2020 December Update; 2019 September Original Post
The Brays Bayou Trail when completed will be a continuous trail from southwest Houston to the Houston Ship Channel., It begins at Keegan’s Bayou at South Kirkwood Road near West Bellfort in far southwest Houston and Harris County and ends where Brays Bayou enters Buffalo Bayou. This east-west trail connects residents of southwest Houston to areas along Brays Bayou, including the Medical Center, Hermann Park, Houston Zoo, Miller Outdoor Theater, Rice University, MacGregor Park, Texas Southern University, University of Houston, and Mason Park. The focus of NTTSW continues to be improved north/south connectivity to the section of the bayou trail from IH-610 to Fondren.
The widening of Brays Bayou as part of Project Brays has been completed by the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) to the Fondren bridge. In the process, the existing hike and bike trail was torn out and almost all replaced with a concrete 10 feet wide trail by HCFCD. The Houston Parks Board (HPB) has added additional sections of the trail to ensure a continuous hike and bike trail on the south side of the bayou, except for the section still to be completed between 610 and Chimney Rock. In a few years, HPB plans to extend the trail on the north side of the bayou from Chimney Rock to Hillcroft (Bayou Greenways Brays Bayou #4502).
Project Brays has replaced the trail on the north side from IH-610 to Chimney Rock which was taken out due to the bayou widening. The completion of Project Brays, including all the bridge work is planned for 2021. The bayou trail previously required walkers and bicyclists to cross South Rice Ave, Chimney Rock Rd and Hillcroft Ave at the bridges in order to continue on the trail. These streets and bridges are prone to experience heavy traffic. HPB plans to add additional trail sections to pass under all three bridges on the south side as part of the Bayou Trail. Hence, trail users will have the option of continuing on the trail without needing to cross streets. The goal of HPB is to complete its work by 2023.
NTTSW has long had safety concerns about the narrow walkways on Hillcroft, South Rice, and Chimney Rock bridges. Originally, the width of the walkways on all three bridges was 46 inches. This was narrow for couples, mothers with strollers, children, and bicyclists. The danger for pedestrians was falling into the high traffic street or for bicyclists to fall over the low railing into the bayou.
HCFCD has confirmed the South Rice and Chimney Rock bridges will be replaced as part of Project Brays with single span bridges starting January 2021 and completed in approximately one year. The new bridges will have 6-10 foot wide sidewalks on both sides. The Hillcroft bridge has been raised. NTTSW advocacy was successful for addition of 10 feet wide sidewalks on both sides of the Hillcroft bridge.
As a result of NTTSW advocacy a ramp was added December 2020 for access to the Brays Bayou Trail at South Braeswood and Bob White.
NTTSW continues advocating for safe access to the Brays Bayou trail for pedestrians and bicyclists, Sites have been identified by NTTSW and area residents as dangerous street crossings:
Advocacy for pedestrian lights at the above sites has been temporarily halted due to construction work at the ERJCC and Chimney Rock Bridge that started February 2021 and will impact traffic flow.
Hillcroft on Braeswood
Hillcroft Bridge Widened Sidewalk at Braeswood 2020