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Houston Central Park


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Hmm, Initially, I like it... I hope that they will be able to keep the bayou clean enough so it's not a nice park with a centerpiece of a river of garbage.

I don't like, however, the article making a New York Central Park reference in the first paragraph simply because these things should be done to improve our own city and not to mimic another city (which I don't believe is the city's intention but I interpret the article presenting it as so).

And LOL at picture #3, I just think that it is amusing how much the two dogs playing tug of war in the artists rendering look more like a racoon or badger playing with a giant beaver.

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I don't like, however, the article making a New York Central Park reference in the first paragraph simply because these things should be done to improve our own city and not to mimic another city (which I don't believe is the city's intention but I interpret the article presenting it as so).

Interesting trivia... The NYC Central Park reference was also made in a Chronicle article regarding Discovery Green, and then Marvy Finger picked up on it and designed an apartment tower fronting Discovery Green it to mimic the Park Plaza hotel, which fronts Central Park in NYC.

I'm pretty sure at this point that the City could re-do the landcaping on the Lovett Street esplanade and the Chronicle would include a comparison to Central Park.

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"Central Park" was also used by Thomas Brady, as a name in his creation of his park-like setting of Magnolia Park, which also became a residential neighborhood, late 1800's, early 1900's, off HArrisburg Blvd, East End Houston. It's not a "new" Houston idea.

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"Central Park" was also used by Thomas Brady, as a name in his creation of his park-like setting of Magnolia Park, which also became a residential neighborhood, late 1800's, early 1900's, off HArrisburg Blvd, East End Houston. It's not a "new" Houston idea.

Great trivia comment, Nena. Good to know that I'm not the only one who likes to interject.

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I don't think it's a bad idea to want to emulate NY's Central Park. From what I've heard and seen through photographs, it's beautiful.

Houston could use more green, less concrete, IMO.

Thanks, sevfiv...that would have been around the time my great-grandparents built , 1910-1912.

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I think Hermann Park is already a pretty good equivalent to Central Park. It only fails in the comparison by not being adjacent to the downtown core even through it is adjacent to TMC. I like the plans they have for Buffalo Bayou, but the park, such as it is, is already there.

We've got some great parks, folks. The major rub being that one must drive there.

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I think Hermann Park is already a pretty good equivalent to Central Park. It only fails in the comparison by not being adjacent to the downtown core even through it is adjacent to TMC. I like the plans they have for Buffalo Bayou, but the park, such as it is, is already there.

Central Park isn't adjacent to Downtown NYC, either. It stretches from Midtown to Uptown and was initially developed about 139 years ago, long before the center of commerce began to shift toward it.

Honestly, I just don't get the need for comparison. Its not like Central Park was the first park ever built; New York certainly did not pioneer the concept of "park".

Between Hermann Park and Memorial Park, Houston developed nearly twice the land area of Central Park...even though they served a much smaller city than NYC at the time. And since then, not unlike NYC, Houston has grown in the direction of each of the respective parks such that they are now truly urban. That might merit a comparison. This Buffalo Bayou project is a fraction the size of any of these parks. If any comparison is appropriate, it is to Battery Park...but maybe, just maybe...we could forgo a comparison to New York City just once. How about Minneapolis? They have linear parks along a waterway.

We've got some great parks, folks. The major rub being that one must drive there.

Not necessarily.

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I'm a huge fan of this project! Just one small thing: I'd really like to see them extend - and connect it to - Sesquicentennial Park.

Regarding the reference to Central Park: I think this is just the reporter's way of building the vision of the park into the mind of the reader. It's one of the (if not the) most recognizable parks in the world - even if you haven't been there.

Having said that, Houston isn't built like NYC - we don't have the same history, cultural values or topography - so we should not strive to be like it in most respects. Houston should simply strive to be the best it can be, in my opinion. Central Park is a vast greenspace that was (principally) designed to be the center of the city at a time when pedestrian or horse-based transport was the norm. That is no longer the case. In Houston, we have a variety of excellent greenspaces that are distributed throughout the area - two of which, of course, are Hermann and Memorial parks.

I don't think it's a bad idea to want to emulate NY's Central Park. From what I've heard and seen through photographs, it's beautiful.

Houston could use more green, less concrete, IMO.

I agree that Houston could use more - and better - parks. Then again, if I could, I would live in the middle of a beautiful urban park. (I almost do now - being about six blocks from Hermann Park.)

