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Buffalo Bayou Master Plan


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After that, they need to add a separated bike lane to Memorial Park alongside that mile long section of Memorial Dr. 

 

 

yeah the city definitely needs to figure out what theyre going to do with Memorial Dr through that mile stretch.

 

I always thought that stretch would be a perfect candidate for an elevated bike & walkway (a la the Highline) above the esplanades / middle of memorial dr connecting Memorial and Buffalo Bayou park.

 

Of course, you'd avoid the industrial look of the Highline and try to make it blend / make it look like a continuation of the parks.... but you get my idea. The parts of memorial from Detering to Shepphard without esplanades could possibly have an ivy covered wall separating the east and westbound traffic that supports the raised bikeway/walkway.

 

IDK the cost, but it would be pretty figgin' awesome.

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Is this new? Buffalo Bayou East Master Plan

I tell you what I missed when I lived in Boston... spring in February. Houston sure looks good with azaleas in bloom and trees budding. You had to wait until May for Spring to hit Boston.   

Houston is a looker in my eyes 😍

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I always thought that stretch would be a perfect candidate for an elevated bike & walkway (a la the Highline) above the esplanades / middle of memorial dr connecting Memorial and Buffalo Bayou park.

 

Of course, you'd avoid the industrial look of the Highline and try to make it blend / make it look like a continuation of the parks.... but you get my idea. The parts of memorial from Detering to Shepphard without esplanades could possibly have an ivy covered wall separating the east and westbound traffic that supports the raised bikeway/walkway.

 

IDK the cost, but it would be pretty figgin' awesome.

 

So maybe something like this?

 

Bicycle-Snake-Bridge-by-DISSINGWEITLING-

 

This was a bridge recently completed in Denmark.

 

I do agree with the point that this would be a golden opportunity to once and for all negotiate the different modes of travel along Allen Parkway and have them separated from each other. I haven't seen any dedicated bike lanes in these "renderings" (more quick photoshop schemes which is fine), but I think a wise move would be to continue what is being done on Lamar and stretch it from downtown along Allen Parkway and yes with the green color as well to help demarcate where each mode of travel goes.

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is there a reason the Buffalo Bayou trails are so sporadic through downtown?

and yeahh.. no elevated stuff will fly on that ritzy residential stretch of Memorial between Memorial Park and BBP. we could always go with building a boardwalk along the non residential sides of Buffalo Bayou between the two parks.. heh. a more reasonable, though not as scenic alternative would be to pave over the median that is present in that span of Memorial Dr and push all the lanes together to the north side of the ROW, leaving some pavement on the southern edge of the ROW for a protected bike lane.
but really they need to address that stretch of Memorial Dr all together and trench the street below those intersections. if they ever do all that maybe they can figure out a more permanent/appealing bike lane solution.

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There must be other cities with bayou-like land who have done something nice with it so we can imagine what is possible, anyone know of any and have a pic?

 

I saw miles of these bike bridges all around Moab, Utah.  They must have cost a fortune, but they were a way to make bike paths along the rivers where the roads are too skinny to add bike lanes.

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So basically this project is just moving from west to east, correct? Anyone know if there is already any funding for the central and eastern portions of the bayou?

Also, I'm hoping the north canal proposal is still part of the plan.

When it is all said and done this may be one of the greatest projects ever in Houston. I can't wait to see what kind of development this spurs going east.

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This is one of the greatest projects going in Houston.  Now let's talk about the actual water quality.

 

Short of introducing dyes or paving the bottom, can anything be done upstream or downstream to turn the water at least somewhat clear?  I'm talking Turkey Bend clear, not Miami Beach.  Similarly, what can be done to improve the smell around Sesquicentennial Park/Sunset Coffee Building?  Most Houstonians above a certain age, and a lot of tourists, still view Buffalo Bayou as dirty sewer water, so that needs to be addressed, regardless of how many amenities are placed next to it. 

 

What about installing a few fountains in the middle of the bayou in downtown?  I'm not an engineer, but it seems like that would move some of the silt around, deter mosquitoes, and possibly help with the smell by circulating the water.  Please don't rip me if that's a bad idea.  Just trying to think of something.

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One of the things that can be done to help is the Memorial Park Demonstration project just upstream.  If you look at that area right now it is almost completely silt and sand at and near the banks because of erosion.  Every time it floods all that gets washed down here and deposits.  But who knows if that will get approved due to the backlash against it from some corners.

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Streams change course over time.  That's just what they do.

