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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Expanding Access to Healthy Food for Low-Income Californians

June 30, 2015 By Eli Zigas, Food and Agriculture Policy Director
Healthy food incentive programs — which provide low-income families with matching dollars to buy fruits and vegetables — have been gaining traction in policy circles recently. Why the increased attention? Because these programs work. Expanding them in California would significantly improve healthy food access.

How Can We Move More People Between SF and the East Bay?

June 29, 2015 By Dylan Pilaar, Erin McAuliff and Ratna Amin
Each day, nearly 600,000 commuters cross the bay between San Francisco and the East Bay. Bumper-to-bumper traffic is a given on the Bay Bridge, and BART ridership is at peak capacity. A second transbay rail tube will be essential to solving the crunch, but it will take years, or decades, to complete. Here’s how we can break the logjam in the meantime.

State Supreme Court Gives Boost to Affordable Housing

June 24, 2015 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
Last week, the California Supreme Court released a key ruling that allows cities to require new market-rate housing developments to include homes that are affordable to people with low or moderate incomes. The case that came to the court’s attention was focused on a 2010 City of San Jose ordinance, but the ruling has broader implications for cities across the state.

Why a Housing Moratorium Won’t Bring Rents Down — and What to Do Instead

June 4, 2015 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
The displacement occurring in the Mission District and elsewhere in San Francisco is indisputably tragic. But we should not be fooled into believing that passing moratoriums on new development is going to solve the city’s affordability crisis. This simply makes housing less available — and makes it likely that more people will be displaced. Here's what we should do instead.

A Cleaner Future for the Bay Area’s Energy (and Air)

June 2, 2015 By Laura Tam, Sustainable Development Policy Director
In the field of climate change policy, you might think the State of California —arguably home of the world’s most robust policies to reduce greenhouse gases — has got everything covered. And, you’re mostly right. But there’s much more we can do. A new report highlights three ways we can significantly clean up our air by making cleaner energy choices.

An Up Market Brings Housing, but Not Jobs, to Downtown San Jose

May 7, 2015 By Egon Terplan and Laura Tolkoff
2014 was the hottest recent year for real estate in downtown San Jose. Hundreds of residential units broke ground in new apartment towers, with several thousand more approved. While high-density housing in the transit-rich downtown is great, the city also needs to keep in mind the long-term availability of land for jobs — specifically sites that can accommodate large office buildings near future BART stations.

Could Mountain View’s Endorsement Jumpstart Silicon Valley BRT?

April 30, 2015 By Dylan Pilaar
Silicon Valley’s El Camino Real caters almost exclusively to private automobiles, but a recent decision from the Mountain View City Council may shift the boulevard’s car-first status quo. Last week, city leaders voted 3-2 in support of dedicated lanes for the El Camino Real Bus Rapid Transit project.

Why Do Transit Systems So Often Ignore Design?

April 23, 2015 By Dylan Pilaar
Great design can transform and enhance any user experience. Why, then, is thoughtful design often ignored within our transit systems? SPUR recently held a day of workshops and presentations, sponsored by TransitCenter, to explore the future of design and public transportation.

Muni’s New Map Takes a Step Toward Seamless Transit

April 9, 2015 By Allison Arieff, SPUR Editorial Director
This month, San Francisco will introduce a new transit map designed to give riders more information at a glance. First exhibited at SPUR in 2014 as part of our exhibition Urban Cartography , the new Muni map makes the complex web of San Francisco’s 82 municipal transit lines far easier to use and understand.
Market Match being used at a farmers' market.  Courtesy of the Ecology Center.

Healthy Food Incentive Programs Get a Big Boost from Uncle Sam

April 6, 2015 By Eli Zigas, Food and Agriculture Policy Director
The U.S. Department of Agriculture just gave a big shot in the arm to healthy food incentive programs. On April 1, the agency announced $31 million in grants to groups large and small — including three recipients in California — that provide matching dollars to low-income families who use their food assistance benefits to buy fruits and vegetables.

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