Two popular Houston parks may finally be bridged together after Harris County Precinct 4 unveiled a $13.5 million Buffalo Bayou Greenway Connector project to join the recreation areas.
Harris County Commissioner Lesley Briones announced $170 million for 32 infrastructure projects in the county. Memorial Park and Buffalo Bayou Parks were to selected for what the precinct says will help “improve access to parks and close critical connectivity gaps.”
“High-quality infrastructure is critical to our quality of life and safety, and is at the heart of thriving communities,” Briones said. “I am committed to getting more done for the people of Harris County by being proactive about collaboration. Through these strategic partnerships, we will be able to deliver more — and better — projects across Precinct 4, and this collaboration will help us build a brighter, more resilient future for our children.”
Over the next year, 11 projects will begin moving through the final design, permitting and construction process, according to a news release. All projects are anticipated to break ground in 2024.
These projects “will bridge essential gaps in the Bayou Greenways system and improve accessibility and community connections for thousands,” said Beth White, president and CEO of Houston Parks Board.
For Houstonians, traveling between the two parks, especially for walkers and bicyclists, is difficult. To get from Buffalo Bayou Park to Memorial Park, walkers and bicyclists would have to travel more than a mile for each destination.
Joe Cutrufo, executive director of BikeHouston, worked to bring awareness to the obstacles of traveling between the parks for bicyclists. BikeHouston even petitioned for the trail to be funded.
“This gap between Buffalo Bayou Park and Memorial Park is one that we hear about all the time and one that we’ve been pushing to fill for some time now,” he said. “There’s a greenway in Buffalo Bayou Park at the very western edge of Buffalo Bayou Park just past Shepherd Drive … there’s a 5-foot sidewalk all the way to Memorial Park.”
Cutrufo said if the trail is completed, the pathway would become among the most popular trails in the city, “There are only a handful of ways to enter the park and even fewer ways to get there safely on a bike. So, connecting Memorial Park and Buffalo Bayou Park, with a safe and comfortable trail, is going to help a lot of people.”
This is part of a larger infrastructure investment called “Places 4 People”, about which you can read more here. The Buffalo Bayou and its trails and parks are just a true gem for the city, and connecting it like this to Memorial Park is fantastic. Kudos to Commissioner Briones for driving this. And what a huge change it is to have multiple Commissioners who remember that Harris County also includes the city of Houston. I for one can’t imagine Steve Radack ever doing this.