12/08/16 2:00pm

Pedestrian Bridge over White Oak at Durham St.

The section of bayou-hugging greenway trail running between Durham St. and Stude Park is getting the official OK tomorrow morning from Harris County Flood Control District and the Houston Parks Board. The photo above is of the pedestrian bridge across White Oak near Durham St. that previously supplanted the area’s “Bridge of Death” route; the segment opening tomorrow runs from that same bridge east along the bayou to the Studemont St. non-pedestrian bridge. The organizers are hoping would-be trail fans will use some means other than car to get to the ceremony location (off Studemont just north of I-10); if you have to drive, however, the invitation says you might be able to get a parking space across the freeway north of  Target.

Further east along the White Oak trail, here’s an updated view of how that link into Near Northside by the Leonel Castillo Community Center is coming along (taken in mid-November, once again from the same spot as that glitzed-up flood photo that made an appearance in Air New Zealand’s recent in-flight feature on Texas):

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Greenways Growth Spurts
11/21/16 1:00pm

Brewery Tap, 717 Franklin St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

Brewery Tap, 717 Franklin St., Downtown, Houston, 77002Ghost-story hub and beer bar Brewery Tap reopened this weekend, after about nearly 11 months of remodeling in the wake of a January ownership swap. The bar is located in the building at 717 Franklin St., preivously part of Houston Ice & Brewing Co.’s Magnolia Brewery complex on the edge of Buffalo Bayou. Down the slope beneath the Franklin St. bridge is the mid-1800’s crypt previously occupied by the remains of 3 members of the Donnellan family; the early Houston settler and his wife and son were moved west to Glenwood Cemetery around 1903, after which the crypt was incorporated into the structure of the Franklin St. bridge:

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Digging Up Downtown History
09/15/16 2:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: TAKE IN THOSE SCENIC INDUSTRIAL HOUSTON SIGHTS JUST LIKE A LOCAL! Fred Hartman Bridge, Baytown, Texas“I’ve got a better business plan when it comes to views from the new Beltway 8 bridge: Since the new one is going to be a suspension bridge much like the Fred Hartman bridge, climbing it like the  [Sydney] Harbor bridge will be out of the question. So here’s what I’ll do: For a fee, I’ll place a hole of strategic size in your back left tire. I’ll calculate the proper size in accordance to your vehicle make, number of passengers, and weight. You then take a leisurely drive up the bridge — and by the time you reach the apex of the bridge you will be forced to pull over as you can no longer drive on your flat back left tire. Then and only then will you have the glorious view of the Ship Channel that you crave as you wait for AAA. Remember, my fee will be very modest and you’ll be experiencing the REAL Houston bridge view experience that only we locals have been blessed with for years.” [DNAGuy, commenting on Houston Home Sales Bounce Back; Calling Brooke Smith as the Next Heights] Photo of Fred Hartman Bridge: Jackson Myers via Swamplot Flickr Pool

06/23/16 2:45pm

Allen Center Skybridge Remodeling, 500 Dallas St., Downtown, Houston, 77002

Currently underway: the partial disassembly of 1 of the 2 skybridges connecting One and Two Allen Center at the corner of Dallas and Smith streets downtown. The bridge pictured above is expected to survive the planned 3-tower redevelopment — a permit to remodel it was issued on Monday with some other OKs on the work, which includes turning the rubble-filled space to the east into a Smith-St.-facing events lawn and concert space. Renderings previously released by Brookfield suggest that the other skybridge, from which the above photo was taken, won’t be so lucky:

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Last Days Downtown
04/29/16 5:00pm

Yale St. Bridge bricks being removed, Yale St. at I-10, Heights, Houston, 77007

An indiegogo page has just been launched to crowdfund the removal and reuse of an unexpectedly large group of well-preserved 1930s bricks from the now-under-deconstruction Yale St. bridge over White Oak Bayou. The group calling itself Friends of Houston’s Yale Bridge Bricks says the funds will be used to preserve the bricks for reuse both around the bridge and elsewhere around the city.

