ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Albuquerque woman said she is being harassed while riding a popular bike trail that’s goes through what has become a homeless camp.
Police have been to the area before, but cyclists say as quickly as it is cleared out, new people move in, raising safety and health concerns.
“When I’m by myself, I brace myself for what’s going to happen,” Cyclist Sandra Knox said.
She said she has been reporting this problem area to the city for the past four months.
“I would say close to ten times, if not more,” Knox said.
Where the North Diversion Channel bike trail goes under I-40, cyclists will often ride by needles and people camping up in the shadows above the trail.
“At one point, my husband and I had some sort of liquid thrown on us,” Knox said.
She said she even called 911 when five homeless campers blocked the trail and tried to grab her handlebars as she rode by.
“They didn’t say anything. They thought it was funny. I was scared,” Knox said.
Things got worse on Monday.
“Cycling through as I came under the bridge, there was a man that was exposing himself and then tried to urinate on cyclists down below,” Knox said.
Other cyclists are concerned too.
“It is imperative that the city maintain these a little better,” Dee Burton said.
“It’s probably not the safest way,” said Hannah Miltenberger.
Cyclists said part of the reason the area is so concerning is that they are going around a blind corner, and they are not sure what they are going to run into.
“I just always keep on going. I try not to stop or anything,” Miltenberger said.
Albuquerque Police said they worked there over the summer to connect the homeless with services.
“It is a huge public safety concern for us,” said Celina Espinoza, an APD spokesperson.
APD said it will also look into working with other city departments on long-term solutions.
“We want everybody to feel safe especially on those trails,” Espinoza said.
Knox wants the area blocked off to campers.
“I feel for these people. They don’t have a home. It’s an issue for our city, but again I want to be safe when I ride my bike here,” Knox said.
After KRQE talked to APD on Tuesday, they checked it out. They said they found four people camping under the overpass and asked them to move out.
Police said they will be keeping an eye on the area.