Calle Articulo Unos Dos Tres, more commonly known as First Street — one of the oldest streets in TJ — is being ripped up and revamped as part of a program designed to create a more tourist-friendly environment.
The demolition of the street begins right under the big silver arch, where Avenida Revolución intersects First Street and plunges west toward Constitución. The street runs through one of the most blighted and formerly fearsome areas of the city, known for its antros (dive bars), low-rent hotels, street brawls, and police raids.
Several of the hotels have been cleaned up and remodeled and the street itself will be replaced with a more pedestrian-friendly venue that will complement Plaza San Cecilia next door, where mariachis and other musicians entertain.
Several years back, Revolución had its sidewalks widened and palms planted; the notorious Callejon Coahuila, home to a dozen bars and numerous streetwalkers, also was remodeled. With the ripping up of the old Calle Uno Dos Tres, the vision of a new El Centro is being made a reality.
“El Centro is the heart of Tijuana, and a body is not able to be healthy if the heart is not well, and that’s why we are going to transform the heart of Tijuana,” said mayor Jorge Ramos for Tijuana’s daily Frontera as mariachis crooned and bulldozers cranked up their engines. The project is expected to be completed in October.