A Change in the Buffalo Bayou Bike Trail

 

A Quiet Change in the Buffalo Bayou Hike & Bike Trail

When I was in the cardiologist’s office last week to go through some testing, I enjoyed the waiting room company of a few fellow travelers on what passes for elderly health care routine in 2017. I got to spend some time there with a young fellow of about 65 who seemed to be in great shape, and also a fellow, who once  he warmed up to the idea, was able o share with me that he averages about 8,000 bike riding miles a month – and most of these are wracked up on the dangerous harem-scar-um car traffic streets of Houston.

“Have you got something against the idea of living to age 70,” I wanted to ask, but did not. It would have sounded too smart-assy, even for me.

Instead, I asked, “Well, what about the big plan for that hike and bike trail that will someday (soon?) make it possible for riders who are physically up to it on the west side to bike all the way into work downtown along Buffalo Bayou from the Hershey Park area beyond Eldridge?”

“That one’s now quietly off the books,” my health-day buddy disclosed. “The idea didn’t go over well with our neighbors in River Oaks.”

They apparently didn’t like the idea that bad guys could then disguise themselves as harmless good guys in walking, running, and biking mode – and then burgle their bad motive noses down the new trail behind the now more vulnerable back sides of their houses and descend upon their community peace of mind like too many locusts in so many ways. In other words, the people of River Oaks along the bayou would then be exposing themselves to an avoidable risk that offered no great appeal on the plus side.

The people of River Oaks – and possibly other specific neighborhoods along Buffalo Bayou also may simply have done what people with both power and great wealth can do. They quietly killed the continuous “all the way” trail plan in ways that only money and power can do.

And who can blame them, if they did force this unverified change? In this world today, security issues need to be taken into account with everything we plan and build into a city the size of our Houston. It just so happens that the people who live along the banks of Buffalo Bayou near downtown already have the clout and the culture smarts for getting something like this done.

I tried deciphering change from the plans outlined for Buffalo Bayou Park, but these words and illustrations at the site only deal with the activity plan for the area west of downtown, from Shepherd Drive on the far west side to Bagby on the far east side to the plan.

http://buffalobayou.org/bbpwordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Trail-Map-October-2016.pdf

I do think that the increased use of bikes in Houston by those who are able to use them would help relieve our auto traffic snarl, but that we need to find effective ways for making separate bike routes available in ways that also take into account the security issues that are created by and for biker users in the process of making those changes.

Hopefully, the expiration date on Houston’s developer mentality that we are the city which simply builds and destroys – without regard for consequences or history – is coming up soon. We already are living with the fruit of human disregard for others that is the legacy of those self-centered souls who got rich at the expense of the way everyday people who are the heart of Houston live our lives.

___________________


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

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