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San Jose: Demolition Of Willow Glen Trestle Put Off While Legal Battles Continue

Because of legal wrangling, the 1920s-era Willow Glen Trestle still stands despite another San Jose City Council vote to raze the old railroad bridge.

When the council voted again May 21 to demolish the 210-foot trestle and replace it with a steel bridge–already built and sitting in storage, according to District 6 Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio–it looked like the end for the railroad relic. The plan was to have the fabricated bridge in place by October.

The council previously voted four times to raze the bridge, but had to prepare an environmental impact report after Superior Court Judge Joseph Huber sided with Friends of the Trestle, a preservation group. In a February 2014 lawsuit against the city, the group contended that the trestle’s possible historic status hadn’t been explored and that San Jose officials violated the California Environmental Quality Act by not preparing an EIR.

Although the group didn’t contest the EIR that was finally done, Huber nevertheless refused to rescind his June 2014 order prohibiting the city from tearing down the trestle.

That’s because the case currently sits in appellate court after the city challenged Huber’s ruling, according to Friends of the Trestle lawyer Susan Brandt-Hawley.

“The city has filed an appeal; the city can’t go to the trial judge now,” she said, adding that she believes city also failed to follow legal procedures such as setting aside its original approval of demolition and reapproving the Three Creeks Pedestrian Bridge project after the EIR was completed.

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