Blog

By Flavio Coppola
October 1, 2014

California’s landmark environmental bill AB 32 mandated a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The policies it set in place have worked, and the state is on track to meet its goal. But what happens after 2020? With this target date less than six years away, it’s time to set a new objective for continued success in reducing emissions.

By Libby Nachman and Ratna Amin
August 27, 2014

Is the transportation always greener on the other side of the fence? Helsinki, Finland, recently announced a plan for a transit system that would make car ownership a thing of the past within the next 10 years. SPUR examines how the Bay Area could take inspiration from this integrated, single-payment, mobility-on-demand system.

By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
August 6, 2014

This November, Santa Clara County residents will vote on a tax measure that would significantly expand efforts to preserve and protect open space areas. This measure aligns with a number of SPUR’s goals. For Santa Clara County voters, we recommend a “yes” vote on the open space funding measure.

By Flavio Coppola
July 24, 2014

In June, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case concerning whether California’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standard program discriminated against fuels produced out of state, allowing the program to continue functioning unhindered. The decision received little media attention, but it is crucially important for California’s climate action goals. SPUR explores the impact of this poorly understood policy on the state’s climate goals and the fuel industry.

By Alyssa Kies
July 24, 2014

Despite more than $1 billion in capital investments on Highway 101 over the past 20 years, the connection between San Francisco and Silicon Valley still has some of the worst traffic delays in the Bay Area. Alleviating traffic on 101 will require viable alternatives to driving through both  transportation and land use changes. SPUR proposes a three-pronged approach to managing growth in the corridor.

By Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director
July 23, 2014

Our state and region are booming. After dropping from the world’s fifth largest economy to its 10th, the state has risen back up to eighth place. But challenges remain. Housing costs are soaring, unemployment remains high and few middle-wage jobs exist. The Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy shares new economic data about the region and state.

By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Director
July 9, 2014

San Jose’s City Council approved the Diridon Station Area Plan (DSAP) after a five-year process. The DSAP focuses on dense mixed-use growth in a transit-rich infill location, includes needed improvements to the pedestrian and bicycle network and commits to better transportation management planning. However, close oversight will be important moving forward to ensure that Diridon Station becomes the transit-rich hub it was...

By Libby Nachman and Ratna Amin
June 26, 2014

Why is it taking so long to retrofit our car-oriented cities to make them more walkable and bikeable? In part, it’s because of an antiquated engineering concept called “auto level of service” or LOS. Here’s how LOS came to control our built environment — and what the State of California is doing to release the hold this little-known metric has had on our cities.

By Ben Tripousis and Boris Lipkin
May 20, 2014

California's high-speed rail project, which will connect Los Angeles to San Francisco in under three hours, is making progress on numerous fronts. There are updates surrounding the project's construction, routes, funding, lawsuits and new business plan.

By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
May 6, 2014

Between 2013 and 2020, California will earn between $12 billion and $45 billion in cap-and-trade revenue. The state has already received hundreds of millions of dollars from auction revenues over the last 18 months, with that number poised to be in the billions annually within a few years. Now the state needs to decide: How will the money be spent?

By Ratna Amin, Transportation Policy Director
May 1, 2014

SPUR recently hosted a charrette to look at how we can make the region’s array of transit operators function more like one clear, understandable system. Transit operators, regional planners, transporation experts and private transportation providers gathered to share what they've learned and where the opportunities lie.

By Keith Tanner
April 22, 2014

As California grapples with one of its worst droughts in recorded history, many in the Bay Area are wondering what should be done to ensure that we have sufficient water. Luckily, water agencies in our region are already leading the way on innovative approaches to reduce demand by fostering water conservation and efficiency. Here's what's working.

By Julia Chang and Alyssa Kies
April 9, 2014

Regional transit projects planned for San Jose's Diridon Station could make it one of the Bay Area’s most important transit and development hubs — if the area around it is planned well. The city has released a draft version of its Diridon Station Area Plan, which will shape the future of the area. SPUR has reviewed the plan and made a number of important recommendations.

