12/08/14 3:15pm

white-oak-bike-trail-bridge-aigwhite-oak-bike-trail-bridge-11th

Over Thanksgiving weekend city workers opened a portion of the proposed hike-and-hike trail that will one day link downtown and Acres Homes.

Work began last October on this new section, one that heads west from the MKT hike-and-bike trail’s former official western terminus at Lawrence Park, under the N. Shepherd Dr. and N. Durham Dr. overpasses, and over White Oak Bayou, west to Cottage Grove and north towards an eventual link with the existing White Oak Bayou trail.

This link legitimizes a an unsanctioned though fairly popular “ninja route” long used by off-trail cyclists, who had been pedaling the gravel path from the park to a rickety, burned-out White Oak Bayou railway trestle known to as the “Bridge of Death,” seen below in a 2012 photo.

old-white-oak-bridge

That’s been demolished and replaced with a sturdy span of of concrete and steel, complete with fancy, built-in insignia, and skyline and AIG building vistas.

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Bike Path Breakthrough
03/31/14 10:30am

White Oak Bayou Hike and Bike Trail Along T.C. Jester at 610 Loop, Oak Forest, Houston

Here’s the news that’s “all the rage in Oak Forest,” according to a reader: TxDOT has reopened the segment of the hike-and-bike trail along White Oak Bayou that wends its way between between Ella Blvd. and 34th St. That stretch of asphalt had been closed in December 2011 for construction on the North Loop overpass at T.C. Jester. TxDOT is planning an official celebration of the reopening this coming Saturday, but it’s unclear whether the path, which lines the east side of the bayou, will have to be closed again at some point. “Please note that TxDOT has not completed the reconstruction of the bridges that support the feeder roads across the bayou,” reads a note on the Houston Bikeways Program Facebook page posted this morning. “We hope to get more details shortly.”

Photo of trail at E. T.C. Jester and Loop 610 North: Jim Mackey/White Oak Bayou Association

610 Underpass
10/11/13 11:00am

Here’s more development in East Downtown: These townhouses are under construction on the corner of Live Oak and Lamar, just 2 blocks from the Columbia Tap bike trail that leads to BBVA Compass Stadium. Eventually, according to a site plan on the InTown Homes website, 22 of these 3- and 4-bedroom townhouses will stand on the block bound by Lamar, Live Oak, St. Charles, and McKinney. They’re starting at $364,900.

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09/17/13 10:00am

Frequent flipper and Swamplot commenter Cody Lutsch of Fat Property is upgrading this apartment complex in the Third Ward. A listing for the remaining 2-bedroom units on HAR describes some of the improvements: “central air, new paint, ceilling fans [sic], windows, blinds, refinished hardwood floors, etc.” Apparently, Lutsch has also found a buyer for the property, who will be closing on the 3-building complex at 3008 Truxillo, just south of Alabama, in October. The photo above shows the northwest face of the complex — right across the street from the Truxillo Washateria — as seen from Ennis St.

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02/04/13 11:00am

CENTERPOINT SAYS NO BIKE TRAILS WITHOUT ‘ADDITIONAL LIABILITY PROTECTION’ Houston lawmakers Sarah Davis and Jim Murphy have each introduced a bill to the state legislature that would have more bike trails built here along CenterPoint-owned utility rights-of-way, but the energy provider’s response seems to StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling a little overprotective: “a CenterPoint media liaison said it would permit trails ‘if — and only if — the Texas Legislature provides additional liability protection to CenterPoint from people entering its rights of way.’” Fehling adds: “What has resulted, though, are bills that would give what lawyers say is almost blanket immunity to CenterPoint Energy should someone get hurt on company property while using it for recreation, even if CenterPoint was ‘grossly negligent.’” [StateImpact; previously on Swamplot] Photo: StateImpact

01/09/13 11:30am

Long a fixture on White Oak in the Heights, the Blue Line Bike Lab has opened a second location in the East End. In early November, the repair shop and retailer moved into a suite that had been gutted for a CrossFit gym at 740 Telephone Rd. in the Tlaquepaque Market, a little more than a mile from U of H. The shopping center, bound on the east by Lockwood and on the west by Dumble, might not be the most obvious location for pedal-pushing hipsters looking for a fixie: next door, as the photo above shows, is Space City Hearing Aids. But Bohemeo’s is just a few doors down and Thai restaurant Kanomwan is tucked in there somewhere, as well. And the East End has had two railroad right-of-ways transformed into hike and bike trails. Paul Dale, one of the lab’s resident gearheads, says, “We’re betting on the neighborhood.”

Photos: Allyn West

08/14/12 3:28pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE HERITAGE WEST BIKEWAY IS BACK ON TRAIL “If you had not heard, the construction contractor for this project had gone bankrupt, leaving the project dormant for quite a while. Good news is that the new contractor started working yesterday (8/13/12) and has 120 days to complete the bikeway project. Yes, this should mean that the project will be done by 12/31/12.” [Dan Raine, commenting on Did the Heritage West Bikeway Lose Its Way?]

