More Pedestrian Bridges and Other Twists and Turns in the Plans for Buffalo Bayou Park

Part of the $50 million plan to turn the banks of Buffalo Bayou west of Downtown from Sabine St. to Shepherd Dr. into a single, continuous linear park: a new entry plaza on Sabine St. at the city waterworks station (near the skatepark, above), a small lake at the end of Dunlavy St., and 3 new pedestrian bridges. One of the bridges is planned for a site just east of Shepherd; another across from the police officer memorial; and the third at Jackson Hill St. Also: lighting, new water features, public art, renovated trails, and a dog park. A separate, $5 million project funded and run by the Harris County Flood Control District will attempt to return the bayou to a more “natural” configuration — by removing sediment and invasive plants and building in bluffs, sandbars, high and low banks, possibly some additional twists and turns, and other more genuinely bayou-ish features. Here’s a plan of the whole thing (turned sideways to fit):


A closeup of the Montrose Blvd. intersection:

And the new bridge at Jackson Hill, also showing the Lost Lake:

More than half of the money for the project has already been donated by the Kinder Foundation; the Buffalo Bayou Partnership is hoping to raise the remaining $20 million. Target completion date: 2015.

34 Comment

  • This is exciting, but can we please have a plan in place for trash pick up?

  • I’m already a fan of the existing park- I can’t wait to see all of this done!

  • This is good.

  • It is so wonderful to see the city mindset coming together to make the city more of a people place instead of one that just takes from its location instead of also giving back. Who knows, at some point in the future friends and relatives (and, gasp, tourists)may actually find Houston to be a destination not just associated with making money,shopping, and sitting in endless car rides. Keep on greening.

  • Looks great, just wish they’d spread more of this good parkness to other parts of the city besides $250+/sq. foot areas.

  • Will the dog park become a de jure dog park? I have heard that the City could not make it an official dog park because the doggie poo would get into the bayou when it floods.

  • I love running this stretch of the Bayou, and the plans look great, but can I (selfishly) ask for a little faster progress on the DT to ship channel stretch?

  • Cool. Will they do something about the smell (of the bayou) too?! (Or is it the bat guano @ Waugh bridge that is the problem)

  • No worries, Colleen – the construction will drive the bats off.

    @Chris – YOU are the plan for trash pick up – don’t throw it down in the first place and it won’t need to be picked up.

  • What about the homeless colony that inhabits this stretch?

  • While this all may look great-mainly the colorful visuals of trees and running paths-this scheme does not address the most important issue: the barrier that is Allen Parkway. Where’s the interaction/connection between those apartments south of Allen Parkway and the park itself? I can’t say for sure how many crosswalks currently connect Midtown/Montrose/4th Ward neighborhood to the park, but surely there aren’t enough-and is a crosswalk ever really enough? Why not literally connect the Bayou Park with pocket parks on the southside of Allen Parkway?
    The barrier that is Memorial Drive has been slightly addressed but could be bolstered quite a bit with most of the newer developments going in north of the Bayou Park. Am I the only one who sees big holes with this plan?

  • Awesome!
    This will be a signature area of the city.

  • This is going to be a great addition. THis will be the first real dog park inside the loop, right?

  • Looks great. I have some questions. Can anyone enlighten me about the wonderful Tolerance pieces? Will there be a fence around the dog park? And to “Old School”, won’t owners be required to clean up after their dogs? I think that’s a city law, right?

  • That bat guano smell should be welcomed Colleen, the bats are the reason there’s hardly any mosquito’s on the bayou. They eat them all every night when they go out. It’s not the foul raw sewage smell of some parts of the bayou, so I would welcome the bat’s.

  • @Colleen: it IS the bayou odor, the bat guano smells , the methane sewer gas & auto exhaust fumes that combine to make the “Houston smell” !

  • Would I appear uninformed if I said I already thought there was a park there?