However, when compared with other cities, Houston doesn't perform amazingly in the parks department, but it's adequate: Using data from the Trust for Public Land here, Houston ranks at #4 of the largest 10 cities (not metros) with regard to park acreage per capita (~22 acres per 1,000 residents) and #6 with regard to percentage of total city area devoted to park space (13%). Per capita acreage ranges from 36.2 (San Diego) to 4.2 (Chicago) while the latter figure ranges from 23% (San Diego, again) to 8% (Chicago and LA).

Edited by Simbha
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Central Park isn't adjacent to Downtown NYC, either. It stretches from Midtown to Uptown and was initially developed about 139 years ago, long before the center of commerce began to shift toward it.

Honestly, I just don't get the need for comparison. Its not like Central Park was the first park ever built; New York certainly did not pioneer the concept of "park".

Between Hermann Park and Memorial Park, Houston developed nearly twice the land area of Central Park...even though they served a much smaller city than NYC at the time. And since then, not unlike NYC, Houston has grown in the direction of each of the respective parks such that they are now truly urban. That might merit a comparison. This Buffalo Bayou project is a fraction the size of any of these parks. If any comparison is appropriate, it is to Battery Park...but maybe, just maybe...we could forgo a comparison to New York City just once. How about Minneapolis? They have linear parks along a waterway.

I was just about to add these points - almost verbatim.

The distance from Hermann Park to DT Houston is about the same as from DT Manhattan to Central Park. And, while urban development around Hermann Park isn't of the same magnitude as that of the area surrounding Central Park, it is continuing to become more developed. Houston's simply a younger city than NYC - and with different cultural mores. It's not better or worse; it just is. I really don't see why we have to emulate NYC (or other cities) in these ways.

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Except that we're not imitating either city. Central Park was wholly artificial- in this case the city is taking a naturally occuring body of water and using its right-of-way to create a central, urban outdoor space. As mentioned earlier, Buffalo Bayou has more in common with Minneapolis' Grand Rounds, but even the Grand Rounds have the artificial Lake of the Isles which needs constant maintenance to avoid serious flooding subsidence issues for the surrounding homes.

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Sorry, I had in mind the original Central Park in Magnolia Park. Speaking of natural surroundings, the cemetery at Forest Park incorporated a natural pond into a beautiful park-like space. Hare & Hare had a hand in the planning of the newer section, I believe. The chapel and swing-covers of stone are nice. Something to appreciate. I'll exit this topic and return to Historic Houston where I belong, and leave the new bldg. stuff to u guys.

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Except that we're not imitating either city. Central Park was wholly artificial- in this case the city is taking a naturally occuring body of water and using its right-of-way to create a central, urban outdoor space.

Well, not true. Olmsted "imitated" the landscape in Manhattan that existed before development started in the early 1600s (image attached and National Geographic story here: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/09/manhattan/miller-text).

mannahatta.jpg

Computer-generated image of how Manhattan likely looked before development.

Similarly, Houston is attempting to "imitate" the more natural environment that existed in and around Buffalo Bayou before development cleared so many of its native trees, added scored of exotic plants, and caused so much silt to build up on its banks. Personally, I'm excited Guy Hagstette and SWA seek to imitate to natural surroundings of the bayou and add more amenities. If we're lucky, this section of the bayou will become iconic to Houston as Central Park has become to NY.

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Similarly, Houston is attempting to "imitate" the more natural environment that existed in and around Buffalo Bayou before development cleared so many of its native trees, added scored of exotic plants, and caused so much silt to build up on its banks.

Say again!? According to the Buffalo Bayou Partnership's master plan for the Sabine to Shepherd project, they aren't reconfiguring the route of the bayou that was carved out in the 1950's. If this is about getting back to nature, then the bayou needs to look a lot more like the segment west of Shepherd, with numerous bends and draws. You might reference the 1915 topographic maps for a comparison with the "natural environment".

There is no comparison (zero, zip, nada) with New York City's Central Park. Let us not delude ourselves.

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From the Chronicle article in the very first post...

The restructuring effort will focus on a 158-acre, 2.3-mile stretch of the bayou between Shepherd and Sabine, with an emphasis on "resculpting" the bayou channel to restore a more natural meandering path that was scraped away during a 1950s flood control project, said Guy Hagstette, a consultant for the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, which developed the plan.

Edited by RedScare
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From the Chronicle article in the very first post...

