Houston Parks Rank Low In Survey, But Officials Say Improvements Are Coming

Houston's park system ranks in the bottom half of the nation's biggest cities. That's according to a new survey by the Trust for Public Land. But local park officials say the pieces are coming together to get Houston's parks closer to the best in the country.
Houston's parks tied with Miami, at number 38 out of 50 cities.  Houston scores well for park acreage.  But much of that acreage is out of reach.  Only 46 percent of the city's residents live within a 10-minute walk of any park.  Roksan Okan-Vick is the executive director of Houston Parks Board. 
"The biggest lesson we take is making sure we have parkland and green spaces that are, in fact, accessible to more than 50 percent of our population."
Okan-Vick says park access is already guaranteed to get better.
"Due to the recent bond election that we passed in Houston.  We passed overwhelmingly, for the Bayou Greenways Project as well as additional park improvements.  That will have a huge impact on equitable distribution."
Okan-Vick says in addition to the greenways, more neighborhood and community parks are needed.  She predicts, if all of those things happen, the ranking of Houston's parks move up from the current 38 to somewhere in the 20's when the next rankings come out in seven years.
Bio photo of David Pitman

David Pitman

Local Host, Morning Edition

The one question David hears most often isn't "What is it like to work for an NPR member station?" or "Have you ever met Terry Gross?" (he has)...