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Memorial Park Master Plan

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They are indeed building a new bridge to connect the jogging trail to the south side of the park. There are going to be new parking lots (which is sorely needed), new trails, and a "running center" built over there to try and alleviate some of the awful congestion around the jogging loop and tennis courts. I can't wait for it to be finished, personally.

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Parking is sorely needed but I hate the idea of losing more of the natural woods on the South side of Memorial Drive for a surface lot and even more trails. I wish we'd spend the money and do it right by burying the parking underneath the playing fields similar to Discovery Green or even the Boston Common (parking is under the tennis courts/softball fields).

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Cool thanks for the info. Memorial park is long due for an upgrade. I saw a jogger almost get killed by a stray hubcap the other day. They need to put a nice fence up against memorial.

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Cool thanks for the info. Memorial park is long due for an upgrade. I saw a jogger almost get killed by a stray hubcap the other day. They need to put a nice fence up against memorial.

I skip running the Memorial side. I tend to start at one light and run the U and then turn back. Gives me a nice 4 mile jog. Plus, I get to miss the HUGE incline hill :)

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One problem I see with this is its going to put the cyclists and joggers in conflict. There has been a nice truce in Memorial Park with the joggers on the dirt trail on the North side of Memorial and the cyclists on the paved trail on the South side, and on Picnic Circle. I had always thought this was largely because jogging on dirt is more low-impact for a jogger than paving, and because paving is better for a bicycle.

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One problem I see with this is its going to put the cyclists and joggers in conflict. There has been a nice truce in Memorial Park with the joggers on the dirt trail on the North side of Memorial and the cyclists on the paved trail on the South side, and on Picnic Circle. I had always thought this was largely because jogging on dirt is more low-impact for a jogger than paving, and because paving is better for a bicycle.

I agree that the current separation is practical and working well. I guess they just want to make it more "one park" and give walkers/joggers access to the hardly-ever-full parking lots on the south side. Lots of people park there already and just walk across at the light, this will just make it safer.

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Parking is sorely needed but I hate the idea of losing more of the natural woods on the South side of Memorial Drive for a surface lot and even more trails. I wish we'd spend the money and do it right by burying the parking underneath the playing fields similar to Discovery Green or even the Boston Common (parking is under the tennis courts/softball fields).

It doesn't appear that they are adding any new parking.

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One problem I see with this is its going to put the cyclists and joggers in conflict. There has been a nice truce in Memorial Park with the joggers on the dirt trail on the North side of Memorial and the cyclists on the paved trail on the South side, and on Picnic Circle. I had always thought this was largely because jogging on dirt is more low-impact for a jogger than paving, and because paving is better for a bicycle.

Dirt is much better for bicycles! Where is the challenge in riding a bike on smooth pavement? That is just plain boring. If I couldn't ride my bike on dirt trails, I wouldn't ride it at all.

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Dirt is much better for bicycles! Where is the challenge in riding a bike on smooth pavement? That is just plain boring. If I couldn't ride my bike on dirt trails, I wouldn't ride it at all.

For dirt bikes and hybrids.. yes. For road bikes, not so much.

You find riding a bike on gravel or dirt to be challenging ?

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Nope. That's further down the bayou, near Montrose Blvd.

At this point it's all the same thing.

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At this point it's all the same thing.

Oh, well then (referencing your sig) Houston is the same as Dallas and Atlanta--so quit yer bitchin'.

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Oh, well then (referencing your sig) Houston is the same as Dallas and Atlanta--so quit yer bitchin'.

Love it!

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I really wish they'd get the Bayou City Arts Festival out of Memorial Park. It's a terrible location for such a big event. There's no parking and only two ways into and out of the park.

I went jogging this afternoon and the park was getting trashed.

I really hated seeing people have such total disregard for the park (parking on lawns/fields, not putting their trash in the trashcans, smoking and walking 6 abreast on the trail, etc...).

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I really wish they'd get the Bayou City Arts Festival out of Memorial Park. It's a terrible location for such a big event. There's no parking and only two ways into and out of the park.

The park location sucks for this event. A woman I work with is on the board of a number of arts groups including the festival. According to her, they are trying to have both the spring and fall events downtown but it's .... complicated. My partner and I have friends who fly in to show at the festivals, and everyone we talk with, visitors, artists, patrons, dislike the Memorial Park venue. I think it's just a matter of time.

