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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

What’s Going Up in Downtown San Jose? Our Take on Three Trends

May 11, 2017 By Laura Tolkoff, San Jose Policy Director, and Joshua Brett, San Jose Policy Intern
The number of proposed developments in downtown San Jose is up — but only one project broke ground in the last year. Blocks are filling in with new businesses — but beloved Camera 12 Cinemas has shut its doors. These mixed signals make it hard to predict what the market will do next, but we’ve seen three clear trends play out in recent months.

Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones: Four Years In

May 1, 2017 By Eli Zigas, Food and Agriculture Policy Director
The Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act is about to turn four years old, and the California Legislature is considering a 10-year extension to allow the program more time to develop and give other jurisdictions more time to start incentive programs.

How Is Oakland Doing on Its Affordable Housing Goals?

April 26, 2017 By Robert Ogilvie, Oakland Director
The rate of increase in rents and home sale prices may have slowed, but Oakland still has the fourth highest rents in the nation, and housing remains unaffordable to too many. In 2016, the city set high goals for addressing the housing shortage — but how much progress has been made since then?

Why California’s New Transportation Bill Is a Really Big, Historic Deal

April 26, 2017 By Ratna Amin, Transportation Policy Director
Senate Bill 1, the state transportation funding bill passed by the Legislature this month, represents a monumental win for California and the Bay Area. Not only does it solve big problems for cities and transit agencies across the state, it shows that California can raise significant funding for transportation in an era of dwindling federal resources.

What’s Next for the Silicon Valley Economy?

April 24, 2017 By Laura Tolkoff, San Jose Policy Director
As the rate of economic growth begins to slow down, observers are asking what’s next for Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. Will the region’s miraculous growth continue? Will high housing costs ever come down? Joint Venture Silicon Valley’s Russ Hancock addressed some of these concerns when he presented the 2017 Silicon Valley Index at a SPUR forum in San Jose.

Why Central SoMa Needs to Focus on Jobs, Even in a Housing Shortage

April 20, 2017 By Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director, and Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
San Francisco will soon adopt the Central SoMa Plan, the city’s only current major neighborhood plan. In the 230-acre area, the plan changes the zoning to allow 45,000 jobs and 7,500 housing units. Considering the housing shortage, shouldn’t there be more focus on housing in the city’s only active neighborhood plan? Not necessarily. Here are five reasons we think the plan gets the mix right.

Getting to 5 Percent by 2020: Building Better Bikeways in San Jose

April 6, 2017 By Joshua Brett, San Jose Policy Intern
In 2009, San Jose set a goal: 500 miles of bikeways and 5 percent of commutes taken by bicycle by 2020. Since then, the city has added 95 new miles of bikeways, yet the share of people commuting by bike has barely inched up. A recent SPUR forum looked at the reasons why — and how the city can build a bike network for everybody.

Lessons for Diridon: Denver’s Success Story That Almost Didn’t Happen

April 5, 2017 By Laura Tolkoff, Alex Shoor and Kenichiro Suzuki
Since Denver Union Station reopened in 2014, it has become one of the nation’s best examples of a modern intermodal train station embedded in a transit-friendly urban neighborhood. The project has a number of important lessons for the team that’s planning the transformation of San Jose’s Diridon Station into a major transportation hub with the country’s first high-speed rail station.

2017 Good Government Awards: How Robert Beck Launched the Transformation of Treasure Island

April 4, 2017
The 2017 Good Government Awards, Held on March 22, recognized outstanding performances by Managers Working for the City and County of San Francisco. The ceremony honored Bob Beck, for his role in the transfer of nearly 300 acres of Treasure Island/Yerba Buena Island, and his leadership in the 25-year process of transforming the former naval base into a sustainable, mixed-use, high-density, transit-oriented space.

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