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Houston’s Bold Vision: Water Taxis to Revitalize Buffalo Bayou

In a bid to harness the full potential of Buffalo Bayou, a historically significant yet oft-overlooked waterway, Midway CEO and Chairman Bradley Freels has proposed an ambitious plan to introduce water taxis, offering both locals and visitors a fresh perspective on the city’s landscape.

The Buffalo Bayou holds a pivotal place in Houston’s history, dating back to the arrival of Augustus and John Allen, who envisioned it as a bustling center of commerce. However, despite its rich heritage, the bayou has remained underutilized and largely overlooked by residents. Freels believes that by introducing water taxis, the city can breathe new life into this underdeveloped asset, transforming the business district into a vibrant entertainment hub.

The proposed plan envisions a 2.5 to 3-mile stretch of Buffalo Bayou, encompassing downtown and adjacent districts. Businesses along the bayou would have the opportunity to build docks, while residents could obtain licenses from the city to operate boats for leisurely rides. Freels emphasizes that the initiative aims to benefit the entire city, not just Midway’s properties.

While the project presents immense potential for tourism and economic growth, its realization hinges on collaboration among various stakeholders, including the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, the city of Houston, and the Port of Houston. Kris Larson, President and CEO of Downtown Houston+, views the water taxi concept as a promising addition to the city’s recreational offerings, citing the transformation of Buffalo Bayou into a beloved recreational corridor in recent years.

Despite potential challenges such as flooding risks and logistical complexities, Freels remains optimistic about the project’s feasibility, suggesting that with concerted efforts, it could materialize within 18 months. By harnessing the allure of Buffalo Bayou, Houston aims to redefine its urban landscape and create new opportunities for leisure and exploration along its historic waterways.