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    A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

How Oakland’s Housing Boom Can Help Prevent Displacement

September 30, 2019 By Robert Ogilvie, Oakland Director
Oakland’s annual rent increase has slowed dramatically as the amount of new housing has skyrocketed. Some developers are even offering free rent to lure prospective tenants. This is welcome news for renters who can afford market-rate rents, but the benefits are not limited to them. New research demonstrates that construction of market-rate housing can have positive effects for those who already live in the neighborhood.

$30 Million in Soda Tax Revenue: What Will It Fund in San Francisco and Oakland?

September 27, 2019 By Katie Ettman, Food and Agriculture Policy Associate
San Francisco and Oakland will spend a combined $29.5 million in soda taxes this year. Now that elected officials have passed budgets in both cities, we can answer two questions: How do both cities plan to spend the revenue? And have San Francisco and Oakland followed the recommendations of their respective soda tax advisory committees?

It’s Time to Think Bigger About the Future of Caltrain

September 26, 2019 By Laura Tolkoff, Regional Planning Policy Director
As Silicon Valley’s economy and population grow, the Peninsula is in dire need of transportation solutions. Caltrain has the potential to provide frequent, all-day transit service that could greatly reduce driving and serve more people. To deliver on this service vision, Caltrain must also develop a bigger organizational vision. One that enables it to meet the needs — and challenges — of the future.

What Will It Take to Deliver Bus Rapid Transit in the Bay Area?

August 26, 2019 By Amy Thomson and Arielle Fleisher
Bus rapid transit has been delivering better transportation options in cities around the world for 20 years — but it’s still a work in progress in the Bay Area. Only one BRT project has been built here, and others have encountered significant hurdles. What will it take to deliver BRT in the Bay Area?

Updating San Jose’s Urban Vision

August 20, 2019 By Michelle Huttenhoff and Hannah Bretschneider
Every four years, the City of San Jose reviews and updates selected elements of its general plan, Envision San Jose 2040. Since the last review in 2015, the city has seen incredible demand for development, which requires the community to think comprehensively when it comes to this year's update. SPUR supports the items the city proposes to focus on and suggests additional items to consider.

How Are San Francisco Schools Doing on Their Commitment to Better Food?

August 15, 2019 By Katie Ettman, Food and Agriculture Policy Associate
In 2016 the San Francisco Unified School District adopted the Good Food Purchasing Policy, setting criteria and goals for sourcing food ethically, providing healthy options and honoring fair labor practices. Recently, Student Nutrition Services Director Jennifer LeBarre came to SPUR to give an update on how the district is doing on meeting its goals.
Eddy and Taylor Apartments

How Has San Francisco Done on Addressing Housing and Homelessness?

August 15, 2019 By Susannah Parsons, Chief of Staff, and Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
Just before San Francisco’s 2018 mayoral election, SPUR released San Francisco’s Next Mayor: A Blueprint for Change, a policy agenda for the city's next leader. One year later, we took a look back at the progress that Mayor Breed and the Board of Supervisors have made toward those recommendations, specifically on housing and homelessness.

Time to Rethink How Oakland Passes Budgets

July 30, 2019 By Robert Ogilvie, Oakland Director
July marked the beginning of the new fiscal year for the City of Oakland, and with it the end of a rancorous two-month-long adoption process for a new two-year budget. Without a city controller to establish a common set of financial facts, the debate in Oakland is not only over which priorities to fund but whose numbers to believe.

Scooters, Bikes and Buses: Reclaiming Pilot Projects for the Public Good

July 19, 2019 By Arielle Fleisher and Chris Chou*
Hidden beneath the buzz over new transportation technologies is a quiet revolution in the way cities manage their streets. In the face of rapid change, public agencies are increasingly relying on pilot programs to introduce new modes of transportation and new uses of streets. Yet pilots are too often focused on responding to technology trends. It’s time they evolved to focus on cities and people.

What’s Next for Housing Now That SB 50 Has Been Deferred to 2020?

May 22, 2019 By Kristy Wang, Community Planning Policy Director
Earlier this month, controversial state zoning bill SB 50 was denied a committee hearing, meaning the state legislature won't pass it in 2019. But the push to increase housing supply goes on. Quite a number of other housing bills are still under consideration, and SPUR is supporting many of them.

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