Like most major cities in the U.S., Houston continues to grow. All of that growth comes with the usual ups and downs, downs which were recently compounded by Hurricane Harvey. Harvey took a huge toll on Houston infrastructure and public spaces, ravaging many of the city’s parks, green spaces, and trails. Luckily, Houston’s beloved Memorial Park just received a $70 million grant from the local Kinder Foundation to expand and improve the park grounds. Now, some of Houston’s most popular greenways and parks have just gotten a major boost thanks to the Bayou Greenways 2020 project which has seen the White Oak Bayou Greenway finally connected to the Buffalo Bayou trails and park.

The connection was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation which has provided $30 million for the “Houston Regional Bike/Ped Connections to Transit” project. The Buffalo Bayou trails and park are some of the most popular recreation areas in the city and a prime location for free outdoor fun.

“We have always seen this area as the nexus of Houston’s hike and bike trail system,” says Anne Olson, President of Buffalo Bayou Partnership. “The new trail segment will not only link bicyclists and pedestrians to Buffalo Bayou’s parks but will offer them an alternative mode of transportation to their jobs in downtown.” The new connector will provide access to downtown’s East End and provide a new thoroughfare for students and commuters to reach destinations north of White Oak Bayou Greenway and across the I-10 corridor.

The trail expansion and connection is part of the larger Bayou Greenways 2020 plan, a public-private partnership overseen by Houston Parks Board, the City of Houston, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, and the Harris County Flood Control District. The plan includes expansions of public parks and spaces and will eventually transform some 3,000 acres of unused and underused lands into a 150-mile park and trail system that spreads throughout Houston.