SPUR is one of the great urban planning non-profits in the world. Formally named San Francisco Planning and Urban Research, the organization is widely respected as a powerful and responsible advocate for making our city more livable as well as economically strong and esthetically beautiful.
Market Street Railway President Rick Laubscher was one of four San Franciscans honored last week with Silver SPUR awards, given annually for helping make “San Francisco and the Bay Area a better place to live and work.” Here’s the video SPUR showed of Rick.
SPUR’s announcement of Rick’s award said, in part, “Rick Laubscher is most well known for his transformative impact on Market Street’Â™s historic streetcars, but his transportation advocacy and commitment to San Francisco’Â™s important historic treasures extends well beyond the Market Street Railway. A fourth-generation San Franciscan, Rick and his family have long been engaged in the vibrant life of Market Street. Among his civic contributions, Rick served as founding board chair of The City Club of San Francisco, on SPUR’s board and transportation committee, and on the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce board. Over his career, Rick has been a radio and television news reporter, a corporate public relations executive and a civic activist.”
In his acceptance remarks to the 2,000 people attending the awards luncheon at Moscone West, Rick said he considers the honor to belong to all those who have worked so hard to keep historic transit a vibrant part of our city’s present, and, through expansion to Fort Mason and Mission Bay, an even bigger part of its future. He noted that It is the collective work of dozens of champions, both inside the city family — at Muni and other departments and in the political leadership — and among citizen-advocates in Market Street Railway and other organizations, that have brought San Francisco the F-line, the promise of the E-line, and enhanced cable car service.
Rick also invited those in the audience who share Market Street Railway’s view that Muni’s historic streetcars should be an even more important part of the city’s future to get involved as advocates for the streetcars, either by joining MSR or by acting independently to let city decision-makers know of their support. He said, “We especially welcome the involvement of a new generation of San Franciscans in helping us integrate the historic streetcars with better bicycle, pedestrian, and transit infrastructure, especially on the street where I grew up, Market Street.”
SPUR produced great videos explaining the work of each honoree. They tell their stories succinctly. Here are the links to the videos for Natalie Berg, Art Gensler, and Dale Minami.
The Silver SPUR award recipients this year, as in past years, demonstrate the many ways individuals can contribute to a better city. Congratulations to all of them.