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Pacific Rim conducts stakeholder outreach for Calexico land port project

By Javier Fernandez

Architect's rendering of Calexico West Land Port of Entry

The project’s design phase concluded several years ago.

As part of GSA’s Urban Development and Good Neighbor Program, Pacific Rim Region associates recently held a Planning Outreach and Partnership (POP) meeting with local officials in Calexico, California to identify opportunities where GSA’s real estate actions can be leveraged to help achieve community goals. Conducting these POP meetings is one of the commitments outlined in the Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan (S2P2). The port project incorporates a number of sustainability features including solar hot water and photovoltaic systems, ultra low flow water fixtures and native, drought tolerant plants for landscaping. Furthermore, the project aligns with community environmental goals of lowering air pollution by reducing the time vehicles spend idling their engines waiting to cross.

The Calexico POP meeting provided a great opportunity for GSA to re-engage with local and regional stakeholders in advance of the planned construction project at the Calexico West Land Port of Entry (LPOE), since the project’s design phase concluded several years ago and activity on the project has been minimal since then. Representatives from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the City of Calexico, San Diego Association of Governments, Imperial County Transportation Commission, California Department of Transportation, and the City of Mexicali’s Institute of Planning and Economic Development Commission were in attendance at the meeting.

The meeting was successful in making connections between different levels of government and supported the larger goal of transit-oriented and comprehensive urban development. Community sustainability goals of improved access to public transportation options to cross the border prompted GSA to do in-house research into existing transit usage statistics, socio-economic statistics, transportation infrastructure, and border crossing statistical trends. This analysis was essential to understanding GSA’s potential role in supporting the community goals.

“GSA projects are driven by practical constraints,” said Region 9 Urban Development Officer, David Leites. “When a project team meets with planning officials, discussions are usually driven by a desired outcome that keeps the project moving forward within those constraints, for instance when acquiring a permit. The POP meeting, on the other hand, gives both GSA and planning officials a forum to have more open discussions about opportunities within the community. It establishes GSA as a member of that community instead of being perceived as an outside influence.”

Some of the potential collaboration opportunities discussed include the development of new Graphic Information System data layers; future transit projects that enable the use of both Calexico East and Calexico West LPOEs; and a public outreach campaign led jointly by GSA and CBP to encourage people to cross the border at Calexico East during the prospectus construction project. A similar campaign was done during the recently completed northbound vehicle inspection lanes at San Ysidro LPOE.

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