 

Most of the rainwater runoff goes into the bayous eventually.  That runoff includes fertilizer from lawns plus all sorts of other organic materials like leaves and bird dookie and what have you.  All that stuff feeds algae and other suspended microbes that get together with some suspended dirt (and tire dust and whatever other nasty stuff washes off the roads) to cause turbidity.  Sure, the bayous were kinda clear 100 years ago upstream of the sewers.  But their clay bottoms have since been destroyed by the Corps of Engineers channelization projects that are now slowing getting undone, and we have about five or six million extra people in the watersheds.

 

tl;dr:  No, the water's not going to be even somewhat clear without some sort of miracle.

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Streams change course over time.  That's just what they do.

 

Most of the rainwater runoff goes into the bayous eventually.  That runoff includes fertilizer from lawns plus all sorts of other organic materials like leaves and bird dookie and what have you.  All that stuff feeds algae and other suspended microbes that get together with some suspended dirt (and tire dust and whatever other nasty stuff washes off the roads) to cause turbidity.  Sure, the bayous were kinda clear 100 years ago upstream of the sewers.  But their clay bottoms have since been destroyed by the Corps of Engineers channelization projects that are now slowing getting undone, and we have about five or six million extra people in the watersheds.

 

tl;dr:  No, the water's not going to be even somewhat clear without some sort of miracle.

 

To add to this, name one major city on earth that has clear water running through it. Venice, of all places, smells AWFUL for the majority of the year. Same with Bangkok, London, Vienna, Cairo, etc.

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Streams change course over time.  That's just what they do.

 

Most of the rainwater runoff goes into the bayous eventually.  That runoff includes fertilizer from lawns plus all sorts of other organic materials like leaves and bird dookie and what have you.  All that stuff feeds algae and other suspended microbes that get together with some suspended dirt (and tire dust and whatever other nasty stuff washes off the roads) to cause turbidity.  Sure, the bayous were kinda clear 100 years ago upstream of the sewers.  But their clay bottoms have since been destroyed by the Corps of Engineers channelization projects that are now slowing getting undone, and we have about five or six million extra people in the watersheds.

 

tl;dr:  No, the water's not going to be even somewhat clear without some sort of miracle.

 

The original master planned included adjoining wetlands that would serve as natural filtration for runoff. These didn't make it into the final design for some reason. As the park extends to the east side, they envisioned transforming industrial sites into wetlands and nature preserves that would significantly lessen the impact of runoff. I don't know if that is still the plan. As far as I know, there are only two examples of this to date: Buffalo Bend Park way out by the turning basin, which includes 3 storm water retention ponds, and Japhet Creek, which is one of the last natural tributaries to the bayou. It is currently protected as part of the Federal Green Fingers initiative. All the others have presumably been paved over.  

 

I think the work they've done so far is great, but without the ecological aspects, the project will fall short of it's ultimate vision.

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I lived near Briarbend park (near intersection of Westhiemer and Voss) a couple years ago, and it wasn't unusual for the water to be extremely clear, like drinking water clear, right there. Usually when it hadn't rained for awhile and wasn't raging from runoff. 

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This is an interesting question.  As far as personal observation, I have seen guys successfully bow-fishing for carp in the upper reaches of Buffalo Bayou.  However, that was years ago.  Also, I used to see people fishing on the bayou below the Barker spillway.  

 

Also years ago, after the 70s-era cleanup, there were reports of shrimp returning to the ship-channel portion of Buffalo Bayou.  Perhaps that was a fluke or just wishful thinking.  

 

I don't know about fish, but in any case, there are certainly plenty of reptiles and amphibians in all the bayous.  Also a lot of bird and mammal life.  I live and work not far from Buffalo Bayou and I still see large predatory birds looking for food.  Once one perched on my balcony railing and it was impressive to see close up.

 

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This is an interesting question.  As far as personal observation, I have seen guys successfully bow-fishing for carp in the upper reaches of Buffalo Bayou.  However, that was years ago.  Also, I used to see people fishing on the bayou below the Barker spillway.  

 

Also years ago, after the 70s-era cleanup, there were reports of shrimp returning to the ship-channel portion of Buffalo Bayou.  Perhaps that was a fluke or just wishful thinking.  

 

I don't know about fish, but in any case, there are certainly plenty of reptiles and amphibians in all the bayous.  Also a lot of bird and mammal life.  I live and work not far from Buffalo Bayou and I still see large predatory birds looking for food.  Once one perched on my balcony railing and it was impressive to see close up.

Used to work at a shipyard just inside the loop 15 yrs ago that had drydocks, when the drydock came back up we occasionally had shrimp on it.

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Among other fishes, there are alligator gar and catfish in Buffalo Bayou.

