The White Oak Bike Trail extension starts to come into focus

When last we visited the White Oak Bike Trail extension construction, we were puzzling over what the deal was with whatever they were doing next to the trail itself. I couldn’t tell where it was going or why it was there. A couple of weeks later, from the same view that I normally get looking at it from Studewood to the east, I could see that it was coming along but still couldn’t decipher what it was for.


Fortunately, I finally had the time to try to find some alternate perspectives. Starting from the new little parking lot for the Bayou Greenways Park on Studewood just north of I-10, I crossed the bridge over Studewood into the little park, which extends north of the trail just before the MKT Bridge, and walked the park trail along its north end, which gave me a side view of the trail extension instead of just the front-on view I’d been getting. And lo, it all made sense.


You may need to click on the photo to see it on Flickr so you can zoom in. What you see on the left (the west end) is a connection from whatever that parallel thing is to the bike trail. Here’s a zoomed-in view of it that I took:


What that says to me is that the parallel structure is likely an alternate path for walkers, with stairs on the east end leading to a flatter surface, instead of the deeper slope that the bike trail has. At least, that’s what makes sense to me. I can sort of see the stairs taking shape at the other end, though it’s still early for that. I suppose there’s a design document somewhere that can confirm or contradict my hypothesis, but if this isn’t what is happening then I’m really at a loss. I expect this will become more obvious over the next few weeks.

So far all of the construction activity is on the west side of that little culvert from the bayou, which creates a bifurcation in the planned path. While I was using this perspective, I got a picture of the gap between the two halves, so you can see what will need to be bridged:


I have no idea what the plan is for that. And given what we’ve just seen here, I may not be able to make sense of it when I do see it, at least at first. I’ll let you know when that happens.

(Still no sign of construction on the MKT Bridge itself. I have no idea what’s going on with that, either. The previously reported estimate for that to be fixed was “late summer”, so we still have almost five months. But they sure are taking their time about it.)

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3 Responses to The White Oak Bike Trail extension starts to come into focus

  1. Alex says:

    Could it be that the actual trail will be along that retaining wall crossing the side channel where these concrete segments have been placed? I’m starting to think the path next to the bayou itself is just for the construction equipment.

    Oh, and I spotted a boom lift under the bridge earlier this week. There might be hope for an actual repair happening.

  2. Alex – The eastern, Studewood-facing part of the trail looks too steep to be useful as anything but the foundation for a staircase, at least to me. But I could be wrong! I admit that the trail up from bayou level to the existing trail is steep as well, but it’s in line with other trails – see, for example, the connection from the bayou to the trail on the west side of the bridge.

    I sure hope you’re right about seeing equipment in place for the bridge repair. It’s been a long, long time.

  3. Jason Hochman says:

    I have been wondering when that bridge is ever going to be repaired. Also, the Mayor has put the 11th Street project on hold for at least a month, while does some “analysis” of it. Meanwhile, I saw the bike lanes along Waugh and down to Westheimer for the first time last week. They look good.

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