Well, either Guy Hagstette got it wrong or the Houston Chronicle got it wrong, as per Hagstette's client's map, published on their website.

Or...I suppose that the people coordinating the project might have gotten it all wrong, or perhaps the contractors have already determine that they will "get it wrong" and develop it in a natural state. It only takes one person to screw up to trigger plenty of secondary screwups, such as on HAIF, after all.

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Or, they intend to take it largely back to its original path, though not exactly. That is what the article implies, and the proposed map shows.

The proposed map indicates that the stream matches up precisely with the most current Google Earth imagery. They are not reconfiguring the bayou itself.

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Interesting trivia I remember reading about regarding Houston and park space...

Houston has more park space than any other city in the USA.

I can't remember at this point though whether they were referencing parks and recreation, or parking space for cars though..

At any rate, I too dislike their need to compare to a park from a different city, we've got plenty of parks that it can be compared against.

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Keep in mind that no one from the City or the Buffalo Bayou Partnership made this inane comparison. It was made by a Chronicle reporter. It was ignorant and inaccurate, but it was a reporter. Better to simply ignore them. The project itself will still be of immense value to Houstonians, even if it bears no resemblance whatsoever to famous parks in other cities.

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Keep in mind that no one from the City or the Buffalo Bayou Partnership made this inane comparison. It was made by a Chronicle reporter. It was ignorant and inaccurate, but it was a reporter. Better to simply ignore them. The project itself will still be of immense value to Houstonians, even if it bears no resemblance whatsoever to famous parks in other cities.

I don't disagree, but that won't change the title of this thread or that there have been 29 posts thus far, primarily debating a comparison to Central Park. It was an inane comment, but it was evidently a powerful one too.

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I don't disagree, but that won't change the title of this thread or that there have been 29 posts thus far, primarily debating a comparison to Central Park. It was an inane comment, but it was evidently a powerful one too.

I don't disagree, but that won't change the title of this thread or that there have been 29 posts thus far, primarily debating a comparison to Central Park. It was an inane comment, but it was evidently a powerful one too.

LOL. I knew the title alone would generate a lot of controversy. Just don't shoot the messenger.

Comparisons aside it does sound nice. I remember talk years ago about turning Buffalo Bayou into kind of a river walk like San Antonio to generate more tourist. Maybe this is the first step.

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LOL. I knew the title alone would generate a lot of controversy. Just don't shoot the messenger.

Comparisons aside it does sound nice. I remember talk years ago about turning Buffalo Bayou into kind of a river walk like San Antonio to generate more tourist. Maybe this is the first step.

Phase 1 of their pipe dream is the West end, Shepherd to Sabine. Phase 2 is downtown, which is close to "riverwalkification" and addition of a canal through northeast downtown between UH Downtown and the Minute Maid Park area.

http://www.buffalobayou.org/pdf/Downtown.pdf

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I can't wait to walk around and start enjoying HOUSTON CENTRAL PARK. HOUSTON CENTRAL PARK will be fantastic. HOUSTON CENTRAL PARK will probably have many cool towers built around it. Everyone will love HOUSTON CENTRAL PARK. HOUSTON CENTRAL PARK will make New York's Central Park look like a pile of puke. I love HOUSTON CENTRAL PARK.

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LOL. I knew the title alone would generate a lot of controversy. Just don't shoot the messenger.

Comparisons aside it does sound nice. I remember talk years ago about turning Buffalo Bayou into kind of a river walk like San Antonio to generate more tourist. Maybe this is the first step.

You know, I was going to mention something like this talking about a Riverwalk type of setup, but it would have made my brief rant on labeling these things twice as long. Aside from imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, having a nice restaurant setup along the Bayou has potential. It may be a Bayou, not a river, but don't sell a bayou short... House of Pies had/has the Bayou Goo pie and that thing is delicious. B)

I can't wait to walk around and start enjoying HOUSTON CENTRAL PARK. HOUSTON CENTRAL PARK will be fantastic. HOUSTON CENTRAL PARK will probably have many cool towers built around it. Everyone will love HOUSTON CENTRAL PARK. HOUSTON CENTRAL PARK will make New York's Central Park look like a pile of puke. I love HOUSTON CENTRAL PARK.

Ahh, make it stop... Nah, do what you want... 30 posts later and I had to get used to it.

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Let's change the subject.

