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Buffalo Bayou Master Plan

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I was out on the bayou Saturday (walking and picnic) and Sunday (biking). Both days there were a lot of people out- walkers, runners, bikers, skaters (inline and board), people reading, in hammocks, photo shoots - all ages, races, different kinds of people - heard 4 languages that were not english or spanish in a one hour timeframe. This is such a great asset for our city, and definitely being fully utilized. One good way to distinguish the transplants and locals: when you see non-runners in t-shirts next then others like my wife wearing their heaviest winter coat and hat - when it was 50F out.

 

There were several people each time I went waiting out the traffic and crossing at Allen Pkwy and Taft. A light and pedestrian crossing will be important there - I just hope the city puts some smarts behind it to minimize backups on Allen during rush hour.

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The bike/pedestrian trail is now complete on the south side of the bayou between Sesquicentennial Park and Allen's Landing.

 

 

They've also upgraded the steps connecting the path to this rear patio behind the Magnolia Brewery building.  Somebody put a cafe here please & thanks.  

 

 

I cant wait to take advantage of that now, thanks for the update. 

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By the way, as part of the work on Dunlavy @ Allen Parkway, it looks like a stop-light intersection is being installed. As someone who has to dart across by foot and bike regularly, this will be a god-send.

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Thanks adr. Isn't it possible now to walk the trail all the way from Shepherd Drive to Allen's landing?

 

Yes.

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Lipstick on a pig.

I'm all for grit but yeesh...

agreed. It looks like some depressing Eastern European communist project

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This is a classic "debottlenecking" project / issue.

 

We've beautified the Bayou west of downtown.... now we've exposed the downtown section (next bottleneck) for what it is.... piss poor. [pun intended]

 

What's left to do? Beautify the downtown section. Easy.

 

In actuality though, this will be incredibly difficult. The street level bridges over the bayou are god awful. It would take a major city effort ($$$$) to right this wrong.

 

Certain streets that span the bayou need to be eliminated altogether and others altered significantly. The main culprit is the monstrosity around the Smith / Congress Ave / Franklin / Louisiana cluster f*&$*.

 

Congress Ave. needs to stop at Smith... actually it would be better to stop at Louisiana.

 

Franklin street on the north of the bayou needs to be realigned / pull back from the bayou. I say make it a one way (headed east) rd that then ties into commerce. Eliminate the section of Washington that is only there for the parking lot.

 

Have Smith and Louisiana span over Franklin / Commerce and then tie into the 45 or 10 connectors. I can[t remember what connects what.

.

 

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Access to the patios at Magnolia and Kryptonite/Ministry/Eagle would help, as mentioned earlier. That new-meets-old staircase pic I took is from the latter place. It's still blocked off and probably needs to be rebuilt on their side to be used as anything other than a fire escape. And just like the rest of the project, keeping the lights working and the trails mud-free after flooding will be absolutely critical. They are trying to keep the very low trails that lead to the new section from the west clear, but the sediment is so deep it ends up looking like brown snow plowing. And the link to Allen's Landing needs to be restored ASAP.

 

Personally I love the urban grunge/ruin porn look of this new segment. You can walk right up to the Donnellan crypt now. And for the time being it's refreshingly pee-smell free. Just a hint of bat guano in the air. 

Edited by arisegundo
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hgS4c4m.jpg

 

 

 

Nice, the walkway is completed past the legendary Donnellan Crypt!

Edited by kylejack
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Access to the patios at Magnolia and Kryptonite/Ministry/Eagle would help, as mentioned earlier. That new-meets-old staircase pic I took is from the latter place. It's still blocked off and probably needs to be rebuilt on their side to be used as anything other than a fire escape. And just like the rest of the project, keeping the lights working and the trails mud-free after flooding will be absolutely critical. They are trying to keep the very low trails that lead to the new section from the west clear, but the sediment is so deep it ends up looking like brown snow plowing. And the link to Allen's Landing needs to be restored ASAP.

