Blog

November 1, 2011

 Natalie Berg, Ed.D., has influenced San Francisco as an educator, civic leader and land use consultant. In her 30 plus years at City College of San Francisco she has served as a professor, dean and most recently as an elected member and president of the Board of Trustees.

By Sarah Karlinsky, Deputy Director
October 26, 2011

What’s the best way to revitalize Central Market? There isn’t one way, but many — and they all need to be coordinated with one another. While this sounds like an answer that Yoda might offer, we hope that the folks at the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OWED) don’t have to rely on the Force alone to help finalize the Central Market Economic Strategy. The strategy is full of good ideas — and all will need substantial political support in order to be...

By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
October 25, 2011

Last week, the Bay Area's Business Council on Climate Change — which SPUR is a part of — released the Green Tenant Toolkit, an online resource for improving the sustainable performance of existing commercial buildings in San Francisco.

By Sarah Karlinsky, Deputy Director
October 24, 2011

Many of us in the Bay Area felt a series of sharp tremors on October 20 and 21 — coincidentally the same day that Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping predicted would bring the Apocalypse. It might not be time for the Rapture just yet, but we do know the Big One is coming, and we want our buildings to be prepared. Fortunately, Mayor Ed Lee has released the first draft of San Francisco's Earthquake Safety Implementation Program.

By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager, and Jesse Sleamaker
October 12, 2011

At three in the morning, a four-block stretch of Jerrold Avenue in the Bayview neighborhood is abuzz with business. The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market, which is busiest during the graveyard shift, is a hidden hub of San Francisco’s fresh food system. 

By Corey Marshall, Good Government Director
October 11, 2011

Absentee ballots will start to arrive this week, which means it's time for the annual SPUR Voter Guide, our in-depth analysis of all local San Francisco ballot propositions.

By Aaron Bialick
September 27, 2011

The Bay Area has a lot to gain from pricing its freeways. Two of the major benefits are money for transit and less highway congestion. High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes are a miniature form of road pricing, offering solo drivers the option to buy their way into High-Occupancy Vehicle lanes and bypass the congested, more heavily-subsidized highway lanes.

by Gretchen Hilyard
September 14, 2011

SPUR’s 2011 Piero N. Patri Fellow, Sarah Moos, spent this summer studying San Francisco's unmaintained and underused rights-of-way. The resulting project, Unaccepted Streets: From Paper to Reality, proposes to transform some of San Francisco's overlooked spaces into a network of public pathways that would better link local communities to open spaces and to each other.

by Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
September 14, 2011

As someone who works on urban agricultural policy, I'm often asked, "Is city-grown food safe?" The question comes from aspiring urban gardeners and concerned eaters alike. And it seems to stem from both a fear of the known and a fear of the unknown. 

By Jennifer Warburg
September 8, 2011

On Tuesday, Congress returned to Washington with only 11 days to pass essential legislation: the reauthorization of all major national transit and highway projects and the gas tax that funds them.

By Corey Marshall, SPUR Good Government Director
September 8, 2011

Our latest SPUR Report, Seeking Green, takes a hard look at the many factors that make funding San Francisco’s parks so difficult: diminishing public funds, political forces that prevent raising new revenues and, more recently, a recession of historic proportions. How can the Recreation and Parks Department navigate these competing pressures to maintain services and care for our parks? Our task force found 11 ways to save...

Gretchen Hilyard
September 1, 2011

San Francisco’s Market Street has a long and fascinating history: from its ambitious beginnings as an over-scaled boulevard, laid out by Jasper O’Farrell in 1847, to its heyday as the city’s vibrant theater district in the early twentieth century. Market Street rose to prominence after the 1906 Earthquake, survived a series of urban planning experiments in the mid-twentieth century, and absorbed the important yet disruptive insertion of BART beneath its surface in 1972.