 

To add to this, name one major city on earth that has clear water running through it. Venice, of all places, smells AWFUL for the majority of the year. Same with Bangkok, London, Vienna, Cairo, etc.

 

I appreciate the response.  However, I don't want to get into the "...name one..." trivia game because, no matter how many cities I name, no two waterways are the same.  For instance, I don't have to travel across the Atlantic to point out that the San Antonio River looks 10x cleaner and clearer than Buffalo Bayou, but it would be silly of me to compare the two for a lot of reasons (population, elevation, sediment, etc.).

 

If the City of Houston wanted a clearer Buffalo Bayou, at all costs, then I'm sure they could accomplish that.  It's just a question of what would have to be sacrificed.

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Going to be The Dunlavy, Pavilion at Lost Lake. Event space and Café (I think) and will have Kayak/Canoe Rental. Went in last weekend to explore. Its really going to be great! Love the Water Feature which leads from the Street level to the lake itself.

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Going to be The Dunlavy, Pavilion at Lost Lake. Event space and Café (I think) and will have Kayak/Canoe Rental. Went in last weekend to explore. Its really going to be great! Love the Water Feature which leads from the Street level to the lake itself.

 

It really is. If I remember correctly it is designed by Perkins & Will (a pretty good architecture firm).

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Anyone have pics of the concert pavilion?

Here is the older concert pavilion that was finished last summer and some pics of the almost completed one over the old cistern.

 

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 I read an article on the Dallas Morning News.  It was about Houston Has A Park?  They did a write up about Buffalo Bayou Master Plan.  How nice it was with bike trails, jogging, the dog park lake.  Also the other lake with a restaurant, and all the bridges.  Cleaning all the brush and planting nature plants, and over 1,000 trees.  There point is they want to do the same to the Trinity River.  But instead they are building a Trinity Tollway right down the center of it.    

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 I read an article on the Dallas Morning News.  It was about Houston Has A Park?  They did a write up about Buffalo Bayou Master Plan.  How nice it was with bike trails, jogging, the dog park lake.  Also the other lake with a restaurant, and all the bridges.  Cleaning all the brush and planting nature plants, and over 1,000 trees.  There point is they want to do the same to the Trinity River.  But instead they are building a Trinity Tollway right down the center of it.    

 

The awesome architecture firm, OMA (the firm of Rem Koolhaas) did this little guy as part of a competition for Connected Cities.

 

http://www.oma.eu/projects/2013/dallas-connected-city/

 

I'm actually surprised this hasn't really been mentioned before because it's pretty epic in scale and would be an incredible vision to put forward. We are starting to see big ideas like this move forward here in Houston such as this Buffalo Bayou Master Plan and the reroute of I-45, but this thing is colossal. Many forget that the Trinity River used to be a very nice little river, but because its tributaries have been damned up so much it has been reduced to a small trickle through the heart of downtown Dallas which is a real shame. Not to mention you had Dallas doing the same thing we did here in Houston where tried to help water flow by straightening the river.

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Yes I was very surprised they great article on Houston.  To be honest I like their newspaper better than chron.com!  The article said that the Trinity River has different departments and cannot agree with to do with the river.  Does that sound familiar?  Once Buffalo Bayou Park is completed it will turn heads across the country.  :)

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I read an article on the Dallas Morning News. It was about Houston Has A Park? They did a write up about Buffalo Bayou Master Plan. How nice it was with bike trails, jogging, the dog park lake. Also the other lake with a restaurant, and all the bridges. Cleaning all the brush and planting nature plants, and over 1,000 trees. There point is they want to do the same to the Trinity River. But instead they are building a Trinity Tollway right down the center of it.

Do you have a link? I would like to read

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Trying to find it.  On 05/01/2015 the Dallas Morning News are debating whether the Tollway will have 6 or 8 lanes.  Seems they will not build a park.  I'm going to Dallas Morning News and searching for Buffalo Bayou.  There is a video of it also still looking while working.

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Absolutely great pictures hindesky! Can you imagine what the experience will be for visitors of our city when this is complete? The 4th of July, anyone?Btw, the article was great...We know now people are watching. Great job Buffalo Bayou Partnership!

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I found this on Swamplot this morning. I don't believe it has been linked here yet.

http://urbanland.uli.org/industry-sectors/bayou-city-reclaiming-houstons-signature-waterways/

 

It's an interesting read.

 

Another great article! Thanks for finding it. This confirmed what I've heard in the past, that the 2020 initiative will begin to remove the concrete channels on some of bayous, which will enhance their natural beauty and provide better protection from flooding and erosion. 

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