Houston Matters

Big Improvements Coming For Green Spaces Along Eastern Buffalo Bayou

Houston Matters takes a boat tour of the bayou’s east sector to learn what’s planned.

East Sector Plans from Above
Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s plans for the east sector of the bayou include 200 acres of new and improved park spaces, seven new boat landings, and seven new pedestrian bridges.

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A few years ago, Buffalo Bayou Park underwent a massive, $58 million renovation, transforming the 160-acre, two-mile green space west of downtown.

But, of course, there's much more to Buffalo Bayou, including the more than four-mile stretch that extends from downtown eastward.

Downtown From Buffalo Bayou
A view of downtown Houston from the eastern stretch of Buffalo Bayou.

The nonprofit Buffalo Bayou Partnership has recently completed its master plan for green space upgrades it hopes to implement along the bayou's east sector in the coming years and decades.

To learn what the partnership has planned, Houston Matters producer Michael Hagerty takes us on a boat tour down the bayou (in the audio above) where he learns more from the organization’s president, Anne Olson, and project manager José Solís.

HIGHLIGHTS:

Buffalo Bayou East Plan Map
An artist’s rendering of green space improvements planned for the eastern sector of Buffalo Bayou.

The areas included in the plan lie within a section of the bayou stretching from US 59 to the Port of Houston Turning Basin.

It includes 200 acres of new and improved park spaces, seven new boat landings, and seven new pedestrian bridges.

  • An artist's rendering of green space improvements planned for the eastern sector of Buffalo Bayou near Navigation Boulevard. (Photo Credit: Buffalo Bayou Partnership)
    An artist's rendering of green space improvements planned for the eastern sector of Buffalo Bayou near Navigation Boulevard. (Photo Credit: Buffalo Bayou Partnership)
  • An artist's rendering of green space improvements planned for the eastern sector of Buffalo Bayou. (Photo Credit: Buffalo Bayou Partnership)
    An artist's rendering of green space improvements planned for the eastern sector of Buffalo Bayou. (Photo Credit: Buffalo Bayou Partnership)
  • Plans for seven new boat landings are included in Buffalo Bayou Partnership's master plan for the east sector of the bayou. (Photo Credit: Buffalo Bayou Partnership)
    Plans for seven new boat landings are included in Buffalo Bayou Partnership's master plan for the east sector of the bayou. (Photo Credit: Buffalo Bayou Partnership)
  • A network of trails, on-street bikeways, and other transportation services will connect much of the green space improvements planned for Buffalo Bayou East. (Photo Credit: Buffalo Bayou Partnership)
    A network of trails, on-street bikeways, and other transportation services will connect much of the green space improvements planned for Buffalo Bayou East. (Photo Credit: Buffalo Bayou Partnership)
  • A new pedestrian bridge planned over Buffalo Bayou near Lockwood Drive. (Photo Credit: Buffalo Bayou Partnership)
    A new pedestrian bridge planned over Buffalo Bayou near Lockwood Drive. (Photo Credit: Buffalo Bayou Partnership)

The improvements planned wont be as simple as the overhaul to Buffalo Bayou Park, which was one self-contained, publicly owned area.

This stretch of the bayou includes some property owned by the partnership, but also plenty of land that’s privately owned. And some sites are still working businesses — many of them industrial.

So, the plan includes working with and around those existing sites, including preserving some industrial artifacts that are now owned by the partnership, such as a series of four massive concrete silos, a barge dock, and even a former sewage treatment facility.

  • Abandoned concrete silos in Houston's East End will be preserved as a part of Buffalo Bayou Partnership's plans for green space improvements along the eastern stretch of the bayou. (Photo Credit: Buffalo Bayou Partnership)
    Abandoned concrete silos in Houston's East End will be preserved as a part of Buffalo Bayou Partnership's plans for green space improvements along the eastern stretch of the bayou. (Photo Credit: Buffalo Bayou Partnership)
  • A former barge dock located down the Turkey Bend inlet of eastern Buffalo Bayou will be preserved and repurposed. (Photo Credit: Buffalo Bayou Partnership)
    A former barge dock located down the Turkey Bend inlet of eastern Buffalo Bayou will be preserved and repurposed. (Photo Credit: Buffalo Bayou Partnership)
  • A former barge dock located down the Turkey Bend inlet of eastern Buffalo Bayou will be preserved and repurposed. (Photo Credit: Buffalo Bayou Partnership)
    A former barge dock located down the Turkey Bend inlet of eastern Buffalo Bayou will be preserved and repurposed. (Photo Credit: Buffalo Bayou Partnership)
  • A former water treatment plant will be repurposed as a part of Buffalo Bayou Partnership's plans for green space development along the eastern stretch of the waterway. (Photo Credit: Glenn Cox/Buffalo Bayou Partnership)
    A former water treatment plant will be repurposed as a part of Buffalo Bayou Partnership's plans for green space development along the eastern stretch of the waterway. (Photo Credit: Glenn Cox/Buffalo Bayou Partnership)

Other cities have preserved former industrial sites and incorporated them into their green space, such as Gas Works Park in Seattle.

Release of the plan comes after nearly two years of planning and public input.

Community Engagement Meeting
Nearly two years of planning and public input went into Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s master plan for the eastern sector of the waterway.

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Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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