Buffalo Bayou Plays Host to Houston's Urban Development Boom

March 4, 2015 by Matthew Stewart

Since the earliest settlements in Texas history, the Buffalo Bayou has seen it all, from the battle for independence and the development of the Port of Houston, to the current urban development boom.

It’s no wonder the “Mother Bayou” continues to bring life to the city as a major artery of culture, history, flora and fauna.

Buffalo Bayou 1
Sunset on the Buffalo Bayou overlooking Downtown Houston

 

More than three decades ago, the Buffalo Bayou was in bad shape — the worst it’s ever been in, in fact. With rising levels of toxic runoff and untreated sewage, the state of Texas took quick and decisive action and sued Houston for the excessive water and environmental pollution.

Thus, the Buffalo Bayou partnership was born. Armed with a vision of space reclamation and habitat restoration, the city and Buffalo Bayou partnership supporters embarked on a long road to recovery, including, channel restoration, pedestrian access ways, landscaping, environmental design and art.

Barclenoa arist Jaume Plensa’s “Tolerance” series of large-scale sculptures light up the night
Barclenoa arist Jaume Plensa’s “Tolerance” series of large-scale sculptures light up the night

Today, the Buffalo Bayou is not what it once was; it’s better. On any given day, visitors may freely partake in various activities along the bayou, including kayaking, canoeing, dog walking, strolling, running, cycling and year-round bat watching at the Waugh Bridge. Community activities also include outdoor exercise groups and annual marathons. Engaging public art spans the 5-mile Sandy Reed trail, which takes visitors on a scenic journey paralleling Memorial Drive from Shepard Drive to the west through downtown to the east.

Rosemont Bridge offers dramatic views of Downtown Houston
Rosemont Bridge offers dramatic views of Downtown Houston

Most recently, Johnny Steele Dog Park, a $1.5 million project, opened to incredible fanfare. Featuring a live DJ, vendors and interactive booths, the park experienced such a great influx of four-legged visitors that lines formed of pooches eager to frolic through expansive grassy knolls and water features. There truly is something for everyone, including our furry friends, to enjoy at the Buffalo Bayou.

It’s a poolside paradise for pups at Johnny Steele Dog Park
It’s a poolside paradise for pups at Johnny Steele Dog Park

The Buffalo Bayou is a vital natural artery and civic asset that the City of Houston has realized must be celebrated. It’s great to see this treasure experience its rebirth right beside the current urban development boom that Houston is undergoing.

How appropriate that both the bayou and the urban core are rising in tandem as both experience great revitalization.

Written by Matthew Stewart

Matthew Stewart

Matthew Stewart received his B.S. in Civil Engineering fromThe Ohio State University and is a registered Professional Engineer (PE) in the State of Texas. As a Vice President in our Houston office, Mr. Stewart has been the Principal in Change for hundreds of site development projects throughout the Houston area. He is responsible for managing our Raving Fans and prospective clients, overseeing the performance of our project design teams, and spearheading our community outreach and volunteer efforts.