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Bayou Greenways 2020

It’s time we lived up to the name “the Bayou City.”

The bayous are the best natural resource we have in Houston. But for far too long, we’ve neglected and ignored them – and treated them as nothing more than drainage ditches.

Many of our parks – and neighborhoods – lie along the bayous already.

It’s time to connect the dots.

Through Bayou Greenways 2020, Houston Parks Board and its project partners are connecting people all over Houston to parks and greenspace – and each other.


Bayou Greenways 2020 will be transformative for our city – from the way we get around to the way we view Houston’s natural resources.

Bayou Greenways 2020 will…

• Create a continuous parks system along Houston’s major waterways.
• Transform more than 3,000 underutilized acres along the bayous into public, accessible greenspace.
• Add more than 80 new miles of hike-and-bike trails and trail-related amenities (such as trailheads, landscaping and benches) along the bayous to fill in the gaps.
• Give us a network of 150 miles of greenspace and trails crisscrossing our city.

When the project is complete, approximately 60 percent of Houstonians will live within 1.5 miles of a Bayou Greenway.


Bayou Greenways 2020 is a public-private partnership between Houston Parks Board, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and the Harris County Flood Control District. Houston Parks Board is leading the private fundraising and managing the acquisition, design and construction of the Bayou Greenways 2020 Project.

The cost to complete Bayou Greenways 2020 will be $220 million. In the November 2012 election, thanks in part to the “Parks By You!” campaign, Houston voters overwhelmingly approved a major bond referendum providing $166 million in parks funding, $100 million of which is set aside for Bayou Greenways 2020.

Houston Parks Board is responsible for raising the remaining $120 million from private funds, federal and state grants and other sources. As of Feb. 2016, more than $90 million had been raised, including a historic $50 million donation from the Kinder Foundation.


Bayou Greenways 2020 is a transformative project that will help redefine Houston as a more beautiful, healthy and active city.

Equitable Distribution: The bayous touch just about every neighborhood in Houston. By transforming underutilized land along the bayous, Bayou Greenways 2020 will bring new public, accessible greenspace to many “under-parked” parts of our city.

Places for Houstonians to connect, meet, recreate and celebrate: Free and open to everyone, the Bayou Greenways will serve as places for personal and community discovery and exploration of nature, history, diversity, culture and heritage.

Accessibility: We will make every effort to maximize both physical and visual access to the Bayou Greenways.

Respect for the natural setting and ecological significance of the bayou corridors.


Completing Houston’s Bayou Greenways will fulfill a 100 year-old vision to create continuous and accessible parks and trails along the major bayous within the City. In 1912, Arthur Comey, a visionary urban planner, laid out a master plan for Houston with its park system organized around its bayou corridors. In this plan, continuous ribbons of green along Houston’s bayous connect Houston’s parks along its major bayous.

Comey wrote, “The backbone of a park system for Houston will naturally be its bayou or creek valleys, which readily lend themselves to parks and cannot so advantageously be used for any other purpose.”


Bayou Greenways 2020 is just one phase of an even greater vision, the Bayou Greenways Initiative.

The Bayou Greenways Initiative is the overarching idea to develop connected green corridors with hike and bike trails along the bayous of the greater Houston area; it is a long-range and Harris County-wide initiative.

Bayou Greenways 2020, named for its anticipated completion date, is the portion of the Bayou Greenways Initiative that is located within the Houston city limits.

Houston Parks Board is leading the private fundraising and managing the acquisition, design and construction of the Bayou Greenways 2020 Project. Other groups, like the Buffalo Bayou Partnership and the Cypress Creek Flood Control Coalition, are leading their own projects along the bayous that fall within the Bayou Greenways Initiative.