Meters Headed to Memorial Park Parking Spots

Among the many changes now slated for Memorial Park: parking meters. The $70 million gift the Kinder Foundation pledged in April to expedite park renovations came with a few spend-it-wisely stipulations, including one that the city won’t blow any of it on maintenance costs — which could rise as the redo adds new trails, drainage improvements, a running complex, and a land bridge (depicted in the rendering above) across Memorial Dr. to the green space over the next 10 years. Although the $1-per-3-hour-block meters will only crop up in certain sections of the park, the change they collect will help offset upkeep across the whole 1,500-acre area.

A consolation: the new trail system proposed for the park will be vast, according to a handout from the city’s Quality of Life Committee, “thereby reducing the need for car access” in the first place. But that workaround only helps if you’re arriving empty-handed, unlike golfers who’ll have top pay $1 per hour to park in the course and driving range lot — Mike Bailey notes in Golf Advisor — beginning sometime before the fall.

Rendering of planned Memorial Dr. tunnels beneath park: Memorial Park Conservancy

Upping the Ante

17 Comment

  • Just bring back the old biking trails. Last I saw the ho chi minh trail and similar was round 2007; some of it was there/rideable but all the good stuff well eroded and gone. I assume it’s all history at this point.

  • Well this is a blight. Wish Kinder’s would keep their money and leave our park alone.

  • Joel, it’s still there and rockin’. You’re missing out man. I’ve been on it at least a hundred times in the past 3 years and there’s a Facebook group although I don’t TwitFace.

  • Knowing that the Kinder grant came to the city with a string attached (“no spending it on maintenance”), I can understand that the city wants to offload this maintenance cost to users. I’ve got no beef with that since the city is largely broke on any given day.
    Both Memorial and Hermann Parks are huge and require a lot of upkeep after all of the trophy renovations are done with private funds. Charging for parking isn’t necessarily a bad thing: it raises money, incentivizes users to take public transport, and may reduce the number of cars in the park area (lowering pollution and congestion).

  • @Chris, that would indeed be amazing if they went in and revived all those trails closed down over 15 years ago. Not sure if i’m using the right name, but it’s been over 10yrs since I’ve been to memorial so I could certainly imagine a LOT has changed.
    I’m also now remembering the trails that were developed and started on the the SW side of 610 in the early 00’s (guess that’s private property outside the park). Most intense drops I’ve ever seen in Houston. Guess at my age that’s is what they call “the good ol days”.

  • The days of free parking are over and meters at Memorial Park make a lot of sense. The reality is that the impact of parking private vehicles is not free. Parking spaces take up valuable urban real estate and the pavement requires maintenance and lighting while contributing to impermeable surface area and the urban heat island effect. Look at how other major cities across the country are handling parking. Also, look at Galveston…

  • Joel,

    The SW part of the park you noted is called the “Archery Range”. It is public land, but the parks department closed its access a number of years ago. Not sure if they reopened it.

    Yes, it had incredibly crazy drops.

  • The worst thing about this new park will be the new traffic light right after the memorial loop. I mean that light is like 5′ feet from the existing one. They will never be in sync, so it will be an absolute CF just to transit the area. I would have made that area a traffic circle! I see similar WTFWTT in the new retail space at Sage @ Chimney Rock. My assumption is that shoppers will turn right, right at the light going south. Again, CR is already backed up to I-10, this just isn’t helpful. Again, there is now a NEW light at PO just north from Richmond to accommodate the new apartments there. But this light is like 5′ from the light at Hidalgo. There are already 8 million lights on PO and this is unhelpful.

    Long story short, we can’t have a traffic signal at every new damn road.

  • more pretty people moving to Houston makes it less let freedom ring to make it go cha ching cha ching.

  • Bob, I hear you. The plan is to abandon the existing light when that road is torn out

  • Golfers won’t have to worry about the parking meters if Jim Crane moves the Houston open to Memorial Park. With all the improvements they will have to make to the course, probably only 30,000 rounds will be allowed per year instead of 70,000. The geeen fees will probably double and maybe 20% of the golfers who are regulars now will be regulars after. An example would be Torrey Pines in San Diego, a beautiful “public” course. Not too many locals play there on any given day

  • Rather annoying, but I’m guessing that there will still be plenty of free places to park in and around Memorial Park. Similar to Eleanor Tinsley Park – the spaces along Allen Parkway are metered, but nearly all parking along the north side of the park is free.
    Fundamentally, parking restrictions and paid parking should only be used to manage scarcity, NOT to raise money and certainly not for aesthetic reasons (ie to relieve residents of the horrors of “outsiders” parking on “their” streets). If the park is jam-packed every weekend and drivers have to spend 30 minutes circling around to find a space, then fine – add meters. I’ve never spent more than a couple minutes finding a spot at Memorial Park.

  • I agree with Grant’s comment 100%

  • Grant / Paul – exactly who do you expect to pay for your park-ing pleasure? The park fairy? If you want a big lot of weeds and expect no maintenance ever – free parking for all. If no someone needs to foot the bill .. Might as well be the people that use it.

  • Paid parking doesn’t bother me. As long as they give me an annual pass option. Galveston Seawall did the same thing, I’d rather pay $50 up front to secure my license plate at that location for a year than have to handle my iphone for a measly $1 transaction every time I go. Also hoping those land bridges will remove the necessity for most traffic signals thru the park but 610 to the west and Westcott to the east bottleneck traffic way more than anything in the park currently….

  • I agree with GetReal’s comment 100%.

  • All this is great. But for the love can we get a wider than a 3 foot sidewalk from Shepherd bridge to the park. That is one of the biggest flaws in the whole system is the connection between Buffalo bayou trails and the park!