A look at urban issues in the Bay Area and beyond

Remembering Dave Hartley

SPUR’s long-time board member and former development director Dave Hartley, widely admired as a committed urbanist and great friend, died on July 12. Dave had a lifetime of loving cities, history and architecture, which he manifested over decades of civic engagement. We all watched in amazement each year as Dave set higher and higher fundraising goals for himself and, each year, met and exceeded them. His positive attitude and teamwork skills made him a fine colleague who welcomed the growing SPUR staff.

Envisioning a Brighter Future for BART in San José

SPUR is a long-time supporter of BART Phase II, which will bring BART service into downtown San José. The project gets many things right, but we think it can do more to reach its goal of making transit the first and best choice for more people and more types of trips. As VTA convenes a collaborative task force to explore and evaluate how to improve passenger experience and station access, we share our goals for BART Phase II and how we hope they can be translated into the project design.

What’s the Real Difference Between San Francisco’s Two Affordable Housing Ballot Measures?

This November, San Francisco voters will be asked to choose between two competing charter amendments to streamline the creation of new affordable and workforce housing, one co-sponsored by SPUR. On the face of it, Prop. D and Prop. E appear very similar. But the policy details included in these measures make a significant difference in the impact each would have on affordable housing production in San Francisco.

Our Bill to Make Healthy Food More Affordable Died in Committee. Here’s How Far We Got.

Earlier this year, the California Legislature considered a proposal aimed at making healthy food more affordable for Californians with low incomes. The proposal — introduced by Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula, co-sponsored by SPUR and Nourish California, and backed by a broad coalition — would have provided a penny-for-penny rebate for people buying California-grown fresh fruits and vegetables with their CalFresh dollars at participating retailers. Though the proposal didn’t pass this year, the momentum behind it demonstrated strong legislative interest in the idea, bipartisan support and positive response from people who see the value in expanding an existing program that reduces hunger, improves health and supports California’s agricultural economy.

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.