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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Where Do We Go From Here? SPUR Sets New Vision and Long-Range Goals

January 26, 2021 By Alicia John-Baptiste, President and CEO
With vaccines rolling out and stable national leadership in place, we can trust that we will, eventually, reemerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. The question now is: Reemerge into what? To return to “normal” would be to reembrace a way of living that was neither sustainable nor equitable. To meet this moment, SPUR has articulated a bold vision statement and evolved our organizational mission.

Five Ideas for Rebuilding Retail in the Post-Pandemic City

January 25, 2021 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
The growth of online shopping has thrown the fate of retail stores into question — a challenge exacerbated by COVID-19 lockdowns. As we plan for a future when gathering and in-person activities are safe again, it's time to look beyond a return to the status quo and rethink retail as a tool for social and economic transformation. SPUR proposes five experimental ideas to explore.

COVID-19 and San Francisco’s Budget Deficit Lead to Lingering Questions about Spending of Soda Tax Revenue

January 22, 2021 By Katie Ettman, Food and Agriculture Senior Policy Associate
Every year a committee of experts recommends how San Francisco's soda tax revenue should be spent. Unlike years past, the board and mayor did not adopt the majority of the recommendations most likely due to the financial toll COVID-19 has taken on cities. SPUR recommends that next year the mayor and Board of Supervisors follow the recommendations of the committee, allowing for greater transparency.

How to Repurpose Bay Area Freeways for Fast and Reliable Regional Public Transit

January 21, 2021 By Jonathon Kass, Interim Transportation Policy Manager
Imagine a Bay Area where your school, your job and your friend in the next county are no more than 30 minutes away via convenient, reliable buses zipping along uncongested freeway express lanes throughout the day. This vision is not just appealing — it's essential to delivering on our region’s transportation goals. SPUR’s latest report proposes a regional bus strategy to make it a reality.

How to Solve the Transit Budget Crunch: Price the Private Use of Public Streets

December 18, 2020 By Chris Elmendorf and Darien Shanske, UC Davis
COVID-19 has been catastrophic for public transit. Plunging fare and tax revenues are forcing drastic cuts. In a guest post for SPUR, two UC Davis law professors suggest that there’s a solution right under our feet: Make private drivers pay market rates to park on the public’s roads. And yes, they argue, it’s legal.

California Legislators Introduce New Bills as 2021 Session Kicks Off

December 15, 2020 By Michael Lane, San José Director
Last Monday, the California State Legislature convened to swear in members and introduce the first bills of the 2021-2022 legislative session. Here’s a round-up of notable bills that have already been introduced, including some key bills SPUR will be tracking.

2020 Vision: What This Year Taught Us to See

December 14, 2020 By Alicia John-Baptiste, President and CEO
It’s been a hard year, and many of us are eager to close the door on 2020. At the same time, we have come to understand that to return to “normal” would be to reembrace a way of living that was neither sustainable nor equitable. As we exit this year, it’s worth understanding what 2020 served up for our collective awareness.

Bold Moves on Building Electrification in the San Francisco Bay Area

December 9, 2020 By Laura Feinstein, Sustainability + Resilience Policy Director
The Bay Area’s three largest cities made headlines recently when they passed bold new rules to phase out fossil fuels in buildings. San José, San Francisco and Oakland now have plans to make most new construction all-electric. These actions will make the air cleaner to breathe and slash the region’s contributions to climate change.

How San Francisco Can Cut the Red Tape That Blocks Green Projects

December 6, 2020 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
Two San Francisco residents prompted widespread outcry when they delayed pandemic-response street projects by appealing them. Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Matt Haney recently introduced legislation that would help reduce the impact of potentially frivolous appeals on certain projects.The appeals delayed the implementation of two phases of Slow Streets, emergency transit lanes, a protected bike lane, and street closures to enable COVID-testing and food pantries.

Want Coordinated Transit? Make That Someone’s Job

December 1, 2020 By Jonathon Kass and Laura Tolkoff
What if the Bay Area’s two dozen transit systems had the same maps, fares and schedules? What if they were designed to function as a network? Could transit be faster and easier for more people to use? Currently, coordinating these services isn’t anyone’s job. A new SPUR report recommends establishing a single institution to coordinate transit operations across a cohesive regional network.

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