Building the Bayou Greenways: Greens Bayou

Over the past six months, we have highlighted the progress made along each of Houston’s Bayou Greenways as part of the Houston Parks Board’s Kinder Foundation-supported Bayou Greenways 2020 project. This is the sixth in the series of posts, all of which can be found here

More than six years ago, the Houston Parks Board announced a $50 million catalyst gift from the Kinder Foundation to support the ambitious Bayou Greenways 2020 initiative. Construction began at the end of 2014, and since then, Houston Parks Board (HPB) and its partners Houston Parks and Recreation Department and Harris County Flood Control District have made remarkable progress.

Today, we take a look at Greens Bayou Greenway, the linear hike-and-bike trail in North Houston and lower Greens within the city limits.

At the end of 2018, HPB closed on a donative sale of 110 pristine acres on lower Greens. The sale included the purchase of 40 acres for $1.3 million with the balance of the property generously donated by Judy Ley Allen.

One of two new bridges in the upper stretch of Greens Bayou Greenway providing connections along the two-mile trail.
Photo courtesy of Houston Parks Board.

In March 2019, HPB opened the Greenway’s inaugural trail segment, which spans two miles and offers two new bridges, preserved open space, and neighborhood gateways. This section is anchored on the southern end at Greens Parkway by a 10-acre open space parcel with trail head acquired by the organization. Extending north along the east side of the bayou to just west of I-45, it connects a number of residential communities with additional open space acquired by HPB and the North Houston District. At its northern end, a new bridge over Greens Bayou connects this segment of Greenway to additional trail connections to the North Houston Skatepark and a BMX course that is to be provided by the North Houston Development Corporation (TIRZ 11).

The Kinder Foundation provided $3.2 million toward this first Greens Bayou Greenway segment’s $9.2 million cost.

Over the last year, additional Greens Bayou Greenway segments have been completed.

In June 2019, HPB completed a segment from Maxey Park Road to Strickland Park which included improvements to Maxey Park and Strickland Park, a connection into the nearby METRO Park and Ride, and a mid-block crossing on Woodforest Boulevard.

Additionally, in the Lower Greens Bayou Greenway stretch, HPB has completed an initial analysis of the 132-acre site of the storied Texaco Country Club located off Maxey Road. The 18-hole golf course was gifted by Chevron to Houston Parks Board in October 2004, but until 2019, had been operated by the Texaco Country Club. Hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, the Texaco Country Club reverted the land’s management to HPB. HPB is considering the property’s rich history and the needs of the adjacent neighborhoods as it plans for its future as a laboratory for resilient Houston land use.

The 11.1-mile Lower Greens Bayou Greenway represents an important conservation effort within the city limits focusing on preserving ecosystems while providing paddle trails and mostly nature trails along this uniquely free flowing river. With the Kinder Foundation’s help, HPB is seeking to acquire additional large tracts of undeveloped property with the goal of preserving lower Greens Bayou as a unique natural corridor on the east side of Houston.

Most recently, Houston Parks Board completed the connection of Halls Bayou Greenway to Greens Bayou Greenway at Brock Park, which the organization and its partners celebrated with a ribbon cutting on December 20, 2019.

The Brock Park Connector segment, a 460-foot bridge spanning Halls Bayou, is part of a new 2.3-mile segment of Greens Bayou Greenway from Brock Park to Valley Forest Drive. Notable features of the trail include a new 10-foot wide concrete trail from the Halls Bayou Greenway Gateway to the northern boundary of Brock Park, a nature trail from Brock Park to the city limits, a kayak launch on the east side of Greens Bayou near the old Brock Park Golf Course Club House, and trail connection at Valley Forest Drive.

This 2-mile segment of Greens Bayou Greenway opened in March. Photo courtesy of Houston Parks Board.
Tributary bridge crossing over Greens Bayou Greenway. Photo courtesy of Houston Parks Board.