Brays Bayou Trail Update Oct 26, 2018
Neighborhoods to Trails (NTTSW) also has focused on the Brays Bayou Crossings of the Brays Bayou trail outside I-610 to the Fondren bridge. The widening of Brays Bayou as part of Project Brays of Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) will stop at the Fondren bridge. Currently bayou widening is occurring at different sections in this part of the bayou. In the process, the hike and bike trail is being torn out but HCFCD has stated multiple times that the trail, which it destroys, will be replaced with a concrete 10 feet wide trail.
The bayou trail has always required walkers and bikers to cross South Rice, Chimney Rock , and Hillcroft streets at the bridges in order to continue on the trail. All these streets and bridges are heavily trafficked. Houston Parks Board (HPB), with NTTSW advocacy, plans to add additional trail sections to pass under all three bridges. Hence walkers and bikers will have the option of continuing on the trail without being required to cross streets.
Safety concerns of NTTSW are the narrow walkways on the Hillcroft, South Rice, and Chimney Rock bridges. Compounding the problem is that the bayou trail is on the north side of the bayou from I-610 to Chimney Rock and then continues on the south side of the bayou. This requires using the Chimney Rock bridge to cross over. Currently the width of the walkways on all three bridges is 46 inches. This is too narrow for mothers with strollers, children, and bikers. The danger for mothers and children is to fall into the highly trafficked street or for bikers to fall over the railing into the bayou. HCFCD has stated the South Rice and Chimney Rock bridges will be replaced as part of Project Brays and the walkways increased to 6 feet in width. However, there are no plans to replace the Hillcroft or Fondren bridges at this time. The Hillcroft bridge over the bayou will be raised by 15 inches. NTTSW has been unable to determine what will happen to the Hillcroft walkway and the Fondren bridge. NTTSW advocacy for and assessment of the Brays Bayou trail will continue to ensure planned improvements by HCFCD and HPB will occur. Determining what will happen to the Hillcroft and Fondren bridges will also continue, as well as the location of the trail-uninterrupted on the north side or south side.