Allen Parkway will still pose a significant boundary between the bayou and Montrose. There are already multiple bridges that cross Memorial, but every intersection at Allen is somewhat...questionable.

I would love to see Dunlavy somehow connect to the bayou, particularly once that new pedestrian bridge is installed. I would ride up Dunlavy and cross up to Washington (avoiding Waugh) multiple times a week if that happened.

Discuss.

Edited by Texasota
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Let's change the subject.

Allen Parkway will still pose a significant boundary between the bayou and Montrose. There are already multiple bridges that cross Memorial, but every intersection at Allen is somewhat...questionable.

I would love to see Dunlavy somehow connect to the bayou, particularly once that new pedestrian bridge is installed. I would ride up Dunlavy and cross up to Washington (avoiding Waugh) multiple times a week if that happened.

Discuss.

Dunlavy would have to go over, under, or around an existing cemetery to cross the bayou; any selected path would make for another funky Allen Parkway intersection. There also does not exist any appropriate right of way on the north bank to connect to. Jackson Hill just couldn't handle that kind of volume of traffic, IMO.

I think that it would've been preferable to turn Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive into side streets (like Memorial Way in Old Sixth Ward) and to tunnel a single thoroughfare, a freeway, under the park and below the bayou. This would allow for additional connections to secondary thoroughfares (like Dunlavy), increase allowable vehicular speeds, increase the amount of park area, and provide the ability to prevent flooding of the roadway during minor floods or to allow them to be flooded so as to provide additional stormwater retention during major floods.

If we wanted to get real ambitious, we could extend and connect that project as a toll road buried underneath the Union Pacific tracks that parallel the West Loop, providing direct connections to toll lanes on the Hempstead, I-10, Westpark, and Fort Bend Parkway corridors. Build it to Autobahn specifications, allowing for higher speed limits (or no speed limits). Then charge congestion pricing and allow for some contributions by HCTRA for flood control and METRO for improved Park & Ride service, and I'm pretty sure that the project could be funded. The only trick would be getting Union Pacific to sign off on it, I think.

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Dunlavy would have to go over, under, or around an existing cemetery to cross the bayou; any selected path would make for another funky Allen Parkway intersection. There also does not exist any appropriate right of way on the north bank to connect to. Jackson Hill just couldn't handle that kind of volume of traffic, IMO.

I think that it would've been preferable to turn Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive into side streets (like Memorial Way in Old Sixth Ward) and to tunnel a single thoroughfare, a freeway, under the park and below the bayou. This would allow for additional connections to secondary thoroughfares (like Dunlavy), increase allowable vehicular speeds, increase the amount of park area, and provide the ability to prevent flooding of the roadway during minor floods or to allow them to be flooded so as to provide additional stormwater retention during major floods.

If we wanted to get real ambitious, we could extend and connect that project as a toll road buried underneath the Union Pacific tracks that parallel the West Loop, providing direct connections to toll lanes on the Hempstead, I-10, Westpark, and Fort Bend Parkway corridors. Build it to Autobahn specifications, allowing for higher speed limits (or no speed limits). Then charge congestion pricing and allow for some contributions by HCTRA for flood control and METRO for improved Park & Ride service, and I'm pretty sure that the project could be funded. The only trick would be getting Union Pacific to sign off on it, I think.

Like our very own Holland Tunnel?

Sorry Niche, it's hard to resist now.

Edited by samagon
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Volume of traffic? Sorry, I mean pedestrian/cycling access to the bayou. As a cyclist I would love to ride up Dunlavy, somehow magically bypass Allen Parkway, ride past the little Jewish cemetary, then take the future bridge over the bayou and the existing bridge over Memorial to Jackson Hill. The cheapest way to make that safe would be to add a light and crosswalk at that intersection.

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Editor, can we PLEASE get back the ability to give negative reputation to Mister X?

I'm already "excellent" and can only get better from here on out. :P The sky's the limit now and I live for being liked on the internet. There is nothing more important than what anonymous strangers think! And no one is stranger than Niche! :P :P

Buffalo Bayou will be just exactly like Central Park in every conceivable way - so we just might as well get used to calling it Central Park right now.

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omg referencing Central Park?! how could they do that!!!????!!! i too am now confused and feel this will end houston's reputation as we know it and i will never be able to enjoy it, no matter how cool it is, because of that comparison....OMG!!!

in other news this new development is exciting and just what that area needs

;)

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