Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent time photographing Blue Line passengers of the San Diego Metro Transportation System and people passing through the San Ysidro Transit Center. The often crowded downtown scenes reflect some of the people and dynamics that shape the neighborhood along the US-Mexico border.
While photographing, I met Michelle Arenas, a mother who was boarding a shuttle to Las Vegas with her three children and a few large suitcases. It was the last stop on a long journey home after attending a wedding in MichoacÃ¡n. Another afternoon, a bunch of red roses that Emmanuel Alvarado bought for his girlfriend’s graduation party caught my eye from across the streetcar tracks.
RELATED: San Ysidro’s Cart Stop Project Part of Latest SANDAG Plan
One of my favorite moments was photographing brothers Isaac and Ulisses Diaz as they watched the world go by through a wagon window. They were traveling with their mother to buy a puppy in Tijuana.
The station is the southernmost stop on the busiest line of the San Diego metro transportation system. It sits at the entrance to Tijuana, one of the busiest land border crossings in the world, but it suffers from a chaotic design of disjointed terminals and busy intersections.
Seven years ago, SANDAG and other agencies unveiled a $ 150 million expansion plan for the center that has not happened. Now my inew source reports colleague Jennifer Bowman, SANDAG says it will become a “mobility hub” under new plans.
These photos capture the scenes behind Jennifer’s story, which details the resort’s history as well as the hopes and challenges for its future.
1 of 13
A Blue Line streetcar heads into downtown San Diego on June 1, 2021.
2 of 13
Issac Diaz, right, and his brother Ulisses Diaz look out the window of a Blue Line tram en route to San Ysidro on June 1, 2021.
3 of 13
Passengers exit a Blue Line tram at the San Ysidro transit hub on June 17, 2021.
4 of 13
Passengers pass through Rail Court to San Ysidro Transit Center and Port of Entry on May 27, 2021.
5 of 13
Michelle Arenas and her three children are waiting for a shuttle to Las Vegas at the San Ysidro Transit Center on June 6, 2020. The family began their day traveling in MichoacÃ¡n, where they were attending a wedding.
6 of 13
A driver drives a Blue Line tram towards San Ysidro on June 1, 2021.
7 of 13
Passengers travel on the Blue Line to downtown San Diego on May 20, 2021.
8 of 13
Christopher Olvera waits with his two younger sisters for a ride at the San Ysidro transit center on June 14, 2021.
9 of 13
Pedestrians are seen outside the window of a Blue Line trolley as it approaches the San Ysidro transit center on June 1, 2021.
ten of 13
Blue Line tracks are seen from inside a trolley heading for downtown San Diego on June 1, 2021.
11 of 13
Emmanuel Alvarado awaits the arrival of an Uber driver at the San Ysidro transit center on June 3, 2021. He was coming from Tijuana to attend his girlfriend’s graduation ceremony.
12 of 13
Eloisa NuÃ±o sits on a bench at the San Ysidro transit center on June 17, 2021.
13 of 13
A man runs on the rails of the tram in the San Ysidro transit center on June 25, 2021.