 

Personally I love the urban grunge/ruin porn look of this new segment. You can walk right up to the Donnellan crypt now. And for the time being it's refreshingly pee-smell free. Just a hint of bat guano in the air. 

 

I agree, I love this aspect of the bayou. It feels like they've uncovered the ruins of an earlier era of Houston. I was hoping they would add some signage that talks about the crypt and the old Magnolia brewery. Anyone not familiar with the area would walk by these without noticing and just focus on the graffiti and rubbish. 

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they need to install 1,000,000,000 candlepower lights under all those bridges to discourage them being used as homeless encampments. the lights would also serve to make it feel less scary at night, from both ghosts and people who would hide in the shadows for nefarious purposes.

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Certain streets that span the bayou need to be eliminated altogether and others altered significantly. The main culprit is the monstrosity around the Smith / Congress Ave / Franklin / Louisiana cluster f*&$*.

 

Congress Ave. needs to stop at Smith... actually it would be better to stop at Louisiana.

 

Franklin street on the north of the bayou needs to be realigned / pull back from the bayou. I say make it a one way (headed east) rd that then ties into commerce. Eliminate the section of Washington that is only there for the parking lot.

 

Have Smith and Louisiana span over Franklin / Commerce and then tie into the 45 or 10 connectors. I can[t remember what connects what.

.

 

The 2002 Master Plan calls for something vaguely similar to your thoughts, with a "Water Street" (squint and you'll see it!) snaking along the south side of the bayou. I'd be disappointed if the cool ruins were wiped out for a generic grassy bank.

 

Sj6myyn.png

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This is a classic "debottlenecking" project / issue.

 

We've beautified the Bayou west of downtown.... now we've exposed the downtown section (next bottleneck) for what it is.... piss poor. [pun intended]

 

What's left to do? Beautify the downtown section. Easy.

 

In actuality though, this will be incredibly difficult. The street level bridges over the bayou are god awful. It would take a major city effort ($$$$) to right this wrong.

 

Certain streets that span the bayou need to be eliminated altogether and others altered significantly. The main culprit is the monstrosity around the Smith / Congress Ave / Franklin / Louisiana cluster f*&$*.

 

Congress Ave. needs to stop at Smith... actually it would be better to stop at Louisiana.

 

Franklin street on the north of the bayou needs to be realigned / pull back from the bayou. I say make it a one way (headed east) rd that then ties into commerce. Eliminate the section of Washington that is only there for the parking lot.

 

Have Smith and Louisiana span over Franklin / Commerce and then tie into the 45 or 10 connectors. I can[t remember what connects what.

.

 

Seemed like the ideal time to get rid of that Franklin-Smith/Congress Connector bridge would have been before they started working on this segment of the trail. It certainly would have made it easier, and exposed this section of the bayou to the open air. 

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Seeing as the new ballet building sits right on top of "Water Street" and the post office owners (Lovett I think?) haven't announced any plans to move Franklin, those streets aren't going anywhere anytime soon. It's a nice thought and one that's been on the books for a decade and a half... it just didn't happen.

 

You could get rid of the Smith bridge by forcing inbound traffic right onto Franklin then left onto the Congress bridge. The effect on the bayou trail lighting wouldn't be very dramatic since you still have all the other streets cantilevered overhead.

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You could get rid of the Smith bridge by forcing inbound traffic right onto Franklin then left onto the Congress bridge. The effect on the bayou trail lighting wouldn't be very dramatic since you still have all the other streets cantilevered overhead.

 

Right on Franklin, left on Congress, then right on Smith... yeesh, coming in on Smith already backs up plenty during morning rush.  That, and Congress is one way, the wrong way for this setup.  

 

It would probably be more realistic to zap the Congress bridge.  It serves mostly to get traffic onto westbound Washington; there's less of that now that the post office is gone save for busses coming down Louisiana bound for the flyover of the Katy / 45 interchange.

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Right on Franklin, left on Congress, then right on Smith... yeesh, coming in on Smith already backs up plenty during morning rush.  That, and Congress is one way, the wrong way for this setup.  