The fundraising effort shares some organizers with Friends of the Fountain, which launched the late-February campaign to crowdfund the de-restoration and subsequent repair of the Mecom Fountain following its short-lived experiment with limestone couture. That effort raised more than $50,000 toward a $60k goal in one month; Bill Baldwin (of both Friends groups) says it the fountain’s fundraiser received over $100k in total, including offline donations. This latest round of online crowdfunding the preservation of National Register of Historic Places structures is starting the bar higher, with a goal of $100,000 shown on the fundraising page.

Photo of work on Yale St. Bridge and Memorial Park Mattress Firm: Friends of Houston’s Yale Bridge Bricks

Follow the Yale Brick Road
04/21/16 10:30am

road-closures-4-21

Replacement work on the Yale St. bridge over White Oak Bayou now won’t start until the 25th, according to an update from TxDOT. The original planned construction start drifted past in the middle of Monday’s deluge; no changes have been mentioned yet for expected 2018 reopening date.

Meanwhile, TxDOT’s Yoakum office says it’s keeping an eye on US 59 in Wharton County to the southwest of town, though that highway is not closed at the moment according to the agency’s interactive mapping system (pictured above). The map shows areas of road closures, flooding, and construction, with written descriptions for each site clarifying which lanes are affected, by what, and how badly. Zooming in further gives a clearer picture of the extent of some of the closures — below is a view of west Houston, showing the stretch of Hwy. 6 near the Addicks reservoir that could be closed for the next 4 to 6 weeks: 

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What’s Under Water
04/06/16 10:45am

Yale St. Bridge over White Oak Bayou, Houston Heights, Houston, 77007

Yale St. Bridge over White Oak Bayou, Houston Heights, Houston, 77007 An orange and black construction marquee is now advertising the upcoming closure of the Yale St. bridge over White Oak Bayou just south of I-10, starting the Monday after next and running until the New Year’s Eve after next. The 1931 bridge, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is slated for replacement after years of asking crossers to please watch their weight (with 10,000 pounds per axle being the most recent upper limit). The per-axle limit was at 8,000 pounds prior to a 2012 drop to 3,000 (which disqualified some SUVs and minivans). The addition of carbon strips to the structure caused TxDOT’s weight limit to yo-yo back up to 10,000.

The plans for the new bridge floated by TxDOT in 2014 included wider outside vehicle lanes and slightly narrower sidewalks (down to 5 feet from 6). But summary and followup notes from the public meeting held at the end of July 2014 say the design has been updated to include 8-foot-wide shared bike and pedestrian pathways on either side of the bridge, in response to the public comments on the project.

The TxDOT meeting summary notes also documents the agency’s attempt to sell the bridge in the Houston Chronicle:

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Coming Back a New Bridge
01/19/16 4:30pm

Encampment removal at Louisiana St. and Congress Ave., Downtown, Houston, 77002

The encampment under Louisiana St. (shown above) was dismantled earlier today; a reader sends both now-you-see-it and now-you-don’t shots. The camp was previously tucked above the south bank of Buffalo Bayou, about halfway between Sesquicentennial Park and Allen’s Landing.

The removal appears to have been carried out by workers for Houston First, responsible for maintenance of public venues such as Miller Outdoor Theater and the George R. Brown Convention Center, along with a list of downtown parks that includes Sesquicentennial and the Sabine Promenade. Houston First also works on marketing and branding for the venues (and more generally for “the Houston product”) in partnership with the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Here’s what the spot looked like after today’s clear-out:

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Gone Downtown
06/09/15 3:00pm

rosemont-bridge-downtown-locks

Last week in gay Paris, authorities removed panels from the Pont des Arts that had been weighted down by hundreds of thousands of attached padlocks — installed there since late 2008 by visiting couples (and sure, probably an obsessed stalker or 7) who sought to commemorate their passions with a lockup and a ritual toss of the key into the River Seine below. Meanwhile, hereabouts in North Montrose, the “Love Lock” scene on the Rosemont Bridge over Buffalo Bayou just west of Downtown appears to be just getting started — the Buffalo Bayou Park version appears to be well behind copycat venues in other cities. While crossing the longer section of the bridge yesterday, Twitter user marathonjohn found 20 to 30 locks attached to the pedestrian crossing’s supports. Here are pics of a few of the ritual lockups he spotted:

