Northern News

APA-CA-logo-no-tagline

A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

Free SPUR events for March and April

Because SPUR believes “education empowers people to take an active role in creating a more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous region,” the organization has made “the majority of its programming free to the public.” Here is their calendar for the balance of March 2022 and April.

SAN FRANCISCO + SAN JOSÉ + OAKLAND

The California Legislature’s 2022 Housing Agenda

Thursday, March 24. Lunchtime Forum 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

As California’s legislative year unfolds, the ongoing challenges of housing affordability, homelessness and neighborhood opposition to development continue to negatively impact lives and make headlines. Dozens of new housing bills have recently been introduced and amended, including measures that would expand the state’s Density Bonus Law for affordable housing developments, clarify the post-entitlement permitting process and create a “First Look” program that would give prospective owner-occupants and public entities priority in purchasing foreclosed properties. In addition, the state legislature is reviewing the various aspects of Governor Newsom’s proposed budget and housing advocacy organizations are weighing in with requests. Join us to hear from advocates in Sacramento who are making budget requests and sponsoring some of this year’s key housing legislation. We’ll identify the key bills to watch, provide an analysis of each and discuss prospects for making progress on the housing front.

.

SAN FRANCISCO + SAN JOSÉ + OAKLAND

A Hands-On Exploration of the Bay Area Parking Census

Tuesday, March 29. Lunchtime Forum 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

The Mineta Transportation Institute, in partnership with SPUR and researchers at Arizona State University, recently created a parking census of the Bay Area has revealed the true enormity of land that we dedicate to our cars: 15 million spaces spread across the region’s nine counties. To coincide with the launch of this census we’re also releasing the database that was used as the backbone for our research. This innovative, publicly-available tool can serve as an important asset to help policymakers and planners throughout the Bay Area make more strategic decisions about parking. But such a tool is only useful if you know what to do with it. Take part in an interactive workshop to learn how this data-rich index of the region’s parking surfeit can be wielded to inform policy changes, both big and small, in your own city.

.

SAN FRANCISCO + SAN JOSÉ + OAKLAND

Eliminating Barriers to Common-Sense Transportation Projects

Thursday, March 31. Lunchtime Forum 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Senate Bill 288, championed by Senator Wiener and signed into law in 2020, provides targeted California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) exemptions to jumpstart common-sense, sustainable transit and active transportation projects that make limited public dollars go further and result in a safer, healthier and equitable future for all Californians. The law significantly reduces the chances that projects will be appealed or litigated, therefore making it faster to deploy the type of infrastructure we need to fight climate pollution and improve transportation equity. Projects expedited by this process are already hitting the streets but, unless an extension is approved, the law will expire at the end of 2022. Come explore SB 288’s impact across California so far and learn about what the future may hold the law.

.

SAN FRANCISCO

Dream Play Build [In-Person Program]

Monday, April 4. Lunchtime Forum 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

People love their communities and want them to become safer, healthier, and more prosperous places. But the standard approach to public meetings somehow makes everyone miserable, and conversations that should be inspiring regularly become shouting matches. What would it look like to facilitate truly meaningful and productive discussions between citizens and planners? And what if they could even be fun? The new book, Dream Play Build, shares ways to shake up the classic community meeting by building common ground and inviting active participation among diverse groups. Join authors James Rojas and John Kamp, two designers who have spent their careers successfully weaving storytelling and hands-on interaction into traditional design processes, for a hands-on exploration of some of the artful, playful lessons and methods that encourage individuals to make change within the landscape around them.

.

SAN FRANCISCO + SAN JOSÉ + OAKLAND

The Future of Treasure Island is Nearly Here

Thursday, April 7. Lunchtime Forum 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island, situated in the heart of the San Francisco Bay, share a long history. From providing an anchor for the Bay Bridge to hosting the Golden Gate International Exposition and, subsequently, the US Navy, the islands have seen considerable change over the last century. But both are now undergoing a truly radical evolution. Geotechnical work, new streets, utilities, and infrastructure are being completed, new freeway ramps and a new ferry landing are in place and new housing, both market-rate and affordable, will be ready for occupancy in 2022. Join us to hear about Treasure Island’s past, the plan for its future, and a progress update on the grand vision that San Francisco adopted over a decade ago.

.

SAN FRANCISCO + SAN JOSÉ + OAKLAND

What It Takes to Deliver Affordable Homes for Bay Area School Employees

Thursday, April 7. Evening Forum 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Due to the high cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area, school districts here face significant challenges in attracting and retaining teachers and staff. Join us for this digital discourse to learn about the County of Santa Clara’s 110-unit teacher housing project in Palo Alto, funded in part with a $25 million contribution from Meta, and in partnership with the City of Palo Alto and local school districts and Jefferson Union High School District’s efforts including the $33 million general obligation bond, Measure J, approved by voters in 2018 to fund 80 units of housing for teachers and staff in northern San Mateo County. We’ll learn about the opportunities, obstacles, and lessons learned as well as how these initiatives might be replicated throughout our region.

.

