and south of Olympic Parkway, and the planning areas of Mesa de Otay and Centenario, including the Alamar River in the City of Tijuana.
The recommendations contained in the Early Action Plan led to agreement on an expedited process for developing a corridor transportation project including a new border crossing and connecting roadways that would significantly improve mobility across the border. In addition, the planning process led to participation by the California Biodiversity Council (an organization of federal, state and regional environmental public agencies) in addressing cross-border environmental issues in the study area, as well as initiation of activities by the Urban Land Institute San Diego – Tijuana Chapter and other stakeholder groups to address housing and economic development issues facing the study area. The process also led to improved coordination among SANDAG, Caltrans, and local jurisdictions on planning and development issues on the U.S. side of the border.
SANDAG and IMPlan will continue to move forward on implementing the initiatives identified in the Strategic Plan. Some of the key strategies are listed below.
- Advance planning and implementation of the future East Otay Mesa-Otay II POE and connecting roads as a binational project.
- Coordinate with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Mexican Customs on the process to fund and implement short-term capital and operational improvements at the Otay Mesa-Mesa de Otay Commercial POE.
- Explore short-term operational and capital improvements at the Otay Mesa-Mesa de Otay Passenger POE.
- Collaborate with the City of San Diego on the Otay Mesa Community Plan update.
- Initiate advanced planning work to extend the South Bay Bus Rapid Transit service between Eastern Chula Vista and the Otay Mesa POE.
- Complete the Otay Mesa POE Paseo de la Amistad Pedestrian and Bicycle Circulation Alternatives Study.
- Evaluate the City of Tijuana’s Draft Public Transportation Plan focusing on routes to serve the Otay Mesa-Mesa de Otay POE.
- Support the implementation of technologies to measure crossborder wait times of northbound commercial vehicles at the Otay Mesa-Mesa de Otay Commercial POE.
- Implement the Advanced Passenger Information System for crossborder bus operators.
- Develop the 2007 San Diego Regional Economic Evaluation and Prosperity Strategy with participation from the Consulate of Mexico in San Diego, San Diego Dialogue, and the Tijuana Economic Development Corporation.
- Collaborate with the City of San Diego in the Otay Mesa Community Plan update to evaluate future land demand for high value industrial clusters.
- Establish the Crossborder Innovation and Competitveness Center (UCSD parternship with Mexico).
- Collaborate with the City of San Diego on its Otay Mesa Community Plan update to evaluate the potential to convert industrial land use into residential, and its regional implications.
- Explore opportunities to implement Smart Growth planning in the Mesa de Otay and Alamar River study area.
- Collaborate with IMPlan and the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to share resources, planning techniques and strategies as they relate to Smart Growth planning.
- Expand the environmental analysis of the draft Partial Program for Conservation and Urban Improvements of the Alamar River Zone to further assess the habitat conditions and support plans for habitat restoration along the Alamar River riparian corridor.
- In Mexico, explore cooperative agreements between private and public sectors and community for development rights and environmental mitigation; use existing legal mechanisms to acquire private or public land for conservation; and link the creation of conservation areas to the objectives and goals established in “A Binational Vision for the Tijuana River Watershed” and the Border 2012 programs.
- Support the San Diego Air Pollution Control District’s crossborder clean air demonstration projects.
Elisa Arias, Principal Planner
Phone: (619) 699-1936, E-mail: email@example.com