Bridging Communities in Houston's East End
If you visit Mason Park or jog along Brays Bayou Greenway, you will likely see a new addition to landscape: the Mason Park Pedestrian/Bike Bridge.
As part of Bayou Greenways 2020, the Mason Park Bridge serves as a central connector for the East End and provides easy access from both sides of Mason Park to the Brays Bayou Greenway trail system. The signature bridge marks a pivotal moment in providing a new, safe crossing for communities on Brays Bayou which includes Magnolia Park, Lawndale, Wayside, Pecan Park, Harrisburg and Manchester.
It was friends and families from these communities and surrounding areas that came together on Saturday, September 22 for the Mason Park Bridge Grand Opening. Despite the forecast for potential downpours, hundreds showed up at 8:00 a.m. to participate in the Mason Park 5k Fun Walk/Run. In partnership with Houston Area Road Runners Association, The Houston Wellness Project and Houston Marathon Foundation, the 5k marked the first official crossing of the Mason Park Bridge. Rodger Shull placed first overall, and racers Jose Perez (second overall) and Adley Halligan (first overall for women) received tickets to the U.S. Open Cup from the Houston Dynamo.
“The Mason Park Bridge is significant on many levels: it is an essential connector for the East End and surrounding communities, it provides an integral link from both sides of Mason Park to the Brays Bayou Greenway trail system, and, finally, it’s a stunning piece of architecture that we are all proud to bring to the neighborhood.” – Beth White, President & CEO of Houston Parks Board
The storms unfortunately did not hold off long and it became unsafe to carry out the rest of the festivities. The rain didn’t deter locals who, once the clouds cleared, continued to visit the bridge and the park throughout the day and share their support on social media. The amazing turnout in spite of the rain showcased the excitement for the connection and affirmed the importance of connected communities.
“We were very excited to collaborate with so many great groups for the Mason Park Bridge Grand Opening – Houston Area Road Runners Association, The Houston Wellness Project, Houston Marathon Foundation, Houston Dynamo, Bayou Preservation Association, Houston Public Library, East End Management District, Nature and Eclectic Outdoors (NEO), Telemundo Houston and the various community organizations. We are thankful for these partnerships and look forward to collaborating on more Bayou Greenway events in the future.” – Doug Overman, Chief Advancement Officer of Houston Parks Board
The process for building the bridge began in the early 2000s when the Houston Parks and Recreation Department asked Harris County Flood Control to sculpt the north bank landing while they constructed the Tidal Marsh Basin through Project Brays. Through a combination of funding from public and private partners*, the Mason Park Bridge became a reality.
“Mason Park is a beloved gem in our community and it is wonderful to see residents, individuals and families use the Mason Park Bridge on a daily basis. This new addition is a true representation of the important role parks and greenspace play in a vibrant, connected city.”– Council Member Robert Gallegos
Surrounding communities watched in anticipation this summer as the central truss of the 485-foot-long, 16-foot-wide bridge was installed by NGB Constructors, Inc. and overseen by TxDOT. With 70-foot-tall towers on each bank and cables connecting to the steel truss every 35 feet, the Mason Park Bridge joins the ranks of the city’s signature bridges including the Bill Coates Bridge over Brays Bayou in Hermann Park and Jackson Hill Bridge in Buffalo Bayou Park.
“It takes time, teamwork and collaboration to make projects like Mason Park Bridge possible. [We] acknowledge and thank all the partners who have helped fund Mason Park Bridge and have produced a win for the communities we serve.” – Steve Wright, Director Houston Parks and Recreation Department
The Mason Park Bridge can be visited at Mason Park from dusk to dawn. In lieu of the Grand Opening event, we invite you to join us on Saturday, November 10 for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Mason Park Bridge. Please visit our events page for additional information and share your images with us on social media using the tag #MasonParkBridge.
To learn more about the Brays Bayou Greenway and other happenings along a Bayou Greenway near you, explore our interactive map. If you know of a “great place” along your Bayou Greenway, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow us on Instagram @houstonparksboard and tag #BayouGreenways.
*Funding for the $5.9 million bridge comes from the federal Transportation Enhancement program selected for funding by the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) and administered by TxDOT; a local match from the City of Houston; the Houston Parks and Recreation Department Park and Recreation Dedication Fund; council district service funds from Council Member Robert Gallegos, District I; and private contributions raised by Houston Parks Board including a grant from the Kinder Foundation.