Walkers and cyclists around downtown can now enjoy easier access and quality of life, thanks to a new addition. Construction on the new East Downtown Trail and a new park is now complete, creating a link along Buffalo Bayou from Fannin Street to Austin Street. As CultureMap previously reported, the project broke ground in 2020.
This new hike and bike trail is just under half a mile and weaves under and through buildings adjacent to the waterfront just east from Allen’s Landing Park under the Fannin Street Bridge and up the slope along Commerce Street, before passing under the San Jacinto Bridge to the Wilson Building on Commerce Street.
Travelers will note that the trail continues through the second basement level of the Wilson Building and under the Harris County Sheriff's Inmate Processing Center. It then opens to the new park on former parking lots along the bayou on either side of Austin Street, where the Austin Street cul-de-sac has been converted into a public plaza, which is now the Joe Campos Torres Memorial Plaza, as part of the park.
Now, trail users can travel from Buffalo Bayou Park to Austin Street and continue at street level via the Austin Street Corridor bike path. Plans call for the waterfront trail to continue east along Buffalo Bayou.
The project furthers Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s goal to create connectivity from Buffalo Bayou Park to the Port of Houston Turning Basin, per press materials. Additionally, the park and trails is a nod to Houston Parks Board’s plan for an interconnected system of parks and trails across Houston through Bayou Greenways.
Jointly executed between Houston Parks Board and Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Downtown Redevelopment Authority, and the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department, the new park and trail cost nearly $8.7 million, per a press release. Notable donors include Barbara and the late Gerald Hines, Wendy and Jeff Hines, and Sis and Hasty Johnson.
Additional funding comes via the Downtown Redevelopment Authority, plus catalyst funding from the Kinder Foundation.