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or, THE DISCOVERY GREEN.

Ample parking and I am sure the downtown restaurants, the Pavilions, and even the hotels would love to have the spillover business.

I am not kidding you when I tell you that it took me 37 minutes to run around the park but almost one full hour to get out of the park when I was finished jogging. The traffic was terrible. I feel sorry for anyone who had a golf or tennis game lined up as I saw one guy carrying his clubs from the corner of the park near the railroad tracks!

Memorial Park is a terrible venue for this festival. That said, it was nice to see so many people walking and enjoying the day (people were walking from Wescott, from the West Loop, from all over the park, etc...)

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or, THE DISCOVERY GREEN.

Ample parking and I am sure the downtown restaurants, the Pavilions, and even the hotels would love to have the spillover business.

I am not kidding you when I tell you that it took me 37 minutes to run around the park but almost one full hour to get out of the park when I was finished jogging. The traffic was terrible. I feel sorry for anyone who had a golf or tennis game lined up as I saw one guy carrying his clubs from the corner of the park near the railroad tracks!

Memorial Park is a terrible venue for this festival. That said, it was nice to see so many people walking and enjoying the day (people were walking from Wescott, from the West Loop, from all over the park, etc...)

I attended the BCAF last weekend and thought the park was a PERFECT place for it. I have been to the one in Downtown twice - it's ok but very urban feeling. I loved having all the booths essentially in a big circle so you didn't even have to plan a path through the event. The art seemed to be even more highlighted when it was surrounded by trees instead of being towered over by downtown skyrises.

Attendees shouldn't have been trying to park at Memorial since there were free shuttles from off-site locations. We parked at the NW mall and hopped on a bus right to the ticket booth. It was simple and fast. no driving around for a far-away spot that was taking away from other non-BCAF-park-patrons' parking options.

just my 2 cents.

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Cool thanks for the info. Memorial park is long due for an upgrade. I saw a jogger almost get killed by a stray hubcap the other day. They need to put a nice fence up against memorial.

Jeez, I just got back from San Fransico and if you think Memorial is bad, you should see Highway One, The PCH. One false move and you're dead. No gaurd rails, no shoulder....just a loooooooong way down. A flying "hub cap" (do they exist anymore?) is nothing.

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I hadn't been to Memorial Park in a while, but noticed a segment on channel 11 news last night about it. It sure looked very very crowded...i mean damn...how many people are out there? Looks like i'll be avoiding going there.

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I really wish they'd get the Bayou City Arts Festival out of Memorial Park. It's a terrible location for such a big event. There's no parking and only two ways into and out of the park.

I went jogging this afternoon and the park was getting trashed.

I really hated seeing people have such total disregard for the park (parking on lawns/fields, not putting their trash in the trashcans, smoking and walking 6 abreast on the trail, etc...).

I went to the festival and didn't notice people parking on the grass and generally saw a bunch of well-behaved arts-n-crafts browsers. I assume (but don't know for sure) that most of the attendees came by the free shuttle buses provided. One from Northwest mall (I took that one) and one from downtown somewhere.

Sorry we spoiled your jog.

Edited by Robert W. Boyd

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so what's going on with this new bridge?

If you're referring to the one by the railroad tracks on the west side of the tracks, it's already been built. Looks purty.

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Wow, I totally didn't realize that. I need to get out a little further west when I go out there...

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http://www.chron.com/life/article/Memorial-Park-proposal-bridges-history-and-ecology-5763029.php?cmpid=bna

 

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emorial Park could dramatically change if a long-range master plan being proposed is adopted byHouston City Council.

The long-range plan was commissioned by theHouston Parks and Recreation Department, the Uptown Park tax increment reinvestment zone and the privately-funded Memorial Park Conservancy. The internationally-renowned landscape architecture firmNelson Byrd Woltz is nearly three months into a 10-month design process, and should have the master plan complete by April, when it would go before the council for a vote.

The city's premiere park stretches across 1,500 acres, almost twice as large as New York's Central Park. But to Thomas Woltz, Nelson Byrd Woltz principal, it feels much smaller. Over time the land has been divided into 24 tracts by roads, railroads and recreational amenities.

