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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

What 2016 Meant for Bay Area Cities

December 20, 2016 By Gabriel Metcalf, President and CEO
So much happened in 2016. It was a year that saw major progress, along with major setbacks. And the outcome of the national election raised the stakes even higher. Here’s a look at the highs and lows — and where SPUR will be focusing its energies in the new year.

Lessons for Diridon: Revitalizing Toronto’s Union Station

December 20, 2016 By Alex Shoor, San Jose Special Projects Assistant, and Laura Tolkoff, San Jose Policy Director
Over the next few months, public agencies will be working together to set the remaking of Diridon Station in motion. During this critical period, it’s important to be thinking boldly about what’s possible. Toronto’s primary transit hub, the historic Union Station, is nearing completion of a major revitalization project scheduled for completion in 2018. Its context and complexity make it a good parallel to Diridon.

After the Ghost Ship

December 13, 2016 By Robert Ogilvie, Oakland Director
The fire at the Ghost Ship artists collective in the Fruitvale district was the most lethal fire in Oakland’s history and the worst in the state since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. How can property owners and the City of Oakland make places like the Ghost Ship safe without making them so expensive that they cease to be affordable?

VTA’s Big Move to Grow Transit Ridership

December 6, 2016 By Laura Tolkoff, San Jose Policy Director
What kinds of changes can we make to encourage more people to use transit more of the time? The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority will be asking questions like this as it launches the Next Network, a system-wide redesign intended to grow ridership, improve its fiscal footing and serve BART.

How to Spend the Bay Area’s New Transportation Dollars

December 1, 2016 By Ratna Amin, Transportation Policy Director
Bay Area voters have approved more than $10 billion in new transportation funding. The majority of the new revenue is for projects and goals SPUR supports, but if we have learned anything over decades of being involved in urban transportation, it’s that well-intentioned and well-funded projects can still fail if we don’t get the details right. Here’s what we’ll be watching closely.

Yes in My Backyard: More In-Law Units in San Jose

November 30, 2016 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
Last week San Jose became the latest Bay Area city to update its in-law unit ordinances to better serve the need for housing solutions. Once illegal in many cities, this simple way to add more housing — create an additional unit in the backyard, basement, attic or garage — has become a welcome tool in the fight to make urban housing affordable.

Plan Bay Area Reveals the Need to Change Regional Planning Tools

November 29, 2016 By Egon Terplan, Regional Planning Director
The latest update to Plan Bay Area is now underway — and its findings have revealed some troubling flaws in the planning tools we have for managing our region’s biggest challenges: making housing affordable and maintaining our transportation infrastructure. Now that these issues have been made apparent, it’s time to ask what we should be doing differently.

Where We Go From Here — and How You Can Help

November 29, 2016
Regardless of what our nation’s new leadership will mean for the issues SPUR works on, here in the Bay Area we are moving ahead, taking dramatic steps to make the world better. SPUR is tackling the big issues our cities face, from fighting climate change to putting economic prosperity in everyone's reach — but we can't do it without your help.

2016 Silver SPUR Awards: How Rose Pak Empowered a Community and Transformed the City

November 23, 2016
The late Rose Pak championed San Francisco’s Asian-American community for more than four decades. Her life work of building the community’s social, cultural and political influence empowered and gave voice to Chinese-Americans in San Francisco politics. Among her legacies are the many neighborhood nonprofits which prospered through her support, as well as the Central Subway station.

2016 Silver SPUR Awards: How Mark Buell Preserves Open Space For Future Generations

November 23, 2016
Mark Buell is the president of the Recreation and Parks Commission and chair of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Buell has sought to ensure Bay Area parkland remains accessible and protected for future generations. His legacies include the $35 million restoration of Crissy Field, the Muir Woods Visitor Center and Cavallo Point.

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