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Study Says Many Houstonians Still Have A Hard Time Getting To A Neighborhood Park

Houston has made slight improvements in a yearly ranking of the nation’s urban park systems. But it still lags behind other cities despite having a lot of space devoted to recreation

  • Path along White Oak Bayou at the edge of Woodland Heights (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
    Path along White Oak Bayou at the edge of Woodland Heights (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
  • Bike path along Sims Bayou  (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
    Bike path along Sims Bayou (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter )
  • Inversion House in Fifth Ward Jam Park on Lyons Avenue.
    Inversion House in Fifth Ward Jam Park on Lyons Avenue.
  • Buffalo Bayou Park offers a wide variety of leisure activities such as cycling, jogging, paddling, as well as a nature playground that features a boulder rock scramble, a rolling lawn, a stream and waterfall, climbing logs and stones, and 33-foot slide. (Photo Credit: Photo by: Jonnu Singleton, SWA Group)
    Buffalo Bayou Park offers a wide variety of leisure activities such as cycling, jogging, paddling, as well as a nature playground that features a boulder rock scramble, a rolling lawn, a stream and waterfall, climbing logs and stones, and 33-foot slide. (Photo Credit: Photo by: Jonnu Singleton, SWA Group)
  • View of the White Oak Trail from the Castillo Center in Near Northside. (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter/Houston Public Media )
    View of the White Oak Trail from the Castillo Center in Near Northside. (Photo Credit: Gail Delaughter/Houston Public Media )
  • An aerial view of Discovery Green in downtown Houston. (Photo Credit: Katya Horner)
    An aerial view of Discovery Green in downtown Houston. (Photo Credit: Katya Horner)
  • Children splash around in the Gateway Fountain at Discovery Green in downtown Houston. (Photo Credit: Katya Horner)
    Children splash around in the Gateway Fountain at Discovery Green in downtown Houston. (Photo Credit: Katya Horner)

The Trust for Public Land says Houston improved four spots over last year's ParkScore ranking, but still comes in at #77 on the list of the country's 100 biggest cities.

The study shows Houston has double the national average when it comes to park space. But the problem is accessibility, considering less than half the city's residents live within a ten-minute walk from a park.

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"The need for recreation is always a challenge and always an issue," said Charlie McCabe, Trust for Public Land spokesman. "One of the challenges of the ten-minute walk is that you want a distribution of park land across the city."

On the plus side, McCabe said there's increased investment by park conservancies and management districts.

"The nice thing about all the work that nonprofit parks organizations are doing, thanks to a number of really generous donors across the City of Houston, is that they're kind of filling the gap and they're going after and trying to address the bigger needs," said McCabe. "All of these efforts that are resulting in on-the-ground improvements as well as improvements to come."

The ParkScore study says Houston ranks high when it comes to amenities like park restrooms and splash pads, but still falls behind in the number of playgrounds and dog parks.

 

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

News Anchor

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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