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:


Gone Downtown
06/09/15 3:00pm


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:


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?


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:


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.


05/08/13 12:30pm

This photo, courtesy of a reader, shows what will eventually hold up the new pedestrian bridge spanning Buffalo Bayou. This view looks south across the muddy water from the Sandy Reed Memorial Trail near Jackson Hill St. and Memorial Dr. toward the Royalton condo tower on Allen Pkwy. Crews have also begun clearing away more trees and brush between this spot and the Adath Yeshurun Cemetery, where the bayou’s master plan shows the Lost Lake will be.


03/26/13 10:30am

DESIGNING HOUSTON’S BICYCLE UNDERBELLY Peter Muessig’s graduate thesis for the Rice School of Architecture imagines a system of symbiotic bike-only features he’s calling “Veloducts” that would be fused on, under, around, and through the city’s existing car-dominated infrastructure. This rendering shows just such a Veloduct, which appears to be similar to those foot bridges already spanning Buffalo Bayou. But OffCite’s Sara C. Rolater explains how a Veloduct is much more ambitious: In variations of concrete, joists, and steel, [a Veloduct] can be grafted onto the pillars of freeways, hang suspended by girders, or stand on its own columns. . . . [allowing] cyclists to capitalize on precisely those systems that have previously hindered them. That [the project] enables different modes of transport to coexist without crowding each other seems especially critical for Houston, where a lack of safe-passage laws have made many of Google Maps’ bright-green highlighted ‘bike-friendly’ roads anything but.” [OffCite; previously on Swamplot] Rendering: Peter Muessig

10/18/12 4:18pm

Courtesy of Swamplot reader James Glassman, here’s a shot of what’s been connected so far under the Shepherd Dr. overpass as it crosses the end of Allen Pkwy. at Buffalo Bayou. Suspended ’neath the cars at this gateway to River Oaks: a new pedestrian bridge, which will link the aptly named Sandy Reed Memorial Trail along the bayou’s South bank with Memorial Dr. to the north. Here’s how it’s drawn out in the Buffalo Bayou master plan:


06/08/12 5:39pm

Driving along Yale St. under the railroad bridge that crosses it just north of Center St. in the West End yesterday, a Swamplot reader noticed workers removing the bright French colors from the retaining wall of the underpass. “This area was painted that red, white, and blue that seemed to match Walmart’s trade dress right before the deal went public,” the reader notes. But the Walmart going in just west of Yale St. is due to be clothed in earthier tones. “I wish we knew who paid for the paint job then, and who is paying for the removal now,” the reader writes.


05/04/12 12:54pm

THE SECRET HOMELESS CAVES UNDER DOWNTOWN Officers on HPD’s Homeless Outreach Team show teevee reporter Robert Arnold a secret den favored by a portion of Downtown’s homeless population — tucked under the Louisiana St. bridge over Buffalo Bayou. Dubbed “the caves,” the not-tall-enough-to-stand-in space snakes along the bridge, further back than Arnold’s flashlight can shine. Layers of occupied and unoccupied sleeping bags, clothing, and trash cover the surface, and Arnold describes the scent as “thick and unrelenting.” Arnold’s report doesn’t specify how many people are living in the warren-like hideaway, but from the pictures he shows, it’s easy to imagine dozens. “We’ve had whole families in here,” explains police sergeant Stephen Wick. [Click2Houston]

02/15/11 5:31pm

The Houston Arts Alliance had a tough time tolerating the intersection of Montrose and Allen Parkway, but at last they’ve gotten the job done. The organization’s commission more than 2 years ago for a pedestrian bridge across Buffalo Bayou connected to that corner, dubbed the Tolerance Bridge, was abandoned after a sea of complaints about both the name and design. The new bridge that opens today at that same spot is much simpler than the earlier proposal — and it’s simply called the Rosemont Bridge. But standing — or really, kneeling — guard by the bridge’s southern entrance today are 7 new sculptures by Barcelona artist Jaume Plensa that were given to the city by a small group of donors who aren’t going out of their way to advertise their identity. The name for the artwork: Tolerance.

The see-through figures face mostly toward the south, away from the bridge and across Allen Parkway, to a vacant site where the oft-flooded Robinson Warehouse once stood. Five years ago, the Aga Khan Foundation bought the land there and announced plans to build a new Ismaili Center on it, including lecture, conference, and recital facilities, a prayer hall and a social hall, offices, and gardens:


10/18/10 11:42am

A reader sends in these high-level photos of the scene around noon on Saturday over Memorial Dr. just east of Studemont, where a 300-ton crane was completing the installation of a few beams of the new Rosemont pedestrian bridge. The vantage point: the 20th floor of the Memorial by Windsor apartments — yes, that’s the new name for the Legacy at Memorial apartment tower, as of a few weeks ago.