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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Can a New Law Free Cities From Car-Oriented Development?

June 26, 2014 By Libby Nachman and Ratna Amin
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.

How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Roundabouts

June 25, 2014 By Maria Bakali and Benjamin Grant
SPUR is leading a transportation study at Ocean Beach to further develop the access and circulation recommendations of the Ocean Beach Master Plan. The transportation design team has proposed a new solution for Skyline Boulevard: a series of well designed modern roundabouts.

El Niño Brewing: Rough Waters Ahead for Ocean Beach?

June 19, 2014 By Benjamin Grant and Shannon Fiala
Recent data suggest that an El Niño weather pattern may develop in the Pacific Ocean this year. El Niños typically generate wetter and more frequent winter storms in California, with potential implications for erosion at Ocean Beach. What will these storms mean for the future of the beach, and for the recommendations in SPUR’s Ocean Beach Master Plan?

Why We Need the Central Subway in North Beach and Beyond

May 28, 2014 By Julienne Christensen
The Central Subway extension of the T-Third light rail to Chinatown doesn’t include a plan for future service to North Beach or the neighborhoods beyond. A community-led movement is ensuring the proper evaluation of the light rail extension. Residential, commercial, transit and tourist hubs are heavily concentrated on the eastern side of the city, yet not enough fast and reliable transit connections exist between them.

What’s Happening With California’s High-Speed Rail System

May 20, 2014 By Ben Tripousis and Boris Lipkin
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.

Show Us the Money: How Will Cap and Trade Revenues Be Spent?

May 6, 2014 By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
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?
Fort Mason Community Garden. Photo courtesy of Flickr user greychr

San Francisco’s New Urban Agriculture Program Up and Running

May 5, 2014 Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
After many months of planning, San Francisco’s new urban agriculture program launched in January . The program, designed to coordinate and increase the city’s support for city farmers and gardeners, recently released details about its first year priorities.

Can We Make Bay Area Transit Make Sense?

May 1, 2014 By Ratna Amin, Transportation Policy Director
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.

Bringing Water Consumption Down as the Drought Heats Up

April 22, 2014 By Keith Tanner
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.

Diridon Station: Big Investments, Big Opportunities

April 9, 2014 By Julia Chang and Alyssa Kies
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.

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