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Coyote Creek Trail and Trestle

Last updated 9/19/23


UPDATE

Trail Is Open

Coyote Creek Trail is now open under the trestle for through passage from Olinder Dog Park to Remillard Court.


Reports

The reports are available for the bridge and trestle. Reference them from the Five Wounds Trails page. Here are the quick summaries from the reports.


"Coyote Creek Trestle in reference to the NRHP and CRHR criteria, the subject property appears individually eligible for listing on the NRHP and CRHR under Criterion A/1 at the local level for its association with the industrial development of San Jose. The subject trestle is one of only two extant pile bent trestles in the Santa Clara County and the only one in San Jose. The period of significance is from 1922 when it was completed to c. 1965 when San Jose’s and the County’s fruit industry started to decline. Coyote Creek Trestle retains sufficient integrity to communicate its significance under Criterion A/1 for its defined period of significance. Coyote Creek Trestle also appears eligible as a San Jose City Landmark under criteria 1, 4 and 6 as a good example of an early 20th century pile bent timber trestle (a rare remaining structure type), constructed during the period of Inter-War Period (1918-1945) "


"A thorough review of the three proposed alternatives was completed, with each alternative yielding different levels of compatibility with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards.


Alternative 1 is a collapse prevention and life safety retrofit of the existing structure.


Alternative 2 proposes to demolish the Coyote Creek Trestle entirely. A new single-span 250-foot weathering steel truss bridge would be reconstructed following either the same alignment or a similar alignment.


Alternative 3 includes new construction and a retrofit. Coyote Creek Trestle would receive a minor retrofit, and a 250-foot span weathering steel truss bridge would be constructed."


"The existing trestle exhibits the following issues:

  • Bridge structure is only adequate to resist its own weight and short-term wind loading.

  • Inadequate lateral force resisting system.

  • Trestle supports are at risk of partial collapse during a relatively high probability, low severity seismic event, quantifiable as a seismic event with a 20% risk of occurrence within 50 years.

  • Further deterioration of the structure will occur, and existing structural deficiencies will get worse.

If preservation of the existing structure is desired, two options were considered:

  • Retrofit Collapse Prevention/Self-Sustained Retrofit

  • Retrofit for Multi-Use Path"


"Three alternatives are considered for this report and the following:

  • Alternative 1: Fully retrofit existing trestle bridge for multi-purpose trail use

  • Alternative 2: Demolish existing bridge and construct a new single-span weathering steel truss bridge

  • Alternative 3: Retrofit existing bridge for collapse prevention and construct new single-span weathering steel truss bridge adjacent to the existing bridge

None of the considered alternatives provide a viable route for maintenance, service, police and ranger vehicles to easily and quickly reach the site."



 

Information as of early July 2023

In mid-June 2023, the City of San Jose received a draft structural consulting report stating that the historic trestle (Senter Railroad Trestle) that crosses Coyote Creek in Coyote Meadows, connecting the Five Wounds Trail to Story Road, was is in "danger of imminent failure". Therefore, the City closed the Coyote Creek Trail between Olinder Dog Park, under Highway 280, through Coyote Meadows to Story Road. The City staff is still reviewing the draft report.


The Community Meeting was held on Th 7/6 with nearly 50 people in attendance including neighbors in council districts 3 and 7 that are directly impacted by the closure, historical preservation representatives, trails advocates, and other concerned community members.


The staff members in attendance answered questions from the public. A few items of note:

  1. The trail is closed and noticed as closed with signs identifying risks in multiple languages. It is not physically closed since police and fire need to have access to this area.

  2. Four studies have been conducted on the trestle, of which a total of $500k has been allocated to the studies and staff time. The City owns the trestle.

    1. Bridge Type Selection, 8/2/23

    2. Trestle Structural Evaluation, 8/2/23

    3. Trestle Historic Resource Evaluation, 7/13/23

    4. Trestle Secretary of the Interior Standards Compliance Review, 7/21/23

  3. The trestle is in "danger of imminent failure" per the draft report since it is not earthquake safe, has significant timber deterioration (partly due to vandalism and fire), and has missing integral structural members.

  4. The trail could remain closed between 1 and 3 years as the staff evaluate options for the trestle to make the area safe. A temporary option may take as long to add as a permanent one, so staff are looking at all options.

