A Pedestrian Friendly Future in East End Houston
More than thirty-percent of East End Houston residents walk, bike, or use public transit to commute to school and work. With recent upgrades to the hike and bike trails, and the completion of the first phase of the METRORail East End Line, the number of East Enders taking advantage of the pedestrian-friendly assets is likely to increase.
The Greater East End Management District has overseen the development of an additional 9 miles of hike and bike trails throughout the neighborhood along the Harrisburg – Sunset Hike and Bike Trail, including renovations and enhancements to sights along the way-such as the Bryan Street Pocket Park. Over the past two years, worn asphalt on existing East End trails has been replaced with concrete, and improvements such as landscaping, lighting, benches and new trees have been added to provide a safer, more visually appealing trail network.
The Harrisburg-Sunset Trail is a rails-to-trails project offering cyclists and pedestrians over 5 miles of trail and on-street bikeways. The 10-foot wide asphalt trail is well lit and runs from Drennan St. to Marsden Street and from Avenue H to Hidalgo Park. The on-street portion of the trail includes segments from Commerce St. and McKee St., to Commerce St. and Drennan St., and from Garrow St. and Marsden St. to Avenue H and West Hendrick. The trail connects to the existing on-street bikeways at McKee, Sampson, York, and 67th Street.
Funding for the additional 9 miles of hike and bike trail improvements in the East End was made possible through a $15 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant for Regional Bike/Pedestrian Connections to Transit along with the matching of several local partners, including Buffalo Bayou Partnership, the Greater East End Management District, the Houston Parks Board, University of Houston and others, who helped raise the nearly $30 million it took to underwrite the project.
Diane Schenke, President of the Greater East End Management District and East End resident says “I love the progress we’ve made to the connected trail system of our beloved East End, but we have plenty of work left to do.”
The section of trail along Buffalo Bayou, for example, will eventually connect to Guadalupe Plaza Park, which is currently undergoing a massive renovation slated to re-open in early 2016. The park will serve as a trailhead and offer a digital way-finding sign to assist trail commuters in finding their way to nearby parks and connecting trails, arts and culture venues in the newly-designated East End Houston Cultural District, and public transportation options. Additional improvements will offer more connections including the Brays Bayou Trail, Columbia Tap Trail, and access to downtown Houston’s Discovery Green Park. The Greater East End Management District also has plans for additional way-finding signs in the future.
Making the East End a pedestrian-friendly destination not only provides additional transit options to residents and visitors alike, it also provides a healthy environment for exercise and family outings. Whether it includes a bicycle ride to work, a family walk to one of the many East End parks, or maybe even a ride to cheer on our Houston Dynamo and Dash at BBVA Compass Stadium, we encourage you to take advantage of the connected hike and bike trails that East End Houston has to offer.