OMAHA, Neb. — The pandemic has made clear the importance of public streets. As people seek to socialize, exercise and distance themselves outside, streets are playing a major role in how people can interact with their communities. And as communities try to make the most of these public spaces, pilot projects can help to quickly test ideas and engage stakeholders.

In this Experts Talk interview, Rick Plenge and Gregory Adelberg share how piloting customized Complete Street approaches can help communities achieve their goals and enhance overall livability. Complete Streets are designed to support the development of more livable communities by improving access and mobility for people of all ages and abilities. Plenge and Adelberg offer insights on how to implement a successful project and where potential pitfalls lie.

Plenge, P.E., PTOE, is co-leader of our Complete Streets practice. He has more than two decades of transportation engineering experience in planning, designing and implementing a variety of multimodal facilities ranging from enhanced pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure to more traditional multimodal focused facilities. He is a national leader in the Complete Streets process, having implemented Complete Streets projects in all 50 states, Canada, Saudi Arabia and New Zealand. He also serves as an instructor for the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Pilot projects are often low-risk and high-reward and “provide a living lab of sorts,” Plenge said in the interview. “They allow communities to perform project-specific testing to both document the outcomes of the pilot installation and support a permanent installation.”

Adelberg helps lead the Complete Streets and Urban Design groups in HDR’s Denver office. With experience in both the public and private sectors, he takes a people-centered approach to planning and design. His portfolio of work focuses on the development of equitable, comfortable, and place-based solutions for a wide variety of projects, ranging from street design to public realm plans.

“Pilot projects also serve as powerful community-building tools, putting the community at the heart of the design process by allowing for more meaningful engagement,” Adelberg said. “The ability to interact with the proposed changes and experience the physical transformation and its benefits provides for a greater understanding of the project and often more community support prior to permanently installing. Their inherent flexibility helps stimulate the transformation of spaces while moving toward a community’s long-term vision.”

About HDR

For over a century, HDR has partnered with clients to shape communities and push the boundaries of what’s possible. Our expertise spans more than 10,000 employees in more than 200 locations around the world — and counting. Our engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services bring an impressive breadth of knowledge to every project. Our optimistic approach to finding innovative solutions defined our past and drives our future. For more information, please visit www.hdrinc.com.

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