MBP Levine & CM Joseph’s Bill for More Public Bathrooms Crosses the Finish Line in Council

PRESS RELEASE FOR: Thursday, October 27, 2022
Contact:  Reuben A. Torres (BP Levine) // reubentorres@manhattanbp.nyc.gov // 551-287-9805
Sam Weinberger (CM Joseph) // sweinberger@council.nyc.gov // 646-753-2193

***Prerecorded virtual press conference is available on YouTube here and in 4K TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here***

New York – Thursday, the City Council passed Int. 258, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and Council Member Rita Joseph’s bill aimed at combating New York City’s notorious lack of public restrooms.

New York City ranks 93rd out of the 100 largest U.S. cities in public bathrooms per capita. This legislation – which requires the City to publish a report on feasible locations to install a public bathroom in every ZIP code across the five boroughs – is an important first step toward addressing this crisis and ensuring all New Yorkers have access to public restrooms.

“The City’s lack of public restrooms is an issue of equity, public health, sanitation, and basic human rights, and I’m thrilled that the Council agrees,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “There has long been a growing coalition in support of our bill to create at least one new public bathroom in every New York City ZIP code. The lack of public bathrooms is a failure of the government, but this legislation forces the issue of our embarrassing lack of public restrooms onto the City’s agenda.”

“Public restrooms are a necessity, not an option. The passage of Intro 258 marks a critical first step towards ensuring all New Yorkers have access to public restrooms. In a city as great as New York, it’s crucial that all neighborhoods have restrooms that are publicly accessible. Making our city cleaner and more livable is a common-sense issue, and the Council’s resounding approval of our bill shows that public restrooms are needed in every community of our city. Major thanks to Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine for his partnership on this legislation. Borough President Levine has been an outspoken champion on this issue for years, and I’m so grateful to work with him to see public bathrooms installed across the city.” said Council Member Rita Joseph.

A robust coalition came together to support the bill over the last months, including notable influencer Teddy Siegel of Got2GoNYC, who has gained national prominence for her social media advocacy for the increase of public restrooms as an issue of health equity.

“I have learned from my @got2gonyc community that the lack of public bathrooms in NYC is not only a public health issue, but an equity crisis. Already marginalized groups are bearing the brunt of the city’s failures,” said Teddy Siegel, creator of @got2gonyc. “The passing of Intro 258 is a victory for every single New Yorker and tourist! Thank you Council Member Rita Joseph and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine for fighting for our basic human needs.”

Other advocates have included Transportation Alternatives, Open Plans, Inc., the Street Vendor Project, and the Public Restroom Taskforce from Manhattan Community Boards 1, 4, 5, and 6.

The legislation requires the Department of Transportation and the Department of Parks and Recreation to consult with Community Boards and the public about building new bathroom locations. These agencies must submit a report to the Mayor and Speaker of the City Council no later than June 1, 2023 that identifies at least one location in each ZIP code citywide where it is feasible to install a public bathroom. The report must also include information about potential budget, technical, or safety challenges associated with installing and maintaining public bathroom facilities in the locations identified.

Of the limited number of public bathrooms still open, many are inaccessible, unsanitary, and in disrepair. More than 25% of the public restrooms maintained by Parks were in unacceptable condition in nine community districts in 2019. Further, according to Parks’ website, only five of its bathrooms in the Bronx, five in Brooklyn, six in Manhattan, three in Queens, and one in Staten Island are ADA accessible, while 73% do not have changing stations for infants and toddlers.

Press Inquiries

Please direct all press inquiries to press@manhattanbp.nyc.gov.