 

It would probably be more realistic to zap the Congress bridge.  It serves mostly to get traffic onto westbound Washington; there's less of that now that the post office is gone save for busses coming down Louisiana bound for the flyover of the Katy / 45 interchange.

 

hueOVGK.png

 

The bridge is two way, unless there was a recent re-striping. It would become more vital if the Smith bridge goes, the Aquarium expands over Preston as they are threatening to, and/or if Central Post really takes off. 

Edited by arisegundo

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It would connect the rest of downtown with the old post office location if you replaced the congress ave bridge with one

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My guess is that some of this realignment that we are all hoping for will be completed when TxDot reorients the I-45 path and demolishes the pierce elevated. 

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One of those graduate student projects included a ped bridge connecting the circular trail to the north bank. Without removing Franklin, that would be a bridge to another pit of darkness and pee-smells. Or it could be a Rosemont Bridge-type thing that connects to both the bank and the Franklin deck above. 

 

Edited by arisegundo

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Not quite the Statue of Liberty or the Space Needle...BUT I'LL TAKE IT.  The city is sorely in need of more monuments/tourist attractions/iconic structures.

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The key word in the article is unsolicited design. Nevertheless, it's fun to see architects and landscape architects highlighting the potential of Buffalo Bayou. 

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the more cool things the better in my opinion!!! i love this area and although i live across the street from the galleria, i just got a cruiser bike for my birthday last week and cannot wait to go ride around here! if anyone else ever goes bike riding here let me know a week night or weekend you go so we can meet up! I haven't ridden a bike in like 20 years so im excited haha! 

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This is interesting, although I wonder if Houston will ever erect something really bold, on such a grand scale that it becomes a defining element of the city (e.g. The Space Needle, Golden Gate Bridge, CN Tower, Eiffel Tower, Hancock Center, Empire State Building, or The Shard in London -- although that's relatively new).  Something that, when people see it, they immediately think, "Houston!"  It seems to me that most architectural projects in this city are quite understated.

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5 hours ago, Sunstar said:

The key word in the article is unsolicited design. Nevertheless, it's fun to see architects and landscape architects highlighting the potential of Buffalo Bayou. 

 

yeah, thankfully it's unsolicited. not that I don't want to see something like this in Houston, or it isn't a cool concept, but there's other parks in Houston that money should be spent on before we come back to BBP. It was what 50 million to do the current renovation?

14 minutes ago, MarathonMan said:

This is interesting, although I wonder if Houston will ever erect something really bold, on such a grand scale that it becomes a defining element of the city (e.g. The Space Needle, Golden Gate Bridge, CN Tower, Eiffel Tower, Hancock Center, Empire State Building, or The Shard in London -- although that's relatively new).  Something that, when people see it, they immediately think, "Houston!"  It seems to me that most architectural projects in this city are quite understated.

 

I'd submit that out skyline is very distinctive, Heritage Plaza, and the Bank of America Building are unique designs that I'd submit are hallmarks of our town, if not as iconic as some of those other structures.

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12 minutes ago, samagon said:

 

yeah, thankfully it's unsolicited. not that I don't want to see something like this in Houston, or it isn't a cool concept, but there's other parks in Houston that money should be spent on before we come back to BBP. It was what 50 million to do the current renovation?

 

I'd submit that out skyline is very distinctive, Heritage Plaza, and the Bank of America Building are unique designs that I'd submit are hallmarks of our town, if not as iconic as some of those other structures.

I think your use of the term "iconic" best reflects what I meant in my comment.  Yes, Heritage Plaza and the Bank of America Building are very nice buildings, but I'd submit they are not iconic.  Someone not from Houston or someone who's not an architecture buff would have a hard time coming up with "Houston" when shown a photo of these buildings.  In my mind the Williams Tower is the closest thing we have to an iconic structure.  It's a beautiful building, yes, but what makes it lean iconic is its monumental presence in a sea of small boxes.

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I always thought we should commission Claus Oldenburg to design a tower in the shape of a flashlight with a restaurant and observation deck on top and 

the light would shine into the night sky like a beacon into space which would relate to Houston's part in the exploration of space, and  a tie to energy.