  • The city has been approached before about making the defacto dog park at Allen Pky and Montrose into a real dog park. I have heard that the issue has been dog poo. Yes, people are supposed to pick up the poo by ordinance, but some don’t. Thus, they have run up against water pollution issues in the past. But maybe the new design will have some mitigation measures to keep the poo from sailing out on the bayou.
    And there are a few small dog parks inside the loop (Discovery Green, Ervin Chew, the one by 610 and 59/chronicle building).
    I would really like to see the de facto dog park turned into a fenced in de jure dog park. I have had a few close calls with excited pooches as I have run by that area. And I am always terrified that a dog will get excited/scarred, run up on Allen Pkwy or Montrose and get hit. We need to keep the pups and people safe on the bayou.

  • I hope that’s not an “official” dog park. What makes the existing unofficial dog area at Studemont and Allen so great is that, because there are no fences, it tends to attract only responsible dog owners with reasonably behaved dogs. As opposed to the fenced parks like at Westpark/610 where people seem to feel fine letting aggressive animals roam free with no supervision.

  • @SL: Sorry, but no Park Upgrades in neighborhoods like yours.
    @Jason: Sorry, but Athletes are not the targeted recipients of this largesse.
    @Colleen & @Al: I shouldn’t be telling you this, but, there will be a new COH “Adopt a Bat” initiative. Of course you’ll be required to pick up after your bat.
    @Jim: I am seriously considering BECOMING homeless, now.
    @Seth: If you are looking for holes in The Plan, you will find them. Quit looking for holes.
    @Patrick: My dog opines: The smellier the better.
    @bigintexas: If dogs could vote, there’d be no Dog Parks.

  • I really wish HPD would enforce the leash laws in that “park” I am sick and tired of seeing obnoxious dog owners letting their dogs run around in the open without any control. Get a freaking leash, people, and pick up after your pet.

    The same thing for 11th Street Park. That’s not a dog area, that’s a baseball field for kids. The next time you don’t pick up the poop or your dog grabs one of our baseballs, you are going to get a talking to, and maybe a visit from the police.

  • All I wanted were the trails fixed!! I wish they’d create a “cat park” ;-)

  • Like it just wish I could park there and run without the worry of having my windows broken out while leaving my car unattended at Elenaor Tinsley Park. I though it was isolated until I saw several other cars in the same state over the following weeks.

  • This looks great!

  • I’ll be glad to see the crumbling paths rebuilt, this looks nice overall. But does it really need another parking lot (next to the cemetery)? The lack of parking helps keep the park from being overused. Side note: I also wish they could take down that ugly chain-link fence installed last year north of the police memorial.

  • Will this project create any new developments in the surrounding areas ?

  • This park is one of Houston’s signature outdoor spaces and will finally be treated as such. The Buffalo Bayou Partnership has a vision for the civic redevelopment of the bayou corridor which includes not only the “$250/ft” neighborhoods but the entire length of the bayou out to the Turning Basin. They should be commended for getting this project to the starting gate.

  • This rocks for the outdoor loving Houstonians .

  • It is fantastic to see the progress on and plans for the Bayou. One gripe is that the improved trails are concrete which makes runner’s knees very sore. It would be best to see a softer surface used (like in Memorial Park) but I suppose that the Bayou would wash the trail away when it flooded.




  • This is really nice.

    My real fantasy is that Houston de-concretes the other bayous. Imagine if they were all restored to a natural like state, with modern flood control provisions. It would make the city an entirely different place.

  • Hopefully amidst all these improvements they will incorporate some badly needed bathroom facilities. I’ve traveled in many major cities and adequate public facilities are in place. Unfortunately it seems here in Houston, especially around the downtown area and out along the bayou, public facilities are almost non-existent.

  • It is really hard to get to the park from midtown. You cant get across the parkway. Especially on a bike. Riding a bike on the pwky, no thanks.

  • @Ross (21) I agree. About two weeks okay, this lady lost control of her dog when I was riding my bike through there. I had to brake and fall to my side to avoid killing the dog. —No apology from her.

    @Rex. From Midtown I normally ride into downtown and enter the park system near hobby theatre no problem. From there it’s real easy to follow the bayou parks.