Regional Planning

Our goal: Concentrate growth inside existing cities.

SPUR's regional planning agenda:

 

• Focus housing growth in existing communities.
• Add new jobs in transit-accessible employment centers.
• Retrofit suburban office parks to increase density.
• Strengthen our regional agencies.
• Explore tax sharing.

 

Read more from SPUR’s Agenda for Change
  • White Paper

    Improving Regional Planning in the Bay Area

    Many attempts have been made to foster better collaboration between the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. A proposal to establish a merged planning department has again opened up the discussion about the future of regional planning in the Bay Area. SPUR recommends studying a full merger of the two agencies.

    Read More
  • Report

    Strengthening the Bay Area's Regional Governance

    The Bay Area economy has rebounded from the recession, but major regional challenges threaten our continued prosperity. SPUR makes the case that some of the biggest threats to the Bay Area’s long-term economic competitiveness are best addressed through better regional governance.

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  • Advocacy Letter

    SPUR’s Comments on Plan Bay Area

    Plan Bay Area is an important step forward in comprehensive regional planning in the Bay Area. Our comments on the plan address the gap between our vision of a more concentrated region and the tools available to achieve it.

    Read More
  • Ongoing Initiative

    The Future of Work

    In the last three decades, employment has spread from city centers to car-centric, low-density office parks. How can we move more jobs to places served by transit? SPUR looks at how to make this shift while strengthening innovation, job growth and the prosperity of the Bay Area.

    Read More
  • The Urbanist

    The Northern California Megaregion

    Northern California, home to 14 million people, is expected to add at least 10 million people by 2050. How we plan for and accommodate that growth is the defining question for urban planning in Northern California today.

    Read More
  • SPUR Report

    Beyond the Tracks

    California cities anticipating the rewards of new high-speed rail stations may fail to reap the full economic and environmental benefits without key land-use planning. SPUR identifies strategies that will contribute to the success of high-speed rail and help realize the full potential of this multi-billion-dollar system.

    Read More
  • Find more of SPUR's regional planning research

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Updates and Events

Why the MTC's Toll Lane Plan Won't Meet the Goals of Road Pricing

News September 27, 2011
The Bay Area has a lot to gain from pricing its freeways. Two of the major benefits are money for transit and less highway congestion. High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes are a miniature form of road pricing, offering solo drivers the option to buy their way into High-Occupancy Vehicle lanes and bypass the congested, more heavily-subsidized highway lanes. In 2008, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) proposed a plan to expand the region’s network of HOT lanes to 800 miles by 2035. This week , the agency is expected to approve a new plan for submission to the California Transportation Commission (CTC), but it would be scaled back significantly to 570 miles and would fall short of achieving the benefits of road pricing on several levels: Much of the planned network will expand highway lanes rather than converting existing ones to use them more efficiently. SPUR’s analysis shows that this will increase...

How Will 1.7 Million More People Cross the SF Bay?

News August 16, 2011
The San Francisco Bay Area is expected to grow by 1.7 million people in the next 25 years. SPUR has a few ideas. Our short animated film illustrates a few simple things we can do today, as well as one big idea for the future. SPUR's first forray into video animation enjoyed coverage from Fast Company and Streetsblog .

Shanghai Municipality and the Bay Area

Urbanist Article August 1, 2011
The Shanghai Municipality includes 17 districts as well as the city center. At 23 million people and 2,450 square miles, it is more comparable to the Bay Area than to San Francisco.

SPUR Weighs in on Regional Growth Scenarios

Policy Letter June 21, 2011
In a letter to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission on June 21, 2011, SPUR recommended that the scenarios for the Bay Area's Sustainable Communities Strategy/Regional Transportation Plan support more concentrated growth patterns.

Which Transportation Projects Will We Give up on to Help Reduce Emissions?

News April 26, 2011
Tomorrow, April 27, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) will vote on a final Committed Funds and Projects Policy for Plan Bay Area . This policy mouthful is an important step in defining which regional transportation projects will receive funding and which ones must undergo more thorough analysis. The vote will determine how many transportation projects will be scrutinized for their impact on greenhouse gases, driving, economic growth and other factors. Affected projects in could include highway widening, the Oakland Airport Connector and BART to San Jose. The issue before the MTC: deciding which projects are so far along that they shouldn’t be analyzed yet again under new criteria. The projects that are not further analyzed are considered “committed” and will be automatically included in the next Regional Transportation Plan. These committed projects will be included in all scenarios projecting the Bay Area’s future growth. What’s different this year: the next...

Saltworks Debate: the Pros and Cons of Bayfront Development

News April 11, 2011
California’s continued population growth was not up for debate at the SPUR Urban Center on March 29, but the Saltworks development project in Redwood City certainly was. At the latest event in our Debates Worth Having series, co-sponsored by The Bay Citizen, architect and urban planner Peter Calthorpe, the chief designer of Saltworks, and David Lewis, executive director of Save the Bay, presented their pointed arguments for and against the proposed project, which would occupy 1,400 acres of bayfront property adjacent to the Port of Redwood City. The plan would remediate the site, a former salt-harvesting operation, as a combination of housing, schools, parks, ball fields and restored wetlands. Calthorpe argued that the development would place affordable housing near existing jobs and integrate with transit, making it among the most environmentally sound options for the Bay Area — a region, he pointed out, that has been exporting housing to outlying...

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