Hikers, cyclists, and outdoor enthusiasts can now enjoy a highly anticipated inner loop connection. F. Carter Smith
Steven Devadanam is editor of CultureMap/Houston. This article originally appeared on that site.
Outdoor enthusiasts, active inner loopers, and Houstonians can rejoice, as the highly anticipated hike-and-bike trail connection between White Oak Bayou Greenway and Buffalo Bayou trails is now complete.
In a week that included the announcement of a revitalized downtown Jones Plaza and a $70 million development grant for Memorial Park, the new connector was officially christened during a public ceremony on April 28, hosted by Mayor Sylvester Turner, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and various city and parks officials and foundation leaders. The ceremony marked the last of the six-part, $30 million “Houston Regional Bike/Ped Connections to Transit” project, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The connection adjoins the White Oak Bayou Greenway to the popular Buffalo Bayou trails and green spaces — including Buffalo Bayou Park, which was ravaged by Hurricane Harvey. City and park officials also tout the new connector as a link to downtown's East End, transit centers, communities, and recreational areas, and as an alternative thoroughfare for downtown students and commuters. The connection should provide easier access to destinations north of White Oak Bayou Greenway and across the I-10 corridor.
The connector is part of a series of projects by Bayou Greenways 2020, a public-private partnership between the nonprofit Houston Parks Board, the City of Houston, and the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, and the Harris County Flood Control District. The plans call for a transformation of some 3,000 acres of underutilized land along nine major waterways into a 150-mile linear park and trail system that crisscrosses Houston.
“We have always seen this area as the nexus of Houston’s hike and bike trail system,” said Anne Olson, President of Buffalo Bayou Partnership. “The new trail segment will not only link bicyclists and pedestrians to Buffalo Bayou’s parks but will offer them an alternative mode of transportation to their jobs in downtown.”
The link should also come as a relief to active East End hikers, joggers, and cyclists who have needed safe access to the Buffalo Bayou trails and park.
As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.
Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).
Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.
But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.
Cristian Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. He acknowledged that some of his struggles last year could be attributed to some extra weight he was carrying around in addition to the already-documented mechanical flaws he had.
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) February 22, 2024
In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.
Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.
The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.