New city bill proposal encourages commuters to switch from motor vehicles to bikes

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A new proposal before the Honolulu City Council aims to encourage people to leave their cars at home and bike to work instead. The ordinance would require special amenities for employees in certain buildings as an incentive.

If the bill is passed, showers and lockers at the workplace could become the norm in Oahu office buildings.

Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga’s bill hopes it will inspire commuters to switch from a gas pedal to a bike pedal. Here’s how it would work:

  • Any new or converted office buildings would be required to provide shower facilities to employees who get to work by means other than a motor vehicle.
  • The requirement would only apply to buildings with a floor area of at least 40,000 square feet.
  • There must be separate facilities for men and women and no less than four shower heads in each area.

Daniel Alexander with the Hawaii Bicycling League says he’s supports the bill. “I bike-commute to work all the time and I know quite a few people that do. To be honest, I think the majority (of riders) don’t have showers available to them, so some use kind of a slow commute approach.”

If the bill passes, buildings won’t get an occupancy permit until they meet the shower facility requirements.

“It points out bicycles, but certainly for other active modes (of commuting) like walking or running. There are similar sweat issues there. Anything where you’re physically moving, this would be a beneficial thing to have showers at workplaces,” Alexander said.

He added that the idea could be beneficial for employers as well. “You can drive down their healthcare costs if they’re more physically active. It does things like even fewer sick days when you have healthier staff.”

Fukunaga’s bill is on the council’s agenda for Wednesday at 10 a.m. We’ll let you know about its progress through the City Council.

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