From visioning to implementation

Lots of time is spent imagining safe, inviting Main Streets that bring pride and economic vibrancy to our downtowns.  But a vision is not enough. An implementable design must be created around that vision.  The design must be reflective of existing conditions, meet various regulations, have community support, align with funding opportunities, and be consistent with investor interests.  It must then be brought to life through strategic implementation.

Luchs Consulting Engineers/DeCarlo & Doll Architects has been designing community-supported, implementable improvements to Connecticut’s cities and towns for over seven decades. As a Connecticut-grown small business, our staff is vested in the outcome of the work we do because we are an integral part of the communities we serve: we are property owners and commuters, we push strollers and ride bikes, our friends and families own businesses that sustain our local economies. What’s more, our office is located in an emerging Transit-Oriented Development district, so we understand firsthand the impact that thoughtful design has on the social, economic, and environmental well-being of our communities and their Main Streets.

Collaboration, communication, and community consensus

Over the years, our work has taught us that effective communication, collaboration, and community consensus are critical to helping Connecticut’s cities and towns bring their Main Streets to life.

A great degree of collaboration is required among experts such as transportation engineers and streetscape architects, regulatory agencies, state and federal funding partners, and private investors to achieve designs that are safe, desirable, and implementable.  Effective and efficient communication is important to building consensus in a collaborative and meaningful way. However, there is a challenge:  stakeholders come to a project with varying degrees of knowledge, interest, and demands on their time.

To effectively answer to that challenge, Luchs/DeCarlo & Doll uses a unique, 3-D modeling visualization software called RDV Systems. RDV allows design experts and stakeholders to efficiently collaborate through the design process. Along the way, viewers can virtually navigate proposed design options to better understand what improvements will look and feel like. This is especially helpful during public information sessions.

Bringing projects to life

Main Street (Route 34), Derby, CT

RDV Systems integrates design models with existing conditions to bring proposed projects to life. With the click of a mouse, users of the interactive 3-D software are able to freely navigate to any point within a project area. Scale images of cars, pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as pavement striping, curbs, medians, street lights, and other streetscape features enhance the virtual experience.

Beyond immediate viewing, video clips of proposed designs can be easily shared through a variety of media via links to support project collaboration, coordination, and public outreach activities.

RDV Systems in action

Main Street (Route 34), Derby, CT

Using RDV Systems, the Luchs/DeCarlo & Doll team provided an interactive 3-D visualization model of the proposed reconstruction design of Main Street (Route 34) in downtown Derby, Connecticut. The model was used for project collaboration efforts and public information sessions. Its easy-to-understand, interactive format was effective in illustrating how the proposed infrastructure improvements would look and feel to pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers while improving safety, traffic flow, and comfort for those moving in and around Main Street. The 3-D model included existing conditions and multiple design options.

RDV was also essential to planning and public outreach activities for the Meriden Green project in downtown Meriden, Connecticut.  Before a shovel was in the ground, stakeholders had the opportunity to experience the proposed park and all its features from a variety of vantage points.

Meriden Green, Meriden, CT

The following links will provide you with a Virtual Tour of our 3-D visualization model for these projects.  Note that the Virtual Tour feature has the simplest and lowest level of detail, so it can be made available for viewing through a website link or QR code scan. However, for presentation purposes, a PC-based application is used for a much more powerful viewer experience.  – Derby Route 34 – Meriden Park

Moving forward without interruption

Remote collaboration has become a critical necessity in order to keep our cities and towns safely moving forward during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The virtual format of RDV Systems allows for the design process to continue without interruption. Technical collaboration, model viewing, and the communication so essential for planning and implementation is able to go on seamlessly despite the current need for virtual meetings and remote work environments. These capabilities will continue to be valuable as our communities adapt to a new way of doing business.


About the Author

Lynn DiGiovanni is a business development professional for Luchs Consulting Engineers/DeCarlo & Doll Architects located in downtown Meriden, Connecticut.  She spends a lot of time traveling around the state building strategic business relationships.  Her diverse network includes members of the public and private sectors who play a key role in the economic growth of Connecticut’s cities and towns.

Lynn is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Economic Development Association (CEDAS).