05/03/12 3:22pm

Harris County Housing Authority interim CEO Tom McCasland takes a visitor from Portland along the path of the bike trail he hopes will soon connect Downtown Houston seamlessly to the city’s northwestern suburbs. From Georgia’s Market downtown they head out the MKT Trail into the Heights, which dead ends near the Shepherd-Durham overpasses. “The lot turned into a truck path, which ended at a decrepit railroad bridge. We took a sharp right down a singletrack path along the edge of the bayou far below us,” writes Elly Blue, who’s been touring U.S. cities to assess their bikeability. McCasland, an advocate for expanding Houston bikeways, tells the Houston Press‘s John Nova Lomax that “part of the city’s latest grand biking plan is to dynamite [that burned-out bridge] and rebuild it as a bike/pedestrian thoroughfare. The trail will then continue along White Oak Bayou’s banks and connect with the existing trail that begins at West 11th and TC Jester and heads north through Timbergrove, Garden Oaks, Oak Forest and all the way up to Acres Homes.”

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03/02/12 11:47am

A reader wants to know what happened to the section of the new Heritage West Bikeway along White Oak Bayou as it passes under I-45 just north of Downtown (shown above, facing west).

I take this bike trail to UHD out of the Heights. It has been about three weeks since I last used it. This section was brand new, I think less than 6 months old and it has been torn up. In the distance you can see another orange fence, where the new trail starts again and then abruptly ends at a construction site where they are building a bike bridge.

I am curious to know if anyone has info about why a new section is torn up already. I’m looking forward to a completed trail that will connect the Heights directly to Downtown and Minute Maid park.

If nothing else, it’s a pretty sweet pic about how Houston infrastructure is always “improving”, no matter how new it is.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

01/19/12 5:04pm

It looks like large portions of the 2.8-mile-long Heritage West Bikeway connecting Stude Park to UH-Downtown are close to completion, but the path along portions of the former UP railway won’t open until summer, according to the city. One important still-missing link: a pedestrian bridge over Little White Oak Bayou. Past the University, the 10-ft. wide trail will connect to the Heritage East Bikeway, which continues along White Oak Bayou to Lockwood.

The new western portion will hook up with the MKT hike-and-bike trail both at Stude Park and at Spring St., providing an alternate along-the-bayou path for bicyclists headed downtown from the Heights. One highlight of the journey: a close-up view of the 17.3 acres of swampland Hakeem Olajuwon flipped to Metro back in 2005 for a cool $15 million:

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06/22/11 1:31pm

WHITE OAK BAYOU BIKE BYPASS IMPASSE What’s preventing the Houston Parks Board from connecting the end of the MKT Bike Trail in Timbergrove Manor with the White Oak Bayou Trail to create a continuous 14-mile route, and giving Oak Forest residents a path to stroll or roll all the way Downtown? Well, there are these 5 tracts of land in “a key section” in the 3/4-mile gap between Lawrence Park and T.C. Jester Park, project manager Trent Rondo tells Greg Densmore: “. . . of the five property owners tied to those tracts, four were working with the Parks Board while the fifth ‘was being a little feisty’ and was not yet ready to negotiate.” [The Leader, via Swamplot commenter KS; previously on Swamplot]

12/21/09 10:58am

Sometime after this photo was taken at the start of the month, the missing rail on the rebuilt trestle bridge over White Oak Bayou was installed. But the rest of the rails are gone! A 5-mile segment of the MKT Trail through the Heights, named after the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad tracks that used to run along it, opened over the weekend. The trail starts at 26th St., runs down Nicholson to 7th St., east along 7th for a bit, down and across the bayou. It ends at Spring St. and I-45. When will it connect to Downtown, or new trails to the north?

Four other bike paths opened in 2009, making 15 new miles in all:

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07/06/09 8:10am

Some vocal residents of the First Ward are happy to learn that plans to move a recycling facility to the Harris Moving & Storage location at 1904 Spring St. (pictured above) have apparently been halted. A staff member in the office of newly elected councilmember Ed Gonzalez has indicated to a neighborhood group that Mayor White’s administration has agreed “not to pursue” the relocation.

The 24-hour drop-off recycling center currently operating at at 3602 Center St. (just east of Heights Blvd.) will now apparently stay where it is. Admiral Linen, operators of a facility next door to that location, had wanted to purchase the property from the city.

The Solid Waste department’s plan would have resulted in a recycling center directly adjacent to the not-quite-finished MKT/SP Hike and Bike Trail along Spring St. between Houston Ave. and Taylor. A group of First Ward residents was upset at that plan, and was further angered when the department’s director referred to their neighborhood as “an industrial area” in a neighborhood meeting.

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12/18/08 9:47am

Sent in by a reader: Another view of construction along the new MKT/SP Hike and Bike trail meant to connect the Heights to Downtown bikeways. The photo, taken from around here, shows the scene along Spring St. in the First Ward, a couple blocks west of Houston Ave.

10/31/08 4:42pm

Hike-and-Bike Trail Construction Along Nicholson St. Between 21st and 22nd Sts., Houston Heights

Martin Hajovsky notes progress on the long-promised hike-and-bike trail along Nicholson in the Heights. The path: South from W. 27th to W. 7th, then east to Downtown along the former Katy/MKT railway.

Photo of construction on Nicholson St. between 21st and 22nd Sts.: Martin Hajovsky