By Jennifer Warburg
August 31, 2011

Forget what your mother told you about "it's what’s on the inside that counts.” In the case of BART trains, it’s all about what’s on the outside.

by Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
August 30, 2011

In many neighborhoods in San Francisco, the opening of a new grocery store is notable. But in the Bayview, a new Fresh & Easy store that opened on August 24 filled a full-scale grocery store gap that had persisted for more than 15 years. “It’s all about health, about neighborhood vitality, about jobs, and about fulfilling old promises,” explained Mayor Ed Lee at the opening. “That is what this store represents.”

By Corey Marshall, Good Government Policy Director
August 26, 2011

With two different pension-reform measures on the upcoming ballot, it’s no secret that pension reform will have a significant impact on the November election. But how did the city get to the point of having a problem of this magnitude? Clearly the recession has played a big part, but what about the many negotiated increases in benefits over the course of the last decade?

by Gabriel Metcalf, Executive Director
August 22, 2011

For the most part, the California High-Speed Rail Authority has done the right thing on the basic question of where its trains will go. But as we move from idea to implementation, things get messier. Residents along the Peninsula are understandably concerned about noise impacts and eminent domain. Last spring the High-Speed Rail Authority actually voted to stop work on this segment until the Bay Area could sort out what it wanted to do. But recently a Plan B has emerged that may even bring...

By Corey Marshall, Good Government Policy Director
August 22, 2011

The ballot for the upcoming November 2011 election has finally been set. After five measures dropped off, we’ve ended up with the shortest ballot in a mayoral election in at least 50 years.

By Jordan Salinger and Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director
August 16, 2011

The San Francisco Bay Area is expected to grow by 1.7 million people in the next 25 years. If you’ve ever muscled your way onto an overcrowded BART train or idled at the Bay Bridge toll plaza, you may wonder how we’re going to get all these additional people back and forth across the bay. SPUR has a few ideas. Our short animated film illustrates a few simple things we can do today, as well as one big idea for the future.

SPUR's first forray into video animation enjoyed...

BY PETER ENZMINGER
August 15, 2011

A grown man napping on his laptop case. Daily visits from SF mayoral candidates. Keynote addresses from the Wigg Party, MIT's SENSEable Cities Lab, the Rebar Group, and the San Francisco Department of the Environment. Cold pizza after midnight. More than a hundred adults sitting around tables on the 5th floor of a Mid-Market office building on a Friday night. This is what ground zero of the open government movement looks like.

By Micah Hilt
August 15, 2011

It came and it went, but Los Angeles as we know it did not come to a terrible end. Carmageddon — the 52-hour, 10-mile shutdown of the 405 freeway last month —passed quietly into history, becoming one of L.A.’s lightest traffic days ever.

By Casey Jung
August 11, 2011

A glimpse into biking through San Francisco debuts this week on Market Street. As part of its Public Arts program, the San Francisco Arts Commission will display its second installment of the popular Market Street poster series, which puts art in select bus shelters.

By Cole Armstrong and Micah Hilt
August 10, 2011

The Yerba Buena neighborhood already features museums, parks, an arts center and a convention center (as well as SPUR world headquarters), but starting this week there's something new to see: six new mobile parks, called “parkmobiles.” The first of their kind, the parkmobiles will be a shared resource in the community.

By Will Heywood
August 9, 2011

SPUR’s basement archive is a treasure trove of vintage planning reports and books. To make these documents available in digital format, we are daylighting the more interesting artifacts on our blog. Today’s find: Market Street Design Report Number 4, published May 9, 1966.

BY JILLIAN BURNS
August 5, 2011

Across the country, cities have realized the urgent need to invest in renewable energy sources. Solar panel installations in San Francisco have grown from 551 in 2007 to more than 2,400 today, largely due to city, state and federal incentives for residents and businesses.

BY Jeffrey Tumlin
August 4, 2011

For the July issue of the Urbanist — on how to transform Market Street — we asked Jeffrey Tumlin, principal at transportation planning firm Nelson\Nygaard, to take us on a tour of Market Street's history. To learn about plans for Market Street today, read the July Urbanist.

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