Homeless Encampments Swept Out from Downtown End Up in Riverbed and on Ocean Beach Bike Path

by on May 23, 2023 · 9 comments

in Homelessness, Ocean Beach, San Diego

Wesley Hill, a 25-year resident of Ocean Beach, is upset. While riding the Ocean Beach bike path on his bicycle, after dodging trash and debris from homeless encampments along the pathway, he ran into a skateboard, crashed head first, cracking some teeth and costing him dental bills.

Hill told Brian White of CBS8:

“The bike path has been a mess for months, if not years. Encampments, other people using it to do drugs, it’s become a public toilet. Frequently, you see shopping carts all over the place.”

“You have to negotiate around people sleeping, dogs, and drug paraphernalia in the middle of the path. Frequently, I dismount my bike because I’m afraid I will run over somebody or something.”

It’s a safety issue for Hill. “I hope the city understands that it is a safety issue, not just for people that live in the encampments, but for the people that utilize the bike paths,” said Hill.

The rise in people experiencing living along the riverbeds and on the bike path is tied to several factors, said Amie Zamudio, founder of the nonprofit Housing 4 the Homeless. And there is a reason why Hill is noticing more encampments along the bike path, she says.

“We have a grave shortage of shelter bed availability. As we continue to sweep people out of downtown San Diego where we have services available, you then begin to push people into the outskirts and the riverbeds,” said Zamudio.

“Everybody is frustrated. The person experiencing homelessness is frustrated. The people biking and running on bike paths are frustrated, and I think it leads back to our lack of leadership in this space in San Diego, and it’s quite unfortunate.”

Hill said:

“The OB bike path is a major transportation corridor for bicycles to get east from the beach areas. I think it’s essential that our bike paths are safe and secure, especially in a city that wants us to ride bikes.”

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

FrankF May 24, 2023 at 7:49 am

Once they build a bike path, the city forgets about it. And when the city creates a bike path physically separate from the motorway, it’s too narrow for a street sweeper to clean it.

The SD River bike path is a great example, so is the bike path along Nimitz, 30th Street in North Park, the South Bay bike path, and the crazy separate bike paths on 4th and 5th downtown.

The Nimitz bike path is so over run with tree limbs and dirt runoff from nearby slopes that I have to ride IN the traffic, not in the bike path.


Vern May 24, 2023 at 10:22 am

Mr. Wesley Hill can prepare to dodge more encampments.
Per UT, “Newly homeless population growing twice as fast as those finding housing.”
Meanwhile, OddTodd will simply attend more taxpayer-funded photo ops claiming victory over all of SD’s woes.


Rkuhlk May 24, 2023 at 6:15 pm

I respectfully disagree with Ms. Zamudio. I use the bike path to commute from my home in OB to my job at a hospital in Hillcrest. The homeless do not appear to be frustrated. I’m fact they seem perfectly content to do their drugs in the open, and use the bushes to urinate and defecate in the river. I also take my dog to dog beach in OB and watch the children of tourists play in the flood control channel. My dog has had giardia multiple times with trips to the veterinarian for medication. Lastly I have seen our first responders being called to what appears to be dead bodies, I assume from a overdose and fires in the riverbed from homeless using grills to cook. The amount of trash lining the bike trail would fill multiple dumpsters and man power from the city to remove. I align with Bill Walton ambassador of San Diego and also cycles, this is no longer americas finest city.


Chris May 25, 2023 at 7:53 am

Ms. Zamudio is correct in the reasons as to why there are so many homeless along the bike paths in that area. Whether or not the homeless themselves are “frustrated” is pretty much irrelevant.


Gonesurfing May 24, 2023 at 10:26 pm

To everyone who obsesses over the “homeless crises” today and thinks they have the all the answers or that our elected officials should figure this all out, I say it’s always been like this. Go watch the movie the grapes of wrath to see what it was like back in the good ole days. There were about 6 million people in California then and wide open river valleys and country side. No plastic bags or drugs. Only paper, bottles and cans and booze. Those all degrade quickly as a lot of bottles were recycled as well. Those “hobo” camps existed then and there were just as many homeless living unhoused as a percentage of the population as there are today. Then however they had vast empty areas to build camps out of site of population centers. Today we have almost 40 million living here and there’s no more open space near the cities for the homeless to “hide in” and their garbage of plastic and endless throw away consumer products they gather piles up and they a plethora of available drugs and drug paraphernalia as well, not just alcohol. So I say it seems that the homeless population is sooo much worse now, when it’s just a factor of the growth of California and non biodegradable products streaming into the world.


Vern May 25, 2023 at 9:42 am

Seems the San Diego River has been home for the homeless for sometime…

Early 2014… Todd Gloria was interim mayor then, until Kevin Faulconer…


Carl Bowles May 25, 2023 at 4:19 pm

Homeless camps in East village have more Homeless than ever. The homeless increase didn’t come from us.


Lynn May 25, 2023 at 7:34 pm

I’m an East Village resident & I tell you, the streets are cleaner than the sidewalks. I see no decrease in the people WHO CJOOSE TO NOT PAY RENT or will not stay on their meds so they can get high, panhandle aggressively & know that there’s nothing government can do about it! You can thank Bill & Hillary for this explosion of “Street People”! The law can no longer take them to hospital, rehab or anywhere unless they WANT TO GO! U have to stay sober in those free shelters!! It’s a disgrace & very disturbing to have to listen to the nightly s
Ranting that goes on every night! Last night it sounded like someone was torturing a dog! IF I owned property down here, I would not rest until something changed!! SDHC told me that if I couldn’t pay my rent without Government help, then wait for an eviction notice THEN I can get help! OMG, no one would ever rent to me once that happens!! There’s something inherently wrong with the local government being in charge of Federal money needed to help people! I found myself almost with nothing & 9 days from no where to go in mid 2019; to date, the only assistance I have recvd is $23 in food stamps!! I am in what they call a LIHTC apartment. Go to SDHC or even the city site, SDHCsd & try to make sense of that bull crap “aid”. My rent has been raised $85 twice! I’m living on Social Security Disability and am a victim of romantic fraud. I’m 66 & soon perhaps in a wheelchair! I am still learning how to “work the system”!! Thanks for the outlet


Tomas May 26, 2023 at 3:05 am

It’s the drug problem!!!! Fentanyl and Meth!!!!!


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