Hazards litter Kapahulu bike path near growing homeless encampment
KAPAHULU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - James Smith, owner of Island Triathlon and Bike in Kapahulu, adopted the bike path across the street from his shop five years ago.
"There's a curb on each side of the bike path so what we would do is blow everything out to the edge. The idea is to keep the path clean and clear for cyclists so they don't get flat tires," Smith said.
But now, volunteers tasked with keeping the bike route along Kapahulu Avenue clean say they've given up.
That's because of a homeless camp on the edge of the Ala Wai golf course that's grown significantly over the last three months. Residents say it started with just a few homeless people. Currently there are around 50 people.
Now, hazards litter the track.
"I've noticed glass. I've noticed needles. There's obviously urine and feces," Smith said.
Last month, a jogger was hospitalized after he wound up with a fish hook in his leg.
Howard Kam dreads cycling this stretch of the path. In the past six months, he's gotten two flat tires.
"It's pretty bad. There is a lot of debris. A lot of glass. A lot of metal bits get stuck in your tires that you have to dig out," said Kam.
The problems don't end there. Some businesses are having issues too. Side Street Inn had to relocate electrical outlets after they discovered some of the campers had tapped into their power.
"They will plug in while no one is here. But how long they were doing it we don't know. They make like it's nothing," said Side Street Inn manager Rob Acoba.
Hawaii News Now contacted the city about the issue. Because the area is public property, police don't have the authority to tell people to leave.
But officers have enforced the stored property ordinance about a dozen times since the start of the year.
Officials are considering rezoning the area as a possible solution.
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