Funding for Downtown Houston’s New Island

FUNDING FOR DOWNTOWN HOUSTON’S NEW ISLAND Houston’s flood czar Steve Costello tells the Chronicle’s Mike Morris that the city plans to apply for FEMA resiliency grants in order to build the North Canal Bypass — the long-whispered diversion channel that would relink White Oak and Buffalo bayous between Main and Elysian streets. The waterway concept bubbled up last year in Plan Downtown where its course formed an island northwest of Allen’s Landing indicated in the imagined map above. By bypassing the bayou’s oxbow, the channel is expected not only to reduce flooding downtown — it could also “help lower the water level in White Oak Bayou all the way to the 610 Loop and in Buffalo Bayou as far west as Gessner,” according to a county study. The result: “A little more than half of the 854 structures in the 100-year floodplain along White Oak and an adjacent tributary, Turkey Gully, would be removed from the floodplain.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Map: Plan Downtown  

12 Comment

  • Sounds like a plan. I’ll pitch in a few bucks to make it happen. Keep it green space, but add a monument to make the skyline view from the North look distinguishable from any other city ala Space Needle, St. Louis Arch, etc.. but what would a Houston monument look like? A giant boot? A spindletop? A bucket and mop?

  • Island name suggestions: Rikers Island 2. Alcatraz. Happy Sunshine Island. Gilligans Island. La Isla Bonita. El Castillo. The Parthenon. Mt Keyser Soze. Hotel California.

  • I don’t understand Turner’s draconian insistence that we not use readily available funds for flooding. Why does it all have to come from the feds in a long, drawn out and painful process? Bettencourt wants to allocate TIRZ funds immediately. Infrastructure bonds didn’t include anything for flooding. His campaign donors and voters get funds for pet projects while the city burns… er drowns.

    This man is a monster. His policies are appalling.

  • The majority of properties that will be confined to the island are jail/detention facilities.
    Is Houston trying to create a mini-Alcatraz?

  • Doh! Jeff, you beat me too it!

  • We can re-use Galveston’s old name, “Isla de Malhado”.

  • By all means, make this happen, but at the same time coordinate with TxDOT to straighten I-10 immediately north of the new channel … this will enable nearly ground level construction (less cost) because the channel will act as a barrier to NS traffic anyway AND (if slightly built up) will act as a flood barrier for the Hardy Yards area. At the same time the they should realign the main rail line running east of Houston Ave. slightly northward to meet the rails at Hardy Yards enabling the removal of tracks on Winter and next to UHD.

  • Hmmm… Maybe the wasted Astrodome money would help.

  • I find myself bewildered by the contradictory things we propose to do, in order to improve drainage. Along White Oak we propose to dredge a straight channel to improve drainage. Five miles away, along Sims Bayou, we propose to install oxbows to improve drainage. My mind reels.

  • I’d propose a more comic bookish name for the island..
    arkham island.

  • NoHo-man’s Land? Elysian Island? Long Arm Island?

  • First, dredge all the cars and debris out of White Oak Bayou to see how much deeper it actually becomes. Then go ahead and start digging. I vote for movocelot’s “Elysian Island”