Changes include restructuring of lanes entering into Calexico at the downtown Port of Entry, renovation of two downtown blocks, the addition of a rapid transit system and additional security at the pedestrian line entering the U.S.
Calexico city officials were offered a tour of some of the changes Monday.
Calexico Mayor Daniel Romero described the restructuring of the four lanes leading into the Calexico downtown Port of Entry from the Mexicali side during Thursday’s Calexico Chamber of Commerce meeting.
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Before, there were three lanes for general traffic along the fence and another lane along a concrete barrier for both SENTRI users and those wanting to return to downtown Mexicali.
Now the barrier is moved one lane closer to the fence, reducing general traffic lanes to two, leaving one for SENTRI and then one farthest from the fence for people returning to downtown.
Omar Dipp, director of the Comite de Turismo y Convenciones de Mexicali, said in Spanish that the road barriers were moved to free up local traffic. Before, the SENTRI lane would get clogged, and traffic wouldn’t be able to make a left turn in the downtown area.
While lines may seems longer, the traffic should flow as before since the two general lanes then separate into several more at the port.
The two inside lanes, which were badly damaged by potholes, were also repaired, Romero said.
“The downtown merchants were concerned that their customers were reluctant to return to downtown because of the traffic jam the SENTRI lane was creating,” he said. “By doing this, it helps promote their own downtown.”
Romero also explained that security will now be provided along the pedestrian line entering the U.S. where people frustrated by people cutting in line at times get violent.
In addition, the Mexicali government is working on a $2 million project to renovate two blocks of the downtown area around Morelos Street and Reforma Avenue, Dipp said.
This area will become a restaurant and bar zone to encourage tourism and economic development.
Because the plan is to have the area for pedestrian traffic only, there was a need to free up the traffic as well. Construction for this project is expected to start by summer
Finally, a rapid transit system is being implemented around the same time, according to Dipp. By freeing up traffic, a bus will be able to go through Colon Avenue and reach this area of downtown.
Staff Writer Chelcey Adami can be reached at 760-337-3452 or firstname.lastname@example.org