Entering our nation’s gateways can be an overwhelming experience. The General Services Administration Paso Del Norte Pedestrian Reengineering project is designed to ease congestion and increase efficiency at the border crossing bridge into El Paso from Mexico. This area welcomes 1,000 pedestrian visitors per hour. The signage incorporated in this project gives people passing into the nation’s entryway chambers a sense of where to go and what to do. The project features colorful one-of-a-kind panels suspended in a giant serpentine ribbon truss from the ceiling to provide a softer feel of the large room while giving clear instructions.

Marcy Trujillo, project manager, said the electronic signs are designed to answer typical visitor questions to improve efficiency in the queue lines. The audio and visual instructions to visitors can be easily updated at the site in appropriate languages.

“The structural components were a unique design built in El Paso by a local firm,” he said.

Security, bilingual interpretations, and clarity of way-finding directions for pedestrians faced with multiple lane choices were challenges overcome in this project. The project also included adding security equipment, providing identification of a dedicated bus lane, replacing overhead roll-up doors with four revolving doors that significantly cut air-conditioning costs, and creating space for future technologies and equipment to be used.

Decorative handrails were installed to smooth the pedestrian experience and maintain appropriate amounts of space for security workers. The digital signs above the stately revolving doors improved queue efficiency by clearly identifying which way to go. Decorative window film on one of the glass walls of the building helps reduce outdoor heat, but also adds to a welcoming and pleasant feel in the main entry space.