Transforming Houston’s Concrete Bayous Into 160-Mile Greenspace

A $205 million dollar makeover of Houston's bayous is about to start thanks to an agreement between the City of Houston and the nonprofit Houston Parks Board.

Voters approved the Bayou Greenways project in the 2012 bond election and this week city council formalized the agreement.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker says the vision to connect the bayous with trails and parks is more than 100 years old.

“Where one can go from one side of Houston to the other without leaving that greenspace. But also where one can go from one’s neighborhood, jump on a nearby trail and get into the interconnected greenway system.”

Nearly half of the $205 million project will come from the bonds and the other half comes from private donations raised by the Houston Parks Board.

Roksan Okan-Vick is executive director of the board.

“It’ll change the way we think about our city and change the way others view and think about our city. So we are already out and going, we have several design projects underway, you should be seeing bulldozers moving.”

The Bayou Greenways project will create about 160 miles of interconnected hike and bike trails and park spaces along the
city’s nine bayous.

The Houston Parks Board has already raised $20 million of its $105 million pledge.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

More Information