San Jose Abandons Century-Old Trestle

Homeless have taken to the area of the wooden train trestle

By Damian Trujillo
|  Monday, May 20, 2013  |  Updated 7:28 PM PDT
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Homeless have taken to the area of the wooden train trestle

Homeless have taken to the area of the wooden train trestle

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One of the last links to the Valley of Heart’s Delight may be about to come down.

City leaders say it’s the end of the road for an old wooden train trestle off Lonus Street in San Jose.

“All of the canneries in this area were leading canneries producing hundreds of millions of cases of tomatoes a year,” said Richard Zappelli, president of the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association.

Canneries used the trestle to transport the canned good from the Del Monte and other factories, to the train stations for shipment across the country.

On Monday, the trestle was abandoned and homeless have taken up shop around it.

The city reports 10 fires on the wooden trestle over the last five years.

Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio obtained state grant money to tear down the bridge and build a new steal bridge in its place.

Included in the project would be almost three miles of trails, linking the new Three Creeks trail to the Los Gatos Creek Trail.

“We're trying to create a safe place that people can use for recreation and we have grant money that won’t take away from any other city funds to do it right now," Oliverio said.

But preservationists are against the move. They want the city to renovate and refurbish the century-old trestle instead.

At one time, Zappelli was one of those preservationists.

“I started back in 2009 trying to reserve the bridge as a wooden structure,” Zappellli said. “I decided to look at this from 2,000 feet in the air and look down could see the concern for a possible loss of the trestle.”

Zappelli said another  fire could destroy a new, wooden bridge, and the grant money to build a replacement steel bridge would be lost.

The city council already voted for the steel bridge, and now waits an environmental impact report on the site.

But preservationists say they’ll keep fighting to help save one of the last links to the Silicon’s Valley’s rich agricultural past.

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