Building the Bayou Greenways: Brays Bayou

In a series of blog posts throughout the year, we will highlight 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 first in a series of posts.

Nearly 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. 

Telemundo Houston’s Carlos Robles interviews Rich Kinder at the April 6, 2019 Bayou Greenway Day in Mason Park.
Photo by F. Carter Smith courtesy of Houston Parks Board.

In April, Rich Kinder joined the Houston Parks Board (HPB), Houston Parks and Recreation Department, Mayor Sylvester Turner, and other dignitaries for the fifth annual Bayou Greenway Day held in Mason Park, along Brays Bayou Greenway. Standing tall as a stunning reminder of the progress HPB has made to date on Bayou Greenways 2020, the recently opened, 485-foot-long, Mason Park Pedestrian/Bike Bridge served as an idyllic backdrop against which Houstonians celebrated the transformation happening along Houston’s bayous.

Slated to encompass 30 miles of trails along Brays Bayou, the Brays Bayou Greenway begins at the Eldridge Detention Basin near George Bush Park and heads east past the Texas Medical Center and University of Houston toward the Ship Channel. It runs through numerous parks including Arthur Storey Park, Braeburn Glen Park, Hermann Park, MacGregor Park, Fonde Park, and Mason Park.

In November 2014, a 2.75 mile Brays Bayou Greenway hike-and-bike trail from Mason Park to Old Spanish Trail near Wheeler Street represented one of the first completed segment of Bayou Greenways. This early win provided Houstonians in the East End with access to one of Houston’s most scenic stretches of bayou in a densely populated part of the city.

The Mason Park Pedestrian/Bike Bridge opened to the public in
Fall 2018. Photo by Anthony Rathbun courtesy of Houston Parks Board.

In March 2017, HPB opened the next 1.6 mile Greenway segment extending west from Old Spanish Trail to Martin Luther King Blvd., connecting Gragg Park, Fonde Park, University of Houston, and the UH Energy Research Park. This spring the University Connections Bridge opened linking the University of Houston across Brays Bayou to MacGregor Park.

Other completed portions along Brays Bayou Greenway include new trails closing gaps near Hermann Park and beneath the Almeda Bridge. Design is nearly complete on an ambitious 8-mile stretch of greenway from Braeburn Glen to Eldridge Parkway, which will ultimately join more than four additional miles of county-built trails along Brays Bayou west of Eldridge. That stretch includes a 1.5 acre trailhead at Wilcrest and a 3.6 acre park at Ashford Point, both built on land acquisitions funded by the Kinder Foundation.

To date, of the Kinder Foundation’s $50 million catalyst grant, $8.3 million has been invested in Brays Bayou Greenway.

Stay tuned for updates and highlights on the remaining Bayou Greenways.