A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

November 2020 Election Results

This year, SPUR’s Voter Guide provided Bay Area voters with analysis and recommendations on 35 local, regional and state measures. Now that the dust has settled, a historic election in a historic year has produced a number of critical local wins in the Bay Area, despite some significant defeats.

Time to Reform Bay Area Sales Taxes

Taxes are more than revenue-raising tools: They reflect our collective sense of fairness and shared values. But most sales taxes are regressive, which means they hit low-income households hardest. A new SPUR report argues that a sales tax credit or similar cash benefit could address these impacts and advance a more just tax code and a more equitable region.

Shining a Light on the Invisible Costs of Driving

For most people in the Bay Area, getting somewhere means driving. It's the default option because it is most often easier and cheaper than any other option. But driving imposes serious costs on others: traffic, climate change, air pollution, and heart and lung disease. A new SPUR report shines a light on the invisible costs of driving and offers five strategies to address them.