I planned it at the bridge at Montrose which would have tied to all Museums along Montrose and Lake McGovern in Herman Park which are on what I wanted to be known as the Montrose  Boulevard of the arts and science, where I proposed a statue in the middle of the lake in Herman park, honoring the  splashdown of astronauts coming back from space in a space capsule with parachutes open just landing in the middle of the lake.

To me this yellow thing looks  like someone said, a Specs wine cover or a medical device. It doesn't say anything about Houston. Not really to excited about the color or the shape. Im really tired of people who say just build something because we can or its tall, and accept mediocrity. When will we learn from all of the mistakes we live with now. They don't go away for a very long time. Trust me.

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and its 7,000 watt beacon! love that i can tell people when they cant find my home/part of town...look for the beacon!!! :) 

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1 hour ago, MarathonMan said:

This is interesting, although I wonder if Houston will ever erect something really bold, on such a grand scale that it becomes a defining element of the city (e.g. The Space Needle, Golden Gate Bridge, CN Tower, Eiffel Tower, Hancock Center, Empire State Building, or The Shard in London -- although that's relatively new).  Something that, when people see it, they immediately think, "Houston!"  It seems to me that most architectural projects in this city are quite understated.

 

What about something artsy on a smaller scale like 'The Bean' in Chicago?

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17 minutes ago, gene said:

and its 7,000 watt beacon! love that i can tell people when they cant find my home/part of town...look for the beacon!!! :) 

 

I thought you said bacon. then I re-read it.

 

28 minutes ago, MarathonMan said:

I think your use of the term "iconic" best reflects what I meant in my comment.  Yes, Heritage Plaza and the Bank of America Building are very nice buildings, but I'd submit they are not iconic.  Someone not from Houston or someone who's not an architecture buff would have a hard time coming up with "Houston" when shown a photo of these buildings.  In my mind the Williams Tower is the closest thing we have to an iconic structure.  It's a beautiful building, yes, but what makes it lean iconic is its monumental presence in a sea of small boxes.

 

if Houston were as photographed and in the media as these other places, sure they'd be recognized, and recognizable to most people. They are unique buildings, not just random boxes.

 

How many movies, TV shows, tourism posters have all of the places referenced as iconic ( The Space Needle, Golden Gate Bridge, CN Tower, Eiffel Tower, Hancock Center, Empire State Building, or The Shard in London) been the focus of? Houston just doesn't market their iconography well. I will say that probably the Astrodome is the most iconic building in Houston. That's simply because it's been featured in numerous films.

 

I've seen lots of movies that were shot in LA, thus I know exactly what their city hall looks like, as an example. Sure it's a beautiful building, but would I know what it looks like otherwise?

Edited by samagon
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5 hours ago, BeerNut said:

 

What about something artsy on a smaller scale like 'The Bean' in Chicago?

 

5 hours ago, BeerNut said:

 

What about something artsy on a smaller scale like 'The Bean' in Chicago?

Yes... The Bean is pretty cool!!

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Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate, is a remarkable piece of art. It was originally expected to cost 6 million dollars but when all was said and done the final cost for Chicago was $23,000,000.00. It does what every public art board hopes for. It captures the imagination of all and attracts incredible crowds. The problems for that type of sculpture along Houston's Buffalo Bayou's banks are two-fold. Cost and flooding. Which brings up a question, I don't know the answer to. Has anyone observed the Henry Moore sculpture at the crest of Buffalo Bayou during a flood. I'm not sure how high it sits and just curious because its not nearly 

as expensive as the Kapoor, but its probably one of the most valuable works on public display.  The Miro in front of Chase,  the Nevelson in Allen center, and the DeBuffet in Discovery Green are a few others that might be more valuable.

Of course the most expensive work on public display up until its value was set after an auction two years ago for one of the castings by the sculptor Giacommeti which stood in the middle of the sculpture garden at the MFAH, sold for roughly $120,000,000.00. It was  taken in doors the next day after the results of the auction were announced.

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