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The Keys Are in the Water
02/19/14 10:45am

Metro Bridge over Buffalo Bayou, West Downtown, Houston

A reader who’s been watching construction of the new bridge that’s gone up over Buffalo Bayou and fitted neatly under I-45 at the far western end of the new under-construction Southeast and East End light-rail lines wonders what its purpose is. The bridge is beyond the planned Theater District stations, the last shared rail stops for the 2 lines. Is it a bridge to nowhere, or the starting point for some later western expansion along Washington Ave?

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Heading West from Downtown
09/23/13 2:05pm

DITCH REPAIRS, BRIDGE REPLACEMENT TO CLOSE STRETCH OF SAN FELIPE FOR NEXT 2 WEEKS San Felipe St. near Mid Ln. and the Loop is going to be out of commission for about 2 weeks, according to the Harris County Flood Control District: After tonight’s rush hour subsides, workers will move in to remove concrete from the sides of the eroding and underperforming drainage ditch, shown here, and install closed culverts. And that means the 50-year-old bridge on San Felipe will need to be demolished and replaced. The area to be closed is near the new Liberty Kitchen spot and the luxury apartments under construction on Briar Hollow Ln. [HCFCD; previously on Swamplot] Photo: HCFCD

09/11/13 11:10am

Just about a mile as the trash floats along Brays Bayou from that sylvan site in Idylwood where the Houston Parks Board is considering building a parking lot, more work of the flood-mitigating Project Brays is underway. Here, near the intersection of Wheeler and Old Spanish Trail, the Harris County Flood Control District is widening the channel to help the bayou along, an act that will necessitate spending about $4.2 million to build a new 2-lane bridge.

According to the HCFCD, the existing bridge on Wheeler — shown in the photo here — isn’t nearly big enough and will need to be demolished. The new bridge, to be built during the next year or so, will extend Lidstone St. up and over the bayou to O.S.T., connecting the Gulfgate and Fonde Park neighborhoods just southeast of the Orange Show. Once the bridge is complete, more hike and bike trails will be installed.

You can see a project map and more photos after the jump:

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08/21/13 4:15pm

FEARING THE YOGA DADS THE NEW HEIGHTS HIKE AND BIKE LINK WILL BRING The Houston Chronicle reports that the Bayou Greenways project is paying for a new 1.35-mile section hooking up the existing White Oak Bayou and Heights hike and bike trails. Part of completing this stretch will require replacing the bridge shown here, a burned-out trestle that butts up to the former Eureka Railyard. Psyched about this new link that, when completed in 2014, will get cyclists from Downtown all the way out to Antoine Dr., Houstonia’s John Nova Lomax still seems more than a little ambivalent about losing the blackened thing: “The eastern foot of that bridge has been a meditation zone / power spot of mine for the last few years, my own trash-strewn bayou-pungent pre- and post-work Eden. No more — soon it will teem with with yoga dads and crossfit maniacs and their occasionally ill-behaved pooches.” [Ultimate Heights; Houstonia; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Patrick Feller [license]

07/01/13 4:00pm

The latest pedestrian bridge to span Buffalo Bayou was craned into place this past Thursday. The 345-ft. bridge almost hooks up with the skinnier chain-linked one that spans Memorial Dr. from Jackson Jackson Hill St. on the north. The Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s master plan shows that this bridge will serve the so-called Lost Lake — a space for which is being cleared of all kinds of vegetation just west of this site. You could say that the bridge might also encourage Rosie Ruiz-inspired joggers to take a shortcut and avoid going the extra mile around the Shepherd Dr. bridge-under-a-bridge just a bit farther west.

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