SAN FRANCISCO + SAN JOSÉ + OAKLAND

Bolstering State Leadership on Regional Transit Priority

Wednesday, April 13. Evening Forum 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

One standout component of The Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s (MTC) recently released Bay Area Transit Transformation Action Plan is a commitment to improving bus speed and reliability. Faster and more reliable bus service not only improves the ridership experience, it also supports a more coordinated regional transit network and allows transit agencies to deliver more service for the money. However, success will require leadership from California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), because the agency maintains authority of the state highways that serve not only numerous bus routes, but a planned future network of regional express bus service. MTC posits that a stronger leadership role and clearer guidance from Caltrans’ headquarters could influence the agency’s regional offices in how they support transit priority projects. Come participate in a conversation between the major stakeholders involved in this process as they discuss the steps that Caltrans leadership can take to accelerate the delivery and effectiveness of roadway changes and support improved bus speed and reliability.

.

SAN JOSÉ

Lend Your Voice to Shape Downtown’s Transportation Future [In-Person Program]

Thursday, April 14. Evening Forum 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Despite too often being the domain of cars, streets are the primary public spaces of our daily lives. Designing them to better meet the needs of San José residents will help build a more vibrant and welcoming downtown. Downtown is seeing major investments that will affect the day-to-day choices of people traveling in the area. Against this backdrop, the City of San José is undertaking the Downtown Transportation Plan to guide these investments. The plan aims to deliver a safer, healthier, more enjoyable, and more affordable way to move throughout the city’s urban core. But it’s a process that depends on public feedback to be truly successful. In this forum, the Downtown Transportation Plan team will give a preview of the draft plan. Come provide your thoughts on what you see and help the city advance the transportation moves – both big and small – that will shape the future of downtown San José.

.

SAN FRANCISCO + SAN JOSÉ + OAKLAND

How a New State Program Could Drive a Dramatically Healthier California

Wednesday, April 20. Lunchtime Forum 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Imagine a program that could reduce hunger and improve health for low-income Californians, while simultaneously supporting California farmers. Now imagine that accessing such a program is as easy as shopping at grocery stores and farmers markets statewide. This vision — one that builds upon years of pilot projects that tested supplemental benefit programs (also known as healthy food incentive programs) that incentivized the purchase of fruits and vegetables — could move closer to reality if a proposal that is currently pending in the California State Legislature passes this year. Join us for a discussion of what expanding this ambitious benefit program would mean, how it would work and who would benefit.

.

SAN FRANCISCO

Learning from a Career Dedicated to Social Service [In-Person Program]

Thursday, April 21. Lunchtime Forum 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Jeff Kositsky has spent his career working to shape the Bay Area into a place for everyone. After years of leading impactful non-profit organizations such as Community Housing Partnership and Hamilton Families, he was appointed by former San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee in 2016 to found the city’s new Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, an agency designed to prevent and end homelessness for individuals, families, and youth. Four years later, he was appointed by Mayor London Breed to head the city’s Healthy Street Operations Center, a multi-departmental collaboration that assists unsheltered individuals while improving the quality of life for all San Franciscans — a role he held until late 2021. Join us for a conversation with San Francisco’s former “homelessness czar” as we discuss the throughline of his career, what he’s learned about the seeming intractability of homelessness and what it will truly take to get all Bay Area residents into homes.

.

SAN FRANCISCO + SAN JOSÉ + OAKLAND

Can New Federal Funding Kickstart the Region’s Transportation Goals?

Thursday, April 21. Evening Forum 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Transportation infrastructure funding will be flowing to the region in greater sums than usual over the coming few years. The Infrastructure Jobs and Investment Act, passed by Congress in 2021, when combined with California’s own surplus spending, creates a unique opportunity to advance some of the Bay Area’s top transportation priorities. Come hear the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and a panel of innovative transportation leaders as they discuss what this once-in-a-generation influx of funding means to the region, the major new funding opportunities that exist, and how MTC is working to organize the region’s many players to advance Plan Bay Area 2050.

.

SAN FRANCISCO

A Culmination of the Presidio Parkway [In-Person Program]

Monday, April 25. Lunchtime Forum 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.

This spring, the Presidio will open Battery Bluff, six acres of beautiful new open space created atop one set of Presidio Parkway tunnels through the national park site. Combined with the upcoming Presidio Tunnel Tops, a total of 36-acres of new public parkland will be added to the Presidio, and the bayshore will be reconnected to the historic heart of the park for the first time in eight decades. This moment marks the culmination of a three-decade government and community effort, championed by SPUR and numerous government agencies, to replace the seismically unsafe Doyle Drive with a new roadway, designed by the late Michael Painter, that would fit seamlessly into the park landscape. Join key actors in the design and construction process to hear this remarkable story of how government and community collaboration led to a world-class open space. Attendees will receive a new book commemorating the Presidio Parkway development, Parkway for the People, by Kristina Woolsey.

 

SAN FRANCISCO

Touring the Presidio’s Battery Bluff

Thursday, April 28. Tour 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Though the Presidio Parkway, the replacement for the seismically-unsafe Doyle Drive, opened in 2015, the project was far from over. In the years since, work has been underway to take advantage of the roadways’ improved design to restore wetlands and create new open spaces for visitors on and around the tunnels through the national park site. The historic heart of the Presidio will now be reconnected to the park’s northern waterfront for the first time since 1937. One restoration site will open this spring. Battery Bluff, a six-acre open space, promises sweeping views of the Golden Gate, Angel Island, and Alcatraz. The landscape includes picnic tables, restored historic gun batteries, and a new multi-use segment of the Presidio Promenade trail to the Golden Gate Bridge. Come for a behind-the-scenes tour of Battery Bluff and see parts of the Presidio that have been off-limits to the public for 80 years. In partnership with the Presidio Trust.

Return to Northern News here.