Railroad trestle reveals a dark side of Los Gatos Creek

A railroad trestle on a part of the  Los Gatos Creek Trail is slated for removal.

A railroad trestle on a part of the Los Gatos Creek Trail is slated for removal.

In a rough-and-ready industrial area near Willow Glen in San Jose there’s a 90-year-old railroad trestle begging for mercy. Its passing is in many ways a metaphor for life.

Doing the begging are a handful of concerned local residents who have come to know the bridge and who see history. City officials see only charred timbers and liability.

The bridge spanning Los Gatos Creek is slated for removal so a new metal bridge can be installed — another advance for the popular Los Gatos Creek Trail. Or that’s the plan supported by the San Jose City Council at a recent meeting.

On a warm, sunny Saturday morning I rode over to see the bridge for the first time and learn more about the ins and outs of deciding its timbered fate.

Larry Ames invited us to join him for a tour. A study indicates it’s in fairly good shape. It needs repair, but it’s mostly superficial.

What stuck with me was the encampments. People live next to the bridge in tents. Call them homeless, but they wouldn’t see it that way. The wooded creek is their home.

It wouldn’t be so bad if not for the garbage and residents using the creek as their private toilet. It’s not right and it needs to stop.

In a way the trestle fits with the neighborhood. It’s a piece of rough-hewn history and there’s plenty of that here: industry, warehouses, car repair shops. It’s the stuff we’d like to hide, but can’t because it’s part of who we are.

Here’s where elected officials come in. They decide the bridge’s fate, taking the facts into consideration. An outpouring of protest might sway them.

I think San Jose residents are in good hands with their elected officials, especially Mayor Chuck Reed.

Only two bridges of this kind remain in the area, the other being near Kelley Park. See them while you can.

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2 Responses to “Railroad trestle reveals a dark side of Los Gatos Creek”

  1. ted pauly Says:

    Well Ray, I must say that I have always taken a favorable liking to things like old railroad tracks, not to mention bridges, ever since I was a little kid, and I also recall one of the greatest moments in my life, and that was when I learned to ride my bicycle. I was always fascinated that trains used to run down tracks like the ones in your post, and the steel rails are like a link between the past and a the present, and when these links are removed, are memories of yesteryear are taken along too….but I suppose we will get over it, one way or another. Heck, if the “historians” think this destruction is bad, they should take a look at what is happening is Syria. What I am really concerned with Ray is this: How was your ride to the bridge, and what kind of road are you travelling on to get there?
    Have a great weekend. Pow Wow at Stanford, FYI.

  2. Ray Hosler Says:

    Just click on the history link. There’s a map. It’s near Lincoln and 280. Find the creek.

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