At a public meeting Wednesday, Woltz presented his firm's initial design strategies and the reasoning behind them - which were driven by previous public input and a year's research by a team of about 70 local experts in fields like soil science, ecology, history and archaeology.

He used maps, drawings and aerial views to explain the park's ecological and cultural histories, also unveiling a dramatic solution to one of the landscape's biggest problems. Woltz is proposing a grass- and tree-covered land bridge, 800 feet long, that would rise gently across Memorial Drive, over a tunnel, to reconnect the park's north and south sides.

While it's not realistic to remove the street, which is crucial to Houston's traffic circulation, the land bridge is "a kind of triumph ... the park wins," Woltz said.The current pedestrian bridge on the park's western side, completed in 2009, was an important first gesture toward stitching the park's landscape back together, Woltz said. "This land bridge builds on that beginning at a much larger scale."

That's just the most visible aspect of a plan that would also restore the damaged ecology, enhance recreational amenities and optimize the park's potential to be what he calls a "performative" landscape. A natural pond system, for example, could be used to irrigate the golf course, saving 68 million gallons of water a year.

Woltz envisions a mixed landscape of savannah, wetlands and prairie, more like what the Karankawas experienced when they lived in the area centuries ago. And he would add a tribute to the soldiers of Camp Logan, the World War I training camp that was there from 1917 to 1919. Those plans will be revealed at the next public meeting on Nov. 10.

The park's recreational amenities also would be improved. High-activity areas currently on the park's south side could be relocated within the park to protect the least-disturbed, fragile ecologies along the bayou - an area Woltz sees as a preserve for people on foot or on bikes.

The Uptown Park TIRZ is committed to spending $100 to $150 million on the restoration projects and infrastructure, project director Sarah Newbery said. Memorial Park Conservancy is studying how much it can raise in the next 10 or 20 years toward the effort.

"But we think of this in terms of a 100-year or 75-year plan. We'll execute large parts of it in the next three to 15 years; but there can be a road map for the next generation as well," conservancy executive director Shellye Alford said.

 

 

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One of the slides in the chron article looks like it shows at least six of these bridges.  Hope they can get this done sooner rather than later.

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One of the slides in the chron article looks like it shows at least six of these bridges.  Hope they can get this done sooner rather than later.

 

I've counted nine, including one over the west loop.

 

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This is pretty much what I was trying to convey in a previous thread about Memorial Park.  I'm glad someone else thinks like me about this park.

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Awesome plan! These bridges exist in Europe to help maintain safe crossings for wildlife, and now it's bridging humans to be able to enjoy the huge space that is Memorial Park. Really spectacular. I'm interested to see the plans for the bridge over 610 as it seems to be a bit smaller.

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Canada has wildlife crossings too - they're either overpasses or underpasses for roadways.  Personally I think its a good idea.  It'll bring the park together better.  Makes sense to me - I've long wondered why this wasn't thought of previously.

 

Besides, it'll give us a few more hills in Houston for our kids to roll down, sit on watching fireworks and concerts and just gaze upon.  I'm all for it.

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I like how the Uptown Tirz has committed $100-150M. That gives this a real chance. It's nice to have such a vision for this important park as our city becomes more dense.

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I like how the design is meant to be accessible to the general public, as demonstrated by the presence of VWs in the rendering, rather than Audis.  :mellow:

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Sure would be great if they plan on putting as much of the rail in a tunnel under a land bridge as they can as well. Those high voltage power lines too.

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Sure would be great if they plan on putting as much of the rail in a tunnel under a land bridge as they can as well. Those high voltage power lines too.

Yeah, if only they could trench that whole line inside the loop.

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^Interesting.  However, shouldn't there also be an area where people can just float around and swim casually with their kids and friends?  Still, good to see ideas like this taking root in this town!

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^Interesting.  However, shouldn't there also be an area where people can just float around and swim casually with their kids and friends?  Still, good to see ideas like this taking root in this town!

 

Isn't there already a pool in the park for that ?

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Yes, but if we're remaking things - why not remake the entire pool complex?  No one wants to use an old pool over a new one.

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There are land bridges, well actually under passes all over Texas for wildlife and livestock to cross under highways. There are several on US 77 and 281 where the highway cuts through the King and Yturria ranches.

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