05/24/17 4:45pm

6 MOCK ICE HOUSES FOR BRAYS BAYOU, AS PROPOSED BY THAT GUY WHO TAKES PHOTOS OF HOUSTON ICE HOUSES That massively expanded greenway network is all well and good, suggests architect and icehouse photographer-philosopher David Richmond in the Chronicle today — but bayouside trails are a lot better at getting people from up and down the waterways to run right past one another than they are at getting the same folks to mix or hang out. Richmond offers a suggestion to change that: a design for a boxy, glassy pavilion structure loosely inspired by the shape of, and what he argues is the historic social function of, Houston’s icehouses — namely, as a stand-in for the kind of town squares that he says most of Houston doesn’t really have. Richmond proposes sticking the same square design in 6 different spots along Brays Bayou, with each structure’s range of possible uses (from flea markets and coffee shops to movie nights and wedding receptions) being tailored to fit the surrounding area. [Houston Chronicle] Speculative rendering of pavilion structure along Brays Bayou: David Richmond

05/04/17 3:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WILL THE BAYOU CITY PLEASE START ACTING LIKE IT? “Is the new business going to incorporate the bayou, or keep its back turned to it? Would be nice to see the trend continue of businesses along the bayous turning around and accepting the existence of a recreational green belt and trail network in its backyard, rather than using that as the side for the dumpsters.” [Superdave, commenting on Sixties Ex-Dry Cleaning Spot To Be Made Over as a Brays-Side Wine Bar] Photo of Brays Bayou at Stella Link Rd.: Frank Karbarz

05/03/17 10:00am

The scenic view from behind the former Pilgrim Cleaners building at 4005 N. Braeswood Blvd. will reportedly belong soon to a second location of West University-adjacent wine lounge Bacco. The 1966 building (northwest of the Stella Link Rd. bridge over Brays Bayou) operated as a dry cleaner prior to its conversion to a clothing donation drop spot for the Shriner’s Hospital for Children.  Ralph Bivins notes this week in Realty News Report that the location may encourage traffic from Bayou Greenway hikers and bikers; a reader’s photos from the scene show that the trail on the north side of the bayou in this section is still sporting the au naturel look, though the trail on the south side is fully paved:

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Reborn on the Bayou
03/15/17 1:45pm

Rendering of pedestrian bridge over Brays Bayou at Mason Park

A double-V’d walkin’ and bikin’ bridge like the one shown above will be spanning Brays Bayou before too long, the Houston Parks Board says, linking together the sections of Mason Park separated by the waterway. The agency is planning a short mid-morning party for the planned structure’s construction kickoff next Tuesday, on the southern side of the park (mostly located east of the 75th St. crossing). The whole complex is just downstream of the Gus Wortham Golf Course, for which renovations finally teed off a few weeks ago (trailing much ado a few years back that culminated in the land not getting turned into a botanical garden).

The board says the other, decidedly less suspenseful pedestrian bridge announced earlier this year should be done in the fall as well; that one will will run across Brays alongside the Martin Luther King Blvd. car bridge at the downstream edge of of MacGregor Park, and look kinda like this:

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Double Crossing Brays
01/19/17 4:15pm

Flooded Project Brays Construction Site, Brays Bayou at Main St.

If you have information regarding the whereabouts of the cheery orange digging machine spotted yesterday morning dipping its tracks into a brimming Brays Bayou, a concerned reader would like to hear it — the shot above is his last sighting of the machine, taken from the Main St. bridge. “When I looked today, it was gone. Any idea what happened to it?” 24 hours, of course, is plenty of time for someone to have taken the excavator somewhere warm to dry off, so no reason to assume anything particularly unfortunate transpired; the photo was taken around 8:30, a little over an hour after the water had begun to recede from its early morning crest, according to the Harris County Flood Control gauge readings at the Main St. bridge:

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No Reward
10/13/16 11:00am

Brays Bayou from Buffalo Speedway to Bevelyn, Linkwood, Houston, 77025

A mobile reader sends some fresh shots of not-quite-green-yet redone greenway along Brays Bayou, looking west from Buffalo Spdway. along S. Braeswood Blvd. The Harris County flood control folks have been widening this section of the channelized stream this fall as they work their way through the Project Brays checklist; the stretch seen above and below is about 2 miles downstream of some of those more submersion-prone areas of Meyerland near the Brays crossing under 610.

The new trail is a fair bit wider and smoother than the one it’s replacing — for some soggy comparison, here’s a view of the trail from around noon on Tax Day, just up past the next bend near where Ilona Ln. meets S. Braeswood:

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Widening Greenways and Waterways
10/05/16 12:00pm

HCC Expansion east of Pressler and Main streets, Texas Medical Center, Houston, 77030

A crane and 2 egrets were spotted on Brays Bayou just east of Main St. by a curious reader, along with the rising superstructure of the new Houston Community College Coleman College for Health Sciences building. The midrise, which will eventually connect to the other HCC buildings across Pressler St. via skybridge, should have 10 stories by the time the building opens (which, per HCC’s current plans, will be next August). The building is going up between the UT’s Sarofim Research Building and the large parking lot where the Shamrock Movie Theater once stood, across Main St. from the currently-also-mostly-a-parking-lot Shamrock Hilton site where the new DeBakey High School campus is going up.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

 

