There's a great project going on in downtown Houston: the Buffalo Bayou Beautification. The weather was great this week and I had been spending way too much time in front of my monitor, so I decided to take a walk and check it out.
The Buffalo Bayou Partnership has raised or leveraged (not sure what that means) $100 million in improvements for the area from around Shepard all the way to the Port of Houston Turning Basin (although I didn't walk that far). They even have an app to provide you a Guide to sights and features of the area. There are plans to extend the walk all the way west into Memorial Park making the whole area a nice urban oasis.
The cloverleaf at Waugh and Memorial is pretty close to where I live so it is nice to have this green space within walking distance. My cousin Mark has often talked about the "green divide" in cities so it is also nice to see downtown Houston embracing a large green space. You can see some fabulous photos of other urban green spaces around the world over at Mark's CitiNature site.
There are some great sights to see along this walk. One of my favorites is of the Houston skyline. This is a great shot to show people not from Houston to make them think the entire city is nestled in a park-like setting. Of course, Houston is pretty much designed around automobiles, so you are far more likely to be looking at someone's bumper than this large patch of freshly seeded grass. But hey -- it sure is nice. It even has Wi-Fi.
The walk has the Houston Police Officers' Memorial, a skatepark, tennis courts, a bat colony (mind the guano), a dog park, and room for festivals -- so there is a lot to see here. Viewing the fireworks on the Fourth of July from the pedestrain bridges is recommended.
Just south of the Bayou on Allen Parkway is the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas (Houston Branch). So yeah, that full name will annoy any Houstonian. I took a lot of pictures of the Bank in the hopes I might cause some unwarranted suspicion and have the next great viral video on YouTube. But alas, everyone in the Bank was friendly and waved back at me with a smile.
It's clear there is a lot of effort being put into this project. The whole Bayou pretty much floods when Houston gets rained on, so all the improvements have to withstand being underwater on a regular basis. Believe it or not people actually paddle up and down this Bayou, so they've added fully improved boat launches to get your kit into the water. I'm not sure I am ready to get my kit that close to the water here yet -- maybe someday.
All and all I can recommend a walk down the Buffalo Bayou -- but maybe not in the summer. It gets hot here. Damn hot.