By María Gabriela Huertas Díaz
April 7, 2014

After years of planning, the Santa Clara–Alum Rock Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project broke ground on Friday, March 21. This is the first of three BRT lines that the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is developing in the South Bay — and the first BRT line in the Bay Area, pulling ahead of planned projects in San Francisco and the East Bay.

By Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
April 7, 2014

Across California, communities have started food policy councils so that local advocates for food producers and consumers can work together to improve the food system. Earlier this year, a coalition of these groups published an analysis of legislators’ voting records on 10 different food and agriculture bills.

By Benjamin Grant, Public Realm and Urban Design Program Manager
February 21, 2014

Why not address the Bay Area’s housing crisis — caused by a surge of new jobs without an equivalent increase in new housing — at its source? Alfred Twu’s fantastical renderings imagine Silicon Valley corporate campuses like Google, Apple and Facebook as complete cities, their parking lots packed with enough housing to accommodate their entire workforces.

By Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director
January 30, 2014

From President Obama’s State of the Union speech to local policy initiatives, there’s been a lot of attention lately on wage inequality and the shrinking middle class. As part of a major SPUR initiative, a group of Bay Area pilot projects will tackle these issues head on.

By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
January 15, 2014

2013 was one of the driest years on record, and 2014 is not off to a great start either. As we head into a third dry year, water conservation is more important than ever — and so is preparing for future uncertainty in our water supply by investing in reliable, sustainable supplies, as recommended in SPUR's report Future-Proof Water.

By María Gabriela Huertas Díaz
December 11, 2013

Two big lease deals in downtown San Jose indicate that the city center’s underappreciated assets may be proving attractive to those seeking more urban workplaces in Silicon Valley. Why did these two tenants choose downtown over other nearby competitors? Four reasons: access to transit, urban amenities, real estate costs and a responsive government.

December 3, 2013

Now is a perfect time to take stock of all the great things that have happened this year, with your help. We hope you will consider making a contribution to SPUR at this year end. Here’s how you can help.

By Michael King and Jeffrey Tumlin
November 13, 2013

Streets are different than highways, yet the United States delegates authority for all roadway design to a private nonprofit made up largely of highway engineers. And unfortunately, many of the principles that make for safe highways make for dangerous, dysfunctional urban streets. But a new manual released this fall, the Urban Street Design Guide, could change all this.

By Egon Terplan and Sara Tiller
October 28, 2013

Middle-wage jobs are becoming scarcer as more and more job growth takes place at the high and low ends of the wage spectrum. How can we create opportunity for low-wage workers to move up? Past efforts to address this issue have sometimes emphasized the differences between workers in different wage groups. But this often masks the specific information needed to solve the challenge.

By María Gabriela Huertas Díaz
October 10, 2013

Since rolling out on August 29, Bay Area Bike Share has logged an estimated 21,138 bicycle trips and 4,380 casual members. Not bad for a pilot program.  But in order for it to last — and grow — it’s important to ask how we can translate this initial success into a long-term one. The future of the program faces two immediate issues: how to fund it and how to make it work at its unique regional scale.

by Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
October 2, 2013

One of the biggest challenges urban farmers face is access to land. Signed into law on September 28, the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act — introduced by Assembly Member Phil Ting and supported by more than 25 organizations across the state — will increase the use of privately owned, vacant land for urban agriculture and improve land security for urban ag projects.

by María Gabriela Huertas Díaz
August 7, 2013

The San Jose Flea Market hosts one of the country’s most extensive collections of items for sale, building upon San Jose’s legacy as a city of many people and cultures. The flea market opened in 1960 with 20 vendors brought together by George Bumb, a man with a vision to sell usable items that he saw being sent to landfills. Since then it has grown to become the largest continuous flea market in the nation, welcoming 4 million visitors a year.

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