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Pearl Harbor trail plan is placed back on track

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City officials say they will move forward with efforts to relaunch the Pearl Harbor Historic Trail master plan after hearing residents’ suggestions and concerns.

Several community members at a Wednesday meeting expressed frustration with homeless encampments taking over parts of the trail, adding that the area also needs infrastructure improvements on the pedestrian and bicycle paths that run from Pearl Harbor to Waipahu and Ewa Beach.

Officials will compile residents’ feedback and hope to host another meeting within the next several months. They are asking for help from community members who are willing to volunteer or spearhead the project.

The master plan for a trail along the shoreline to Nanakuli from Aiea was developed in 2001 but stalled due to a key community leader moving to the mainland. The project has remained in limbo since then. The 18-mile trail would run along the old Oahu Railway & Land Co. corridor and connect neighborhoods to recreation areas and historic sites.

Aiea and Pearl City residents envisioned the shoreline that currently hosts a city-run bike path as a recreational hub and an economic engine. Suggestions to revitalize the trail included safer pathways, boat tours, a cultural center and wildlife preservation efforts.

“This is our community plan,” Claire Tamamoto, president of the Aiea Community Association, told residents. “The whole idea was, in layman’s terms, to make a lei around Pearl Harbor, and then each community would pick your own pearls and find out what things they wanted to highlight in their community.”

City Councilman Brandon Elefante, who along with other elected officials and the city Department of Planning and Permitting hosted the meeting at Aiea Elementary School with nearly 100 residents in attendance, said the Council budgeted about $1 million for the trail a few years ago.

City officials said the trail is a component of the transit-oriented developments in the area and will be within close proximity to five of the rail stations.

“We all care a lot about what’s happening at Pearl Harbor Historic Trail,” Elefante said. “I think the vision is still alive. This is all about a community partnership … all hands on deck getting involved.”

At Wednesday’s meeting, residents, many of whom were assigned a clicker and asked to respond to questions about the trail, said they would like to see shaded trees planted, pavements re-striped and more lighting installed in the short term. For long-term projects, many responded that priorities should include relocating the homeless, widening paths and restoring fishponds.

Police say they do regular sweeps of the homeless encampments on the trail, but residents still expressed frustration over the trail’s safety.

Tamamoto, who added that she thinks the plan could use a paid worker to handle the project, said residents also have the responsibility to care for the neighborhood.

“We have to get up and stand up and say, ‘This is what we want for our communities,’” Tamamoto said, “and take ownership for it.”

To view the 2001 master plan, visit

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