Med Center Operations
04/19/16 1:30pm

A few folks at the Halstead apartments surveyed the scene along Brays Bayou late yesterday morning, catching sight of all kinds of action in the water. The video above captures the part of the lonely journey of an unmoored porta-potty floating away from the site of the under-construction Starbucks on the former gas station corner next door; the trip was also also tracked from further upstairs in the complex, where another photographer was documenting the flood:

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What’s In The Water?
04/18/16 12:30pm

Flooding along S. Braeswood Dr., Meyerland, Houston, 77096

Here’s this morning’s view north across S. Braeswood Dr. between Chimney Rock and Hillcroft in Meyerland, where Brays Bayou has once again been feeling out some alternate route options. That’s the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue and the closed-for-the-day Shlenker School across the water on the northern bank, looking higher but not that much drier; current reaadings for the nearest upstream county gauge show nearly 8 inches of rain over the last 12 hours, with higher totals further west. That hasn’t stopped some folks from checking things out from close-up:

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Soaking In the Scene
03/09/16 4:00pm

Screen Capture of Addicks and Barker Dam Construction Updates Map

The Army Corps of Engineers is holding a public meeting amid this evening’s predicted thunderstorms to chat about the recently begun replacement work on the Addicks and Barker dams, which have each won the rare and highly distinguished label ‘extremely high risk’ through a combination of structural issues and close proximity to Houston. For those not planning to flood the Corps with questions and comments in person, there’s a somewhat-outdated online survey, as well as an online map of updates on the project’s progress. Work to replace the outlet structures of the dams began in February, and is expected to take about 4 years. 

The 2 reservoirs, spread out across 26,000 acres on either side of the Katy Fwy. near Highway 6, starred in the Sierra Club’s 2011 lawsuit over the construction of Segment E of the Grand Parkway through the reservoirs’ catchment area. The club claimed development spurred by the road could send major additional runoff to the reservoirs, increasing the chance of dam failure, which Dave Fehling of Houston Public Media reports “could do an estimated $60 billion dollars in damage to downtown Houston, to industries along the Houston Ship Channel, [and] even to the Texas Medical Center.” The judge didn’t stop construction of Segment E, but did order new studies on its potential flooding impacts.

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Addicks and Barker Reservoirs
02/18/16 4:30pm

3627 Braeswood Blvd, Houston, 77025

White walls, glass walls, and mirrored walls provide ample opportunities for looking inward and outward from this 1958 house designed by Houston architect Arthur Steinberg. Overlooking Brays Bayou across Glen Arbor Dr., the home contains 3 bedrooms and 2 and a half bathrooms on 3,765 sq. ft. of pale polished concrete and marble floors.  Mid-century minimalism comes with a $1.495-million price tag. CONTINUE READING THIS STORY

A Whiter Shade of Pale
06/09/15 11:30am

SEWAGE NOW FLOWING PROPERLY UNDER GULF FWY. AGAIN Repaired Sewer Line Under Gulf Fwy. at Brays Bayou, East End, HoustonThat pipe break spotted underneath an I-45 South overpass leaking what appeared to be raw sewage onto a concrete path adjacent to Brays Bayou last week has now been repaired — or at least covered with a new sleeve. A photo of the fix also shows flood-remnant bouquets still intact along the pipe’s length at the bayou crossing south of Idylwood and just east of Telephone Rd. Photo: Allyn West

06/08/15 12:15pm

Brays Bayou Trail at Almeda Rd., Hermann Park, Houston

Reader Scot Luther, who claims to have witnessed “wrecks and several flat tires” on a gap in the bayou-side trail along the north side of Brays Bayou just across N. MacGregor Way from the eastern border of Hermann Park wonders why this portion of the several-year-old concrete trail was never completed. Here’s a photo of the scene — where more cautious bike riders regularly dismount for the muddy or bumpy path under the Almeda Rd. bridge. A few hundred ft. beyond the bridge, the trail picks up again on its way to Riverside Terrace.

Photo: Scot Luther

Water’s Edge
05/22/15 11:45am

Alligator in Brays Bayou at Country Club Bayou, Near Gus Wortham Golf Course, Forest Hill, Houston

Site of Alligator in Brays Bayou at Country Club Bayou, Near Gus Wortham Golf Course, Forest Hill, HoustonA Swamplot reader sends in these pics of a reptilian Houstonian out for a morning swim in the recently replenished waters of Brays Bayou from shortly after 10 am today. Also included: a handy locator map, so any follow-on spotters of the same alligator might be able to compute distance traveled, and perhaps mileage and calories burned as well.

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Alligators of the East End
08/01/14 11:00am

GOLFERS AND GARDENERS GET GROUND RULES FOR GRABBING GUS WORTHAM PARK Gus Wortham Park Golf Course, 7000 Capitol St., East End, HoustonThe deadline for the Houston Golf Association to raise the $15 million the city says it’ll need to save and restore the Gus Wortham Park golf course at Lawndale and Wayside will be the end of next year, Gail Delaughter reports. If the nonprofit organization can’t meet that goal, the city will have a separate set of fundraising goals set up for the group that wants to scrap the greens and build a botanic garden at the 150-acre site, which lies just a couple blocks south of the coming far eastern extension of Metro’s East End light-rail line. If Gus Wortham golf supporters do come up with the funds, the botanical garden will likely be planned for the Glenbrook Park golf course on the northeast side of the Gulf Fwy. outside the loop. The targets and dates will be encoded in separate contracts the city is putting together with the 2 groups and put up for a vote in city council sometime this month. [Houston Public Media; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Houston Parks Board