Bill would require office buildings to offer shower facilities for biking workers

Bill would require office buildings to offer shower facilities for biking workers
Updated: Nov. 3, 2016 at 4:59 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city wants rail riders to bring along their bicycles to get from the train to the office. Bicyclists said if that's the case, they'll need a place to freshen up.

And Honolulu City Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga thinks she's got a solution: She wants the city to require that office buildings in transit zones have shower facilities.

"As we get closer and closer to looking at ways to shift to a multi-modal transportation system, it just makes sense," she said.

Under her bill, new and reconstructed office buildings that are 40,000 square feet or larger would be required to have shower facilities for men and women similar to buildings in bike-friendly cities on the mainland.

Daniel Alexander, of the Hawaii Bicycling League, said shower facilities could make the idea of biking to work more realistic for more people.

"When people think about biking to work there's a lot of things they think about. They think, 'Am I going to have a safe route? Am I going to be sweaty when I get there?' if you can provide that shower that deals with one of those pieces," he said.

The Building Industry Association of Hawaii opposes the concept, however, saying it should be up to building owners to decide whether to install showers as an amenity for tenants.

"If you're devoting space to showers then you're not devoting it to some other revenue producer. You can't rent it out to someone else. Then you get into who's paying for those showers and who's paying for the water?" BIA President Craig Washofsky said.

Fukunaga believes buildings that have showers would attract tenants. "Offering facilities that have showers and other kinds of amenities actually enhances the value of your property," she said.

So what do bike riders think about the idea?

"It's a good incentive for people to get out and commute to work other than being in a car all day," bicyclist Andres Tobar said.

Under the bill, buildings that don't comply would have their certificates of occupancy withheld. Mayor Kirk Caldwell's administration is reviewing the measure.

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