• News

    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

The Year Ahead: SPUR's Agenda for 2013

January 15, 2013 By Gabriel Metcalf, Executive Director
2012 was a big year for SPUR and for the urbanist agenda. Years of work culminated in dramatic victories on the November ballot: San Francisco voters created a Housing Trust Fund , passed a parks bond and reformed the business tax . San Francisco also adopted the Transit Center District Plan for the part of downtown surrounding the new Transbay Transit Center. The Central Subway and the electrification of Caltrain were fully funded. State legislators gave the green light to begin building the initial segment of California’s high-speed rail system. And SPUR completed the Ocean Bean Master Plan and began its implementation. It was also the year we launched SPUR San Jose , marking a major expansion of our work to support the urbanist agenda in the Bay Area’s largest city. Can we top this in 2013? We’ll sure try. Here is a sneak preview of some of the big...

At Last: Bike Racks at the Urban Center!

January 10, 2013 By Molly Schremmer
Ever since the SPUR Urban Center opened in 2009, our bike-riding members have asked, “If SPUR supports cycling, why don’t you have bike racks?” It’s a long story, and it finally came to a close in December when the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District (YBCBD) unveiled the first of a new fleet of bike racks in the Yerba Buena district. Today, SPUR is happy to announce that three of these artful bike racks have been installed in front of the Urban Center at 654 Mission Street! The installation of a bike rack on January 9. The story begins in 2006, when a court injunction placed a hold on all projects laid out in San Francisco’s formerly approved Bicycle Plan , including bike lane striping and installation of any bike parking. The injunction was the result of a lawsuit by a local blogger who claimed the city ought to have done...

BART Metro: Bridging BART's Two Identities

December 12, 2012 By Molly Schremmer
In November, BART released conceptual plans for a multi-billion dollar rejuvenation that would introduce a new wave of service called BART Metro. BART expects vast ridership expansion in the next several years, and these changes would allow 50 percent growth by 2025.

A Future for Farming in the Coyote Valley?

November 19, 2012 by Eli Zigas, Food Systems and Urban Agriculture Program Manager
Southern Santa Clara County used to have a widespread and thriving agricultural sector, helping the area earn the name “Valley of the Heart’s Delight.” Today, much of that famed farmland has been replaced with homes and offices. One exception is the Coyote Valley, a narrow, 5-mile-long area between southern San Jose and Morgan Hill . Before the recent economic downturn, much of Coyote Valley was slated for development, and intense land speculation had driven up property prices. After 2008, however, local open-space and agriculture advocates saw a sharp drop in the development pressure and wondered whether it would be economically feasible for Coyote Valley to retain its agricultural character. That question led Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE) to conduct an in-depth feasibility study over the past eighteen months. In its report, Coyote Valley: Sustaining Agriculture and Conservation , SAGE concludes that an agricultural economy is feasible for the area if significant...

SPUR Ballot Endorsements Sweep Election 2012

November 19, 2012 By Corey Marshall, Good Government Policy Director
While the majority of voters were lost in a sea of presidential fervor, San Francisco was busy having a historic local election. On the ballot were a number of important issues — from education to parks, housing to taxation. Here’s how the verdicts came down on four important measures.

City Trip to Oakland: SPUR Explores the Sunny Side of the Bay

November 16, 2012 By Tomiquia Moss, Community Planning Policy Director
Last month, SPUR organized a two-day study trip to Oakland for our board and staff members to get a glimpse of what's happening in this great city. While recent media reports have focused on corporate protests and vandalism, Mayor Jean Quan describes Oakland as a “city on the rise” — and from what we saw, we strongly agree.

Prop. A Alone Won’t Save City College

November 15, 2012 By Corey Marshall, Good Government Policy Director
City College of San Francisco (CCSF) Interim chancellor Pamila Fisher offered a blunt assessment of the state of the college at a SPUR breakfast on October 17, just two days after the school released an action plan to address deficiencies identified by the Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. “Our commitment to San Francisco values has sometimes gotten in the way of making good decisions,” she told the audience. The words were striking given CCSF’s recent trajectory. With nine campuses, 100 instructional sites and just shy of 90,000 students, City College of San Francisco is the largest two-year community college in California. It is also a valued workforce development partner for the city and one of the largest providers of English as a second language (ESL) instruction in San Francisco. The days since submission of the action plan have revealed just how painful changes are going to be at...

Cap and Trade Is Here at Last

November 13, 2012 By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
This week, one of the most important pieces of the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act (Assembly Bill 32) goes live: the first-ever quarterly auction of carbon permits under California’s Cap and Trade program is set for Wednesday, November 14. California’s cap and trade program for greenhouse gases is designed to help achieve an 80 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. To learn more about the opportunities and challenges of cap and trade implementation, we hosted a forum at SPUR last week featuring Kate Gordon, director of the energy program at the Center for the Next Generation , Alex Jackson, energy program attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council , and Brad Neff, cap and trade implementation manager at PG&E . Here are some of the insights they shared about what we can expect from cap and trade. Gordon explained how California’s efforts to implement market...

2012 Silver SPUR: How Dr. Edward Chow Champions Healthcare for All

November 12, 2012
Edward A. Chow, M.D., a native San Franciscan, has been addressing health needs, access and disparities for more than four decades. Working with the Chinese Hospital and its physicians, he helped create the Chinese Community Health Plan, the nation’s first culturally competent health plan dedicated to the needs of an Asian community. He has served under five mayors on the San Francisco Health Commission, where he advocated for the rebuilding of its two public hospitals and established neighborhood primary care clinics. He is a founder and leader of numerous organizations, including most recently the National Council of Asian and Pacific Islander Physicians. Learn about our other 2012 Silver SPUR honorees: How Mildred Howard Creates Community With Art >> How Rabbi Stephen Pearce's Interfaith Collaboration Builds a Better City >> How John K. Stewart Brings Equity to the Housing Market >>

2012 Silver SPUR Awards: How Mildred Howard Creates Community With Art

November 12, 2012
Mildred Howard is an acclaimed mixed-media installation artist, activist, teacher, mother and grandmother, born and raised in the Bay Area. The Oakland Museum of California, the de Young Museum, SFMOMA, the San Jose Museum of Art and the Museum of the African Diaspora have all exhibited her work. She has received prestigious grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. Local works include Three Shades of Blue on Fillmore Street and The Music of Language on Glide Memorial’s family housing building. With an eye toward the built environment and its impact on daily life, Mildred has shaped how we experience the public realm. Learn about our other 2012 Silver SPUR honorees: How Dr. Edward Chow Champions Healthcare for All >> How Rabbi Stephen Pearce's Interfaith Collaboration Builds a Better City >> How John K. Stewart Brings Equity to the Housing...

Get Email Updates

Get SPUR news and events delivered straight to your email inbox.

Sign up now