Washington DC has been taking big steps in a new direction to connect its residents who choose walkable, bikeable, transit-rich neighborhoods to services – a connection they dubbed Vibrant Streets.  Vibrant Streets started as a DC Office of Planning study that has now excitedly turned into something bigger and now includes The Vibrant Retail Streets Toolkit, a guide designed to take advantage of renewed interest in urban markets by retailers as well as growing districts.

The Vibrant Streets movement expanded after well attended conferences, interest from the industry, and a 2012 Downtown Merit Award from the International Downtown Association.

The toolkit, downloadable for free through ICSC’s website, studied several successful national and international shopping districts to gather information for best practices. It comprises “the building blocks to vibrant streets” containing elements of a vibrant street along with explanation and relevancy.

It goes on to walk the reader through an eight step implementation process to create a vibrant retail street.  Many steps to complete, but this toolkit makes it simple and understandable.

The toolkit also spotlights innovative approaches around the country that spur vibrant retail markets like “creatively financing local heritage businesses” in Ithaca, NY, as well as highlights what goes into retailer decision making process and site selection.

We encourage BIDs and commercial districts to check out this valuable toolkit out if you haven’t already!