The Missing Link in the Bike Trail from Oak Forest to Downtown

THE MISSING LINK IN THE BIKE TRAIL FROM OAK FOREST TO DOWNTOWN After surveying a stretch of land mostly along White Oak Bayou from 11th St. to Lawrence Park, Chronicle blogger Martin Hajovsky says he doesn’t see any traffic problems that would stand in the way of a connection between the Katy/MKT hike-and-bike trail and the White Oak Bayou trail. A bayou-side hookup, which would create a continuous off-road path from Downtown to Oak Forest, is just one segment of grander bayou bikepath plans contained in the Bayou Greenway Initiative, which the Houston Parks Board is working on piece by piece. Adding the longer chunk planned along White Oak Bayou north of the current trail would extend the Downtown route all the way to Jersey Village. [Home in the Heights, via Off the Kuff; previously on Swamplot] Proposed Bayou Greenway map: Houston Parks Board

24 Comment

  • I recently moved nearby the Heights Hike n’ Bike, and it is fantastic. Hooray more bike trails!

  • I recently rode my bike from home to work for “Bike to Work” day & because of detours the ride took over an hour! Yes, more trails are needed indeed!

  • I’ll second that, hooray..

  • The proposed link passes along and directly adjacent to many backyards in TimberGrove. When the link was previously proposed, a very vocal (and literally) NIMBY crowd was mobilized. Good Luck getting the link past these folks.

  • To add to Mark J.’s comment…I’ve tried to ride my mtn. bike through there, and everything is great between Shepherd/Lawrence Park and TC Jester, but once you try to go from TC Jester to 11th, it becomes more difficult. I’ve observed that some homeowners along that section have thrown lots of big tree branches over their fences to obstruct anyone from even riding through the grass. And at 11th St, someone has strung up a chain fence and some small and probably illegal “private property” signs. Looks like it might be a battle…

  • TimberGrove doesn’t want a bike path *behind* their *backyards*? What kind of weird NIMBYism results in not wanting a bike/walking path *behind* your *backyard*? Is there something special back there? What do the Timbergrove people see as the negative/downside?

  • Personally, I think that would be an interesting battle to wage. Like UG said, when you go back there, you see plenty of fences up high. However, go down lower and bring the trail to just above the “v” that heads down to the bayou itself. You can then come back to street level just south of West 11th or just north. Whichever. There is plenty of room.

    I’m usually somewhat sensitive to NIMBY concerns, because after all, the next time it’ll be your backyard. However, this is just ridiculous. The space is plenty big enough for a bike trail, and I would argue that the development of a trail, and possibly increased bike traffic, would actually make it safer than just having it be kept wild and having rambling stragglers (ahem) walking through there.

  • The property at 11th an T C Jester that has the “Private Property” signs? That area belongs to the owners of the house. It’s part of their lot.

    The banks of the bayou between 11th and T C Jester are owned by the adjacent houses. The Flood Control District has a drainage easement, not a bikeway easement. This was a major point of contention when the bikeway North of 11th was built. The homeowners don’t want the noise , trash, and other hassle of having a paved path directly behind their houses, not visible from the street.

  • Nothing like making public land private, and without paying for it. From the sound of it, they are trying to set up an adverse possession claim. Good luck.

  • check out this map:

    Shows the area in question. Looks like the properties on Croydon and Cranston Courts do indeed go all the way to the bayou channel, at least according to HCAD. Can someone explain this?

  • Those properties were platted in 1951 or 2, right after the bayou channelization was completed. I would bet that the new channel was run down a drainage easement through a larger tract of land, and the developer sold the land in the bayou, subject to the easement.

  • The city could reclaim the land the landowners have through eminent domain. I imagine it would be fairly expensive though. Which is why there will never be a strip of park running from the beltway to the loop along buffalo bayou. The land acquisition alone might be a hundreds of millions of dollars.

  • Lost_In_Translation: I think you are right as far as the cost goes. But another reason that there will never be a Buffalo Bayou bike path from the beltway to the Loop is that the people who live there are too powerful to permit it to even be seriously considered. Many of them are the richest people in Houston. It’s a shame, because the Bayou is quite lovely as it twists through Memorial.

  • Ross says- “The homeowners don’t want the noise , trash, and other hassle of having a paved path directly behind their houses, not visible from the street”

    Because the Bayou is such a clean pristine drink of running water, give me a break. I agree with Martin.

  • What piss poor excuses, build the bike path for heavens sake. Seriously NIMBY’s find something real to worry about, like people stealing your fruit… :)

  • @corey, how is it a NIMBY issue when, in fact it IS their back yard, owned by them, paid for by them? Do you mind if I build a basketball court in your back yard and invite all my friends to drop in any time they like?

  • I’m all for bike paths; however, what about the “people should be able do whatever they want with their property” argument seen here so often? If the proposed bike path runs through private property, shouldn’t the owners have the same rights to keep said portion of land for their own use as a developer to build an out-of-scale building on his/her property?

  • There’s already a bike/pedestrian bridge just north of 11th. Run the bike trail on the west bank of the bayou and cross back over near TC Jester. That proposition would have a lot less hassle than dealing with the single fam residential owners on the east side.

  • Sure we can turn my carport into a basketball court, shoot I’d welcome that. So long as no one falls into my cucumber plants.

  • Greg,
    Running the path along the south side is a good idea. The existing rail trestle south of TC Jester was an issue during the first go-round. It could be renovated and be the second bridge back that you mention.

    There would certainly be fewer property owners to deal with including, a church, multifamily and an unsuccessful/unbuilt townhome development.

  • CM
    They might pick your cucumbers.

  • I easily have 10 pounds in my fridge eagerly awaiting pickling, so no worries.. Take the slicing cukes, they’re gross pickled. I’ll be busy playing horse..

  • FWIW, I saw in The Leader (the free paper that is tossed on my lawn in Oak Forest) that Trent Rondo (Project Manager with the Houston Parks Board) said they were working with the five property owners tied to the tracts at issue, that four were working with the Parks Board, but the fifth “was being a little feisty” and was not yet ready to negotiate.

    It looks like at least four of the NIMBY’s are on board, which means this (hopefully) might actually happen.