A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

California Leaders Invest in Economic Security

With the passage of a $17 billion inflation relief package, the California Legislature and Governor Newsom built on the economic stimulus efforts of the past two years by getting cash into the hands of Californians and investing in programs to help people make ends meet. By continuing to invest in helping people who have been most destabilized by the pandemic, and who suffer the most under inflation, California can take meaningful steps toward building economic security for all people.

Proposed “Parking Cash-Out” Bill Aims to Level the Commute Playing Field for Non-Drivers

A bill to give California commuters more options for sustainable transportation is getting strong support. Assembly Bill 2206 would make it easier for employers to implement a California law known as parking cash-out, which requires companies that provide free employee parking to offer the cash equivalent to those who choose not to drive to work. SPUR explored the benefits of parking cash-out at a digital discourse earlier this year.

Staff Profile: Eli Zigas, 11-Year Spurrito

This year, SPUR is celebrating staff members — a.k.a. “Spurritos”— who have served the organization for 10 years or more. This month we profile Food and Agriculture Policy Director Eli Zigas, who launched this policy area at SPUR in 2011 and today continues to lead our work to create healthy, just and sustainable food systems and put an end to food insecurity.

Moving San Francisco’s Guaranteed Income Programs From Pilot to Policy

During the pandemic, federal stimulus funds sent as cash transfers gave many people the money they needed to survive. Organizations across the country started cash transfer programs to help those who needed it most. These bold moves helped bring guaranteed income to the forefront of a national conversation on how best to alleviate poverty and tackle growing income inequality. SPUR recently participated in an effort to begin turning San Francisco’s guaranteed income pilot programs into permanent policies.

Op-Ed: It's Time for Smart, Affordable Transportation

If Governor Newsom and the state legislature act now, they can help Californians spend less on gas by delivering transportation options that are better for the environment. Our op-ed with Capitol Weekly proposes that they should support $2 billion for the Active Transportation Program this June alongside increased investments in transit.

Setting the Region’s First Connected Network Plan Up for Success

The Bay Area’s plan for stabilizing and reimagining public transit in the wake of COVID-19 calls for a connected network plan, a strategic vision to guide planning and investment. In this article, we’ll look at what a network plan is, why it’s important to do one and how it differs from other kinds of transportation plans. We’ll also recommend a scope for the Bay Area’s connected network plan.

Staff Profile: Karen Steen, 11-year Spurrito

This year, SPUR is celebrating staff members — a.k.a. “Spurritos”— who have served the organization for 10 years or more. This month we profile Communications Director Karen Steen, who oversees SPUR’s communications, messaging and publications while also maintaining SPUR’s brand across the region. Karen is responsible for ensuring the high quality of SPUR’s publications.

How Cities Can Make the Most of California’s High-Speed Rail Investment

Over the summer and fall of 2021, SPUR and the California High-Speed Rail Authority produced a series of webinars to help cities make the most of high-speed rail stations and station areas. We’ve gathered some of the key themes and best practices we learned about, along with the concrete steps station cities and the authority can take to get the most from this generational investment.

SPUR’s Vision for a San Francisco That Welcomes Everyone

Incoming San Francisco Director Sujata Srivastava shares her goals and vision for SPUR’s work in San Francisco. She encourages us to let go of false narratives that urban development is a zero-sum game and instead embrace a mindset of abundance, where the city welcomes new growth, builds much-needed housing and closes the racial wealth gap. Through sustained dialogue and civic engagement, we can begin to build a sense of belonging and develop a policy agenda that leads to systemic change.

Lessons Learned From California’s COVID-19 Water Debt Relief Program

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Legislature established the California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program to provide financial relief for unpaid water bills. But water affordability struggles won’t end with the pandemic. The state will need to build upon its first experiment with water bill assistance to weather ongoing climate change and income inequality. SPUR investigates the success of the $985 million program and looks at lessons learned.