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Bayou trails update

Coming along nicely.

Houston’s Bayou Greenways 2020 initiative will build 150 miles of hike and bike trails along the city’s nine waterways, a $220 million effort that Mayor Annise Parker says is “one of the most exciting things I’ve had the opportunity to work on as mayor” – and which is only now gathering steam.

“It’s a transformative project designed to string the beads of existing trail systems into an integrated whole,” Parker said, “but also designed to put accessible park and green space into every neighborhood of Houston by putting trails along all of the small rivers that cross the city.”

The ambitious plan advanced Wednesday as City Council approved $19 million for the next phase of trails in north Houston and also cleared the way for the purchase of land on which some of the trails will run.

[…]

Bayou Greenways’ construction progress has been modest thus far as the parks board designs the new trails and slogs through the dual permitting process of the Harris County Flood Control District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the parks board’s Catherine Butsch, as both entities have jurisdiction.

About 3.5 miles of trail have been built, mostly along White Oak Bayou, but Butsch said the pace is likely to increase sharply.

Construction is to start soon along a section of White Oak in the I-10 corridor. That follows the recent openings of a new bridge near T.C. Jester and 11th Street over White Oak, and of a new trail section from Antoine to Alabonson.

Along Brays Bayou, a trail section from Mason Park to Old Spanish Trail opened last year, and that segment will soon be extended to the University of Houston.

On Sims Bayou, construction is scheduled to start on the two trail sections at the far eastern and western edges of the city limits by year’s end, in tandem with design work on the middle sections.

Design also will start this year on two sections of trail along Greens Bayou and on a far western section of trail planned along Brays.

“When it is completed by 2020, we estimate that six out of 10 Houstonians will live within a mile and a half of one of these Bayou Greenways,” Butsch said. “That’s really enhancing access to park land. We’re really able to use our natural resources, our bayous, in a special way like no other city.”

I love this project, and I believe it will do a lot to make Houston a better place to live. We have all these bayous, we should be taking full advantage of them. A lot of the funding for this is privately raised as well, making it a better deal overall. I’m especially looking forward to the White Oak/I-10 work, but it’s great to see this happening farther out as well.

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8 Comments

  1. Steven Houston says:

    Charles, I know you love these park projects and they are fine when the funds exist but the bond will end up more than doubling the cost to taxpayers (the total parks bond in 2012 was something like $166 million), not include maintenance costs or policing, and be used by a fairly small percentage of the population. Further, until all yearly expenses are paid as accrued (road work, flooding, pensions, other deferred infrastructure costs), the city really cannot afford it.

    Better to let the donations keep accruing or build portions as donations come in than to dig ever deeper into that financial hole the city will eventually have to climb out of…

  2. Paul kubosh says:

    For the record we were against the bonds, however a vote is a vote. What are you going to do?

  3. Steven Houston says:

    PK, I hear you but it’s like everything else, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. City finances can handle a recreational frill here and there but not an endless stream of them yet it’s funny the same loudmouths (for the record, I don’t consider you one of those loudmouths) wanting to blame employee pensions as the root of all fiscal evil always manage to remain silent at all sorts of other spending that is discretionary like this.

  4. Paul Kubosh says:

    Steven,

    I couldn’t agree with you more.

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    @PK:

    You guys just aren’t as smart as the majority of Houston voters, who know what you do not, that the Bond Fairy pays for those bonds, not taxpayer money that has to be diverted from things like fixing water leaks, and repairing potholes.

  6. Steven Houston says:

    Now Bill, as long as that B.F. has a safe place to use the restroom, some are fine with it (ducking). Again, I’m not an alarmist schemer trying to sell city bankruptcy to get elected, nor do I think parks, libraries, fountains, and all the wonders of modern civilization should be privately funded but with all due respect to “Mama’s Bank Account” (apologies to Kathryn Forbes), there are times when leaders should lead, pointing out the goodies are on hold for a few years while we straighten things out.

  7. Paul Kubosh says:

    Again…this is where Steven and I meet. (not the bathroom). The important stuff like the money.

  8. Manuel Barrera says:

    Is that kinda like asking Marie Antoinette for bread?

    Steven Houston, how dare you make sense.