City to close popular Aiea bike path, park for weeks to clear homeless encampments

A popular biking spot in Aiea that’s been taken over by homeless encampments is getting some much-needed attention.

Starting next month, the city will be cleaning up the Pearl Harbor Bike Path in an effort to revitalize the trail and keep the community safe.

Signs went up around the park Thursday notifying the homeless community of the city’s plans to enforce its stored property ordinance and the sidewalk nuisance ordinance. In order to do this, the park will be closed for just over three weeks.

City councilman Brandon Elefante says the path has been a point of concern in his district for a while.

“People don’t want to come down here because they don’t feel safe or that it is accessible,” he said.

“Since they have a lot of homeless over there, I stop and go there to the other corner, and go back around,” said Bernard Magno, who frequents Neal S. Blaisdell Park.

The city will close the bike path as well as the park from Aug. 7-31 to clear out the encampments. Enforcement will begin August 8.

There are an estimated 120 people living along the bike path.

“Our service providers have really upped their game,” said Mark Alexander, the city’s homeless coordinator. “They will coming out here in special force. We are working closely with our state partners.”

“We want (the homeless) to seek shelter and we want them to seek permanent support of housing,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

Parts of the bike path are on federal property, but the U.S. Navy has agreed to give the city access.

The long-term plan is to create a larger bike path that connects Aiea, Pearl City, Ewa, and the Waianae coast.

“There are a lot of people who access the Pearl Harbor Historic Trail, not only in this area, but in the Pearl City, Waimalu area,” Elefante said. “It’s very utilized trail, especially in the morning, because there are a lot of seniors who do come out here for exercise, so it’s important in going forward that we maintain this trail, that it is safe.”

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