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The Lesson of 2016: No One Wants New Housing – Anywhere - Voice of San Diego
"The rejection of Measure T in Encinitas and Measure B countywide sent a message that many county residents simply aren’t open to new development – whether it happens in established metro areas, or in rural spaces."
housing  sandiego  selfishness  nimbyism  nimbys  2016  mayasrikrishnan 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Amid Renaissance, Tijuana Looks to Improve Transit
"Tijuana may finally be making progress on improving its public transit.

It’s been a long time coming. The city’s current bus fleet, for instance, is made up of secondhand U.S. school buses, painted in multicolor and privately run. The city’s mayor has acknowledged the issue.

But Tijuana has begun construction on a 23-mile bus rapid transit system – a higher-quality bus service with dedicated lanes, larger and nicer stations and more regular service. It’s expected to be finished in less than a year and will run up to the Puerta Mexico, the Mexican side of the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

The city has also has laid out plans for a light-rail system that links up to the Mexican portion of the railroad known as the Desert Line, or the Via Corta, which is also being renovated for use as a cargo train at night and a passenger train during the day.

Those plans, however, are still just plans. It’s far from a sure thing they’ll ever come to pass.

Oscar A. Cortes, executive coordinator of Binational Relations for the Federation of Civil Engineers from Mexico, said these improvements were a long time coming, but now they’re needed to continue the urban revitalization Tijuana’s gone through in recent years.

“But to continue to do this, we need to pay attention to how we move people,” Cortes said in Spanish.

The BRT will go from Florido, in the southeastern part of Tijuana, to Puerta Mexico, running down Avenida Revolucion and on highways beside the Tijuana River Channel. The project has been in the planning stages for the past four years. It received a grant of roughly $50 million from the Mexican government. Known as La Ruta Troncal or Ruta 1, the BRT will provide service to an estimated 300,000 passengers daily, for the price of a little less than a dollar per ride, said Cortes.

The renovation of the Via Corta, a freight rail that runs from Tecate to Tijuana, is still in its conceptual stages, with plan proposals and studies under way.

The company that’s handling the renovation of the freight line, as well as the Baja government, both presented their visions for the cross-border train and urban light-rail line during the October meeting of a binational group focusing on bridge and border crossing issues, said a spokesperson of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Department.

“Right now, this railroad doesn’t do anything,” Cortes said, in Spanish. “It’s causing big economic delays in the region because we can’t use it.”

A trolley system proposal has also been laid out in a planning document from the Baja secretary of infrastructure and urban development. It is proposed to span about 20 kilometers in Tijuana and could serve 65,000 passengers and would ultimately connect with Via Corta. But it’s is in the very early stages and doesn’t have a funding source yet, Cortes said.

BRT projects have been the public transit of choice in many cities in Latin America, said Dario Hidalgo, director of integrated transport at EMBARQ, a World Resources Institute program that helps the Mexican government oversee public transportation projects it finances.

“Most cities have chosen BRT and bus improvements for its cost-effectiveness,” said Hidalgo. “There are some initiatives for light rail and rail in Tijuana, but as with any federal funding they need to go through an evaluation process and many projects don’t make a cut.”

San Diego’s business community is keeping a close eye on Tijuana’s public transit investments."
tijuana  sandiego  mexico  border  borders  transit  transportation  2015  mayasrikrishnan  busrapidtransit 
december 2015 by robertogreco
San Diego Developers See a New Frontier in Tijuana
"“My favorite disruptive theory is, Tijuana as an affordable housing market for San Diego,” Shannon said.

Tijuana is drawing San Diego developers’ attention for two reasons. One is the emerging market from a growing city undergoing a cultural revival. The second is how difficult and expensive it is to build in San Diego.

“Before there was zero interest from Americans in building here,” said Cesar Leal, director of business development at SEICA, a consulting company in Mexico. “Right now, in the last four months, there’s been a lot more interest showing up.”

Daniel Reeves, the senior vice president of economic development and public policy at Downtown San Diego Partnership, said he doesn’t think this will be a one-off trend for developers.

“You have these forward-looking developers, like Greg Shannon, seeing this,” Reeves said. “I think it is scary for a lot of developers to consider Tijuana, because it’s a different process. But once it pays off for one, we’ll see a flood of people.”

The trend carries its own risks.

While San Diego developers seek relief and opportunity in Tijuana, there is a risk they could shut Mexicans out of the housing market if this becomes a trend.

If more Americans begin building in Tijuana, it may impact housing affordability for moderate- and low-income Mexicans, said Lawrence Herzog, a professor at San Diego State University who focuses on city and regional planning around the U.S.-Mexico border.

Mexicans in the real estate and planning industry, like Leal, are excited about the opportunity to partner with Americans who need their help maneuvering the Mexican system. But affordable has different meaning in San Diego and Tijuana, Herzog said.

“We always have to be very aware of the huge socioeconomic differences between San Diego and Tijuana,” said Herzog.

A $400 to $1,200 rent might be affordable to moderate-income San Diegans; only the low end of that would help a similarly situated moderate-income Baja Californian.

“I would be slightly worried if developers were coming in and building higher-cost housing,” he said.

There are always concerns of gentrification when developers take interest in a new city or neighborhood, said Reeves.

“Anytime that occurs, there should be concerns,” Reeves said. “However, the flip side is those are all construction and service jobs.”

And those jobs can help raise the earnings of lower-income individuals, he said."

Outsourcing San Diego’s Housing Needs

Shannon sees both market-driven and cultural opportunities in Tijuana.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s SENTRI program, which gives pre-screened travelers expedited clearance coming into the country, has made for a less painful border-crossing option. Security concerns have fallen considerably since Sept. 11 and the height of Mexican drug violence. And Baja California is going through its own revitalization – tech hubs, restaurants and local artwork are filling the once abandoned or sleazy storefronts in downtown Tijuana, and Valle de Guadalupe has become a premier wine and food travel destination.

But while Baja is becoming an increasingly appealing place to live, its real estate market needs to catch up.

There’s a dearth of rental units in Tijuana for between $400 and $1,200 per month— there’s high- and low-end, but little in the middle.

But that’s a range where there’s a need, for people on both sides of the border.

Projections from Softec, a Mexico City-based economic and real estate research firm, predict that between 2013 and 2025, Tijuana will need roughly 300,000 homes to meet demand from population increases.

Rental apartments are something new in Mexico, said Leal. Before, apartments were a family business and companies didn’t invest in them in a formal way.

Many Mexicans used to live outside of the city and commute to work, he said.

“But that’s changed a lot now,” Leal said. “People are realizing that the commute wasn’t worth it and people are moving into the city. And the people who moved to San Diego at the worst of the drug violence are moving back because downtown Tijuana is revitalizing.”

That is, some of the increased development could simply benefit those already living in Baja California, or those who relocated in recent years and are looking to come home."
sandiego  tijuana  mexico  border  borders  us  development  mayasrikrishnan  housing  2015 
december 2015 by robertogreco

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