Comment of the Day: The Buffalo Bayou Park Pinch

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE BUFFALO BAYOU PARK PINCH Barefoot in the Grass“When I see the improvements come on line at Buffalo Bayou, I keep thinking to myself ‘what’s the catch? Are these on loan from another city? Will Culberson make us take them down so he can build a new highway?’ But it is really happening. Buffalo Bayou is really turning into Houston’s Central Park (NY’s version does have a private restaurant right in the middle of it–Tavern on the Green). The nature playground on the east end is getting finishing touches as well as the performance space and snack bar over the old waterworks. The only problem I have encountered is the mud that slides down the banks and accumulates on the trails after a heavy rain. But it is much better than it used to be. Who knows. Maybe this is for real. And maybe people will actually start moving to Houston because it is a nice place to live.” [Old School, commenting on Finding Buffalo Bayou’s Lost Lake and Its ‘Morning Glory’ Hole, Almost Ready for Business] Illustration: Lulu

12 Comment

  • I sure hope you’re wrong about even more people moving here!

  • Maybe more like a Battery Park, or the stuff over by upperwest side on the river by the parkway. But certainly not Central Park. That kind of analogy is more suited to Hermann Park, or the Memorial Park re-vamp. And the catch is Houston continues to lose it’s long vaunted “affordability” as projects like this continue to push land values higher. Not arguing for something either way, it’s just that you can’t have both.

  • Typical Swamplot. Reward a ridiculous comment. Richard Kinder paid for most of this “park” and your comment about Central Park was laughably absurd.

  • Shannon, why are you so upset? Did you really need to be so mean?

  • It doesn’t have the expansive spaces or “rambles” of Central Park. Not saying it’s not great, let’s just keep some perspective. What needs to happen is to connect it with Memorial Park. That’s inexcusable for not having been done. When cities like Chicago brag about their 18 miles of unbroken lakefront park, and say, “just think what would have happened if private development had been allowed to encroach,” what they’re talking about is cities like Houston, where Memorial Park is cut off from the bayou park by private development. We’re still the example.

  • Slightly off topic, but I think we should connect Rice University to Buffalo Bayou park with dedicated bike lines down Dunlavy and make it a 2 lane road. It’ll cut through Montrose where there are so many pedestrians and cyclists.

  • Unfortunately it will take much more than sprucing up Buffalo Bayou Park to make Houston a more pleasant place. The big problem is that for most people in Houston, the only way to get to a nice place like BBP is the only way you can get anywhere–by car. And that fact alone will take years of political will, planning, and hard work to change. And as long as it doesn’t change, Houston will remain what it is currently: a road system that people sleep and work around.

    The primary datum in a place like NY is the human body. Planning with the human body as the primary reference point generally makes for a pleasant place for people. Here in Houston, the primary unit of reference is the automobile, as such Houston primarily accommodates cars, not people. Scale matters. Infrastructure (such as sidewalks, small neighborhood parks, bike lanes, rails, etc) matters.

    Buffalo Bayou Park is a nice place because it is designed for people. Houston on the other hand…

    In terms of civic amenities and property values. “You can’t have both” only in the market as it currently exists. We ought to be able to have a decent city and also live in it, but that can’t happen until we decide to decide that enough’s enough and begin actually planning our city.

    There are people and institutions in Houston working hard to that end, but so far they are too much “a voice in the [civic] wilderness.” I’m optimistic though. I see people noticing what makes a nice city, where our shortcomings are, and working toward implementing necessary changes.

  • I agree that *certain parts* of Houston are nice to live in. Lest we forget that Houston is still a city of haves and have nots, as I move beyond the 610 in certain directions, I see a lot of poverty, run-down homes, etc.

  • Agreeing with Hydrocarbon. I’ve been here since 1972. It’s wishful thinking I’m afraid, but to me there are already too many people here. We are losing so much greenery, and the quality of life here is deteriorating.

  • I completely agree that somehow Buffalo Bayou Park needs to connect with Memorial. I have great repect for Hare and Hare, but it’s a shame their initial design from the 20’s didn’t continue to Memorial. It’s only like a half mile, but it’s a really ugly one. You cross under Shepherd and it becomes urban, the park disappears in a haze of gas stations and mediocre strip centers, then Memorial appears like some gorgeous oasis on the edge of Cairo. I always appreciate how the Turtle Creek Greenbelt in Dallas continues unbroken into Highland Park, it’s simply spectacular, then compare that to the way BBP and Memorial are rudely interupted. Surely we can find a way to connect them along a Greenbelt.

  • To me Houston’s REAL Central Park is either Hermann Park north of the Medical Center. OR On an even bigger acreage scale is Memorial Park- it IS 1500 acres of forest with a golf course, baseball fields, a soccer pitch, running trails ( the pathway is covered with softer organic bark chips/dirt ( the concept originated in SWITZERLAND) which my father ( he ran the City of Houston Parks & Recreation Department off & on for 33 years) convinced the then VERY stodgy city fathers to install. One of the best moves of his career,of which there were many. On the Western edge of Memorial Park ,is the Arboretum – another green jewel- cover yourself in mosquito spray. There are the cycling trails, the trails along the bayou,canoeing/kayaking on the bayou(which is amazing); Hermann Park more uptown;Memorial Park more bucolic / untouched / pristine. In the 3rd largest city in the USA… They both have their different strong points and amenities..

  • Everyone wishing bbp went west to memorial park isn’t using their imagination. Let’s go the other way. Give Buffalo bayou green space all the way down to the intersection with brays bayou. Brays bayou is almost already fully connected from Buffalo bayou up to Hermann park. Beyond Hermann, the trails aren’t pretty, but go well past 610.
    Connect Buffalo bayou park with Mason park with Mac greggor park with Hermann park, and then you can jog/ride all the way out to the southwest freeway.
    This would give Houston the undisputed longest trail along the water.