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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Why You Need to Vote No on the Gas Tax Repeal

July 16, 2018 By Allison Arieff, Editorial Director
Last year's passage of state transportation funding bill SB1 represented a monumental win for California and the Bay Area. But this victory may have been short-lived: Proposition 6, a ballot measure to repeal SB1, will go to California voters in November. The proposed repeal is a vote against safe streets, roads and infrastructure in favor of greater subsidies for driving.

San Jose's First BART Station: More Than a Transit Project

July 12, 2018 By Jaclyn Tidwell, San Jose Policy Director 
The opening of San Jose’s first BART station marks an important moment for the city. After decades of planning, San Jose will finally connect to the regional rail system. But the potential benefits extend far beyond the station. The city has a unique chance to create a dynamic urban village at Berryessa, its first station, and set a strong precedent for future station area development.

Remembering Michael Painter

July 5, 2018 By Egon Terplan and Benjamin Grant
Noted landscape architect Michael Painter, a former SPUR board member, board chair and 2014 Silver SPUR Award honoree, passed away on June 28. Michael’s long and prolific career left a great legacy in the Bay Area and across the country, with 856 finished projects and 49 years of service.

How to Be a Local Government Change Maker

July 5, 2018 By Susannah Parsons, Chief of Staff
Since 2008, the City Halls Fellows program has placed college graduates in local governments around the U.S. At a recent SPUR forum , former fellows and city employees discussed their experiences and advice on what it takes to make change in local government — both how to have impact as a citizen and how to make innovative changes in government from the inside out.

At Last, the Tide Turns on Downtown Oakland’s Office Market

July 3, 2018 By Robert Ogilvie, Oakland Director
Downtown Oakland now has the tightest commercial market in the country, with a vacancy rate of 5.3 percent. As a result, commercial rents in downtown Oakland have shot up. After many years of construction costs stubbornly remaining higher than commercial rents, it has finally become financially feasible to build new office buildings downtown.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Affordable Housing: A Primer

June 21, 2018 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
The dramatic escalation of housing prices in the Bay Area has sparked a lot of discussion about affordability — but what do we mean by “affordable” housing? Who is it for? How is it funded and created? Our primer explains all.

Where Exactly Is “the Bay Area”?

June 19, 2018 By Egon Terplan and Sarah Jo Szambelan
The San Francisco Bay Area has long been understood as the nine counties that touch the Bay — but this border doesn’t always hold. Addressing many of our current regional challenges — such as job access, housing affordability and congestion — will require working at many scales. Given this, is the traditional nine-county definition the correct scale for SPUR's Regional Strategy project?

What Guadalupe River Park Can Learn From New York’s High Line

June 6, 2018 By Teresa Alvarado and Jaclyn Tidwell
This spring SPUR hosted Adam Ganser of Friends of the High Line to share the story of New York City’s linear park built atop a disused freight rail trestle. To help kick off a new SPUR initiative to re-imagine San Jose’s Guadalupe River Park, Ganser shared the High Line’s history, as well as lessons learned from this national model in public space development.

Strategies for San Jose’s South First Area Arts District

June 5, 2018 By Jaclyn Tidwell, San Jose Policy Director
San Jose’s South First Area has become the downtown destination for discovering visual art, food, culture, music and more. Over the last year, SPUR worked with stakeholders and compiled research to guide city and community leaders as they face growth pressures in SoFA. Together we have looked at how the city can add residential units while preserving and enhancing the unique culture of the district.

After Coyote Creek, Is San Jose Ready for Future Floods?

May 31, 2018 By Kathryn Exon Smith, Program Assistant
When Coyote Creek flooded in February 2017, it caused an estimated $73 million in property damage to San Jose homes and businesses and prompted 14,000 residents to evacuate, some by boat. At a recent SPUR forum in San Jose , local officials outlined some of the changes their organizations have made in response to the flood and its aftermath.

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