Following the meeting, the City Park Concerns email shared the following email with attendees:


Below are links to two City webpages, specific for the Coyote Creek Trail and the Five Wounds Trail. These websites will post updated information for follow up community meetings for engagement and next steps. These websites will also share status updates and copies of final reports, once available.


In addition to these two webpages, City staff will continue to share information on social media outlets and share updates with the Council District Offices of District 3 and 7, where this Coyote Creek Trail segment and wooden trestle reside.

Thank you for your dedication and care for the San Jose Trail Network. City staff look forward to sharing updates and hosting additional community meetings as the process progresses.


Park Concerns, park.concerns@sanjoseca.gov, (408) 793-5510


Please contact your councilmember if you have additional information you'd like to share about the closure so they know of your concerns.


 

Additional information provided by resident Jeffrey Hare


The City has received notice of a "dangerous condition," it has little choice but to mitigate the risk of injury or loss. Putting out warning signs saying the trail is "closed" is the first step.


But there is another concern...the risk of structural failure during a flooding event. See map that includes added the overlays to show the historic railroad, the creek, and the potential flooding area maps.


If high flows (e.g., from atmospheric rivers), combined with further vandalism and debris cause the unstable bridge to collapse -- a potential risk that is probably more likely than an earthquake -- the timbers could cause serious blockage of the creek. This, in turn, would create a major diversion of creek flows, not only eroding the trail, but backing up flood waters that could damage homes south of Senter Road, as well as Happy Hollow Park and Zoo.


If there was a major blockage of the creek during a flood event, floodwater could erode the banks and transport contaminated soil downstream after flooding the soil north of the trestle (an old railroad line) for miles.


Note: This information has been edited for length.

Image courtesy Jeffrey Hare, 2023


 

Trestle Images

The following images were contributed by Larry Ames and Jeffrey Hare





 

The City hosted a meeting to share updates and next steps on the trestle and trail closure.

Thursday, July 6 from 5:30-6:30PM

Tully Community Library

880 Tully Rd, San Jose


Contact is Lisa Beltran at 408-535-3520 and list.bentran@sanjoseca.gov.


For information about the trail, visit the City's web page.


 

Background

The Coyote Creek Trail segment between the Olinder Dog Park and Phelan Avenue, crossing Story Road, was officially opened on Nov 7, 2021 after nearly a decade in planning, approvals, and construction (see SIlver Creek Master Plan (2008) and Phelan to Tully Master Plan (2005). This significant addition of trail, although short in distance, is meaningful for its connectivity between two neighborhoods separated by Highway 280.


About Coyote Meadows

The segment of closed trail runs through Coyote Meadows, approximately 50+ acres of land including a landfill, radio towers, existing Coyote Creek Trail, and planned Five Wounds Trail that connects to the intersection of Story and Senter Roads via the trestle.


The Coyote Meadows Coalition has been active since 2015 to create a City Park in Coyote Meadows to encompass the two trails and offer passive recreation, art, and events. You can learn more about the organization at https://coyotemeadowssj.org.


The Open Space Authority provided a grant to create a community-based Concept Plan for future use and development of the space. Learn more at https://coyotemeadowssj.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/WW_Coyote_Creek_report_single-page-4.26.2018.pdf


Plans for the Five Wounds Trail have been in process for decades. The segment that runs through Coyote Meadows is at the base of the landfill and contains railroad-associated chemicals that will require remediation prior to the trail being constructed. Learn more at https://fivewoundstrailsj.org/ .


Safety Concerns

Over the past few years, the San Jose Police Department Bike Safety Patrol, funded largely by Valley Water, has provided patrols along Coyote Creek Trail. Staff did not know the status of the trail patrols once the trail was closed.


Based on past experience, this area has had significant homeless re-encampments that have resulted in habitat destruction. People have been removed from this area, including when it was called The Jungle in 2015, multiple times over the years despite the destruction on the land, vegetation, fires, pollution. Many people have expressed concern that the re-encampments, fires, and further destruction may occur again with the trail closed.


If the trestle is as compromised as indicated, people should not be using the trail under the trestle.


Opening the Trail

The City staff is exploring options to re-open the trail in 1-3 years. No additional information was provided since staff are gathering and evaluating options.


Trestle Options

The City staff is considering removing the trestle and perhaps replacing it with a metal bridge. No other options were presented at the meeting.







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