A pair of politicians have drafted a bill aimed at bringing working public bathrooms to every New York City neighborhood.
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and Brooklyn Councilwoman Rita Joseph on Thursday introduced legislation to address the city’s “notorious lack of public restrooms,” the two elected officials said in a press release.
The legislation would require the city to release a report identifying “feasible” sites for public bathrooms in every ZIP code, the release said.
What You Need To Know
- Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and Brooklyn Councilwoman Rita Joseph have introduced legislation to address the city’s lack of public bathrooms
- The legislation would require the city to release a report identifying "feasible" sites for public restrooms in every New York City ZIP code
- While most New York City ZIP codes currently have at least one public restroom, many of the facilities are “closed indefinitely or are inaccessible,” the politicians said in a release
The city’s Department of Transportation and Department of Parks and Recreation would work with community boards across the five boroughs to pinpoint locations, according to the release.
Those agencies would then compile a report that included budget and logistic details and file it with the mayor and the City Council speaker by June 1, 2023, the release added. The bill would not, however, require the city to construct any bathrooms.
“The city’s lack of public restrooms is an issue of equity, public health, sanitation and basic human rights,” Levine said in a statement. “It’s beyond time for the city to catch up to other modern cities and take steps to ensure that all New Yorkers and tourists have a place to go when nature calls.”
While most New York City ZIP codes currently have at least one public restroom, many of the facilities are “closed indefinitely or are inaccessible,” the release said.
Ninety-two of the 100 largest cities in the U.S. currently have more bathrooms per capita than the five boroughs, according to the release.
The lack of restrooms “disproportionately harms New Yorkers who are unhoused, elderly, disabled, pregnant, menstruating or have other medical conditions,” the release said, adding that it “alarmingly contributes to the spread of contagious diseases including COVID-19 and Hepatitis A.”
In her own statement, Joseph said it was “absolutely crucial that all neighborhoods across our city have public restrooms so that New York City can catch up to its peers.”
“Public restrooms will help people take care of their fundamental needs with dignity while simultaneously keeping our public spaces sanitary,” Joseph added.