Growing encampment keeps joggers, bikers off Pearl City path

Encampments dissuade bikers from using Pearl City path as city, Navy talk enforcement
Published: Jun. 29, 2017 at 1:26 AM HST|Updated: Jun. 29, 2017 at 3:47 PM HST
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PEARL CITY, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There's been a longstanding homeless population along the Pearl City bike path.

But some say the numbers have been increasing in the past few weeks, and some bikers and joggers saying they're now avoiding the path.

A Facebook video taken last week Saturday showed a portion of the bike path lined with tents, bicycles and other items in a homeless camp that has been growing in the isolated area. Most of the camp is on the makai side of the bike path on the shoreline with Pearl Harbor.

"It's federal property, so unfortunately the city can't enforce all the same laws over there for whatever reason," said Makakilo resident Eddie Cox. He has been riding his bike to work on the path three or four times a week for the last 20 years.

The path also winds its way along the shore at Neal Blaisdell Park, where the homeless camp is also on the makai side.

"A couple of people started camping, and then a couple more, and nothing got done about it. And now we have a community out here," said Cox.

The community has grown because of a jurisdictional issue. Some have said the land on the makai side of the bike path is owned by the Navy.

A city spokesman said it is working on reaching an agreement with the Navy regarding the Pearl City bike path. A Navy spokeswoman said, in a statement, that the agreement is nearly complete. However, "The Navy owns the Pearl Harbor Bike Path corridor which has concurrent jurisdiction status, but the Navy does not own the dry land on either side of the Pearl Harbor Bike Path corridor. So even if the homeless encampments were within the bike path corridor, the City and County would still have enforcement jurisdiction."

In the meantime, Eddie Cox has a bright green shirt that says "Pearl Harbor Bike Path Not Safe."

He wears the shirt while riding his bike on Kamehameha Highway. He no longer uses the bike path, "because I don't want to run into these people and the situations that are down here, and I believe that this path needs to be maintained, and there needs to be some focus on it."

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