Hike and Bike Trail Between Buffalo Bayou Trails and White Oak Bayou Greenway Now Open
Ribbon cutting ceremony marked the last of the six-part $30 million “Houston Regional Bike/Ped Connections to Transit” project
Project was funded by US Department of Transportation’s Transportation Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program
Originally awarded in 2012 to the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, the “Houston Regional Bike/Ped Connections to Transit” project was funded by a $15 million USDOT TIGER grant, combined with local matching donations raised by the Houston Parks Board, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Greater East End Management District and other partners. The General Service Department managed the project on behalf of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department.
“I am excited about the opening of the trail connecting White Oak Bayou and Buffalo Bayou. The trail will create convenient access for people walking, bicycling or simply enjoying the great outdoors who want to connect with neighbors and downtown Houston in a new way,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “This also brings us another step closer to realizing our vision of complete and connected communities.”
“The completion of the TIGER grant project is a shining example of the power of partnerships,” said Steve Wright, Director Houston Parks and Recreation Department. “Together, we can do great things working toward a common goal of connecting neighborhoods through parks and greenspaces.
Linking White Oak Bayou Greenway to Buffalo Bayou trails and greenspaces including Buffalo Bayou Park, this new segment will connect Houstonians to downtown, transit centers, communities, recreational areas and each other. It serves as an alternative transportation thoroughfare for the Houston workforce and students to safely and easily commute to downtown. It also provides easier access to destinations north of White Oak Bayou Greenway and across the I-10 corridor.
“We are thrilled to celebrate the completion of this downtown trail connector because it will serve such a vast number of communities, local businesses, residents and visitors,” said Beth White, President and CEO of Houston Parks Board. “Houston Parks Board is proud to have helped manage this project, and the completion of this hike-and-bike trail is just one of our many efforts to increase connectivity throughout the city of Houston.”
This hike-and-bike trail connector provides a vital contribution to the grand vision of the Bayou Greenways network.
Bayou Greenways 2020 is a public-private partnership between the nonprofit Houston Parks Board, the City of Houston and the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and is being implemented in close collaboration with the Harris County Flood Control District, which manages the county’s bayous and creeks for drainage and flood risk reduction. It will transform 3,000 acres of underutilized land along nine major waterways into a 150-mile linear park and trail system that crisscrosses the city.
The Bayou Greenways are maintained by the Houston Parks Board’s Conservation and Maintenance Team through an agreement with the City of Houston. Maintenance responsibilities include regular mowing, de-littering, and graffiti abatement. The conservation program serves to enhance the linear parklands with habitat boxes, native plantings, wildflower plantings and tree plantings.
“We have always seen this area as the nexus of Houston’s hike and bike trail system,” said Anne Olson, President of Buffalo Bayou Partnership. “The new trail segment will not only link bicyclists and pedestrians to Buffalo Bayou’s parks but will offer them an alternative mode of transportation to their jobs in downtown.”
“The completion of this connector trail further breaks down barriers for East End commuters and visitors of the District alike,” said Veronica Chapa Gorczynski, President of Greater East End Management District. “We’re thrilled to have another safe, off-street option for walkers, joggers and cyclists to navigate our great City.”
ALL PHOTOS BY F. CARTER SMITH