Right now, there are only roughly 1,100 public toilets for 8.6 million residents – meaning only one for every 6,000 New Yorkers. We rank 93rd out of the 100 largest U.S. cities in public bathrooms per capita, well behind cities like Columbus, Ohio! While the topic of NYC’s notorious lack of public restrooms sounds like something for the stage of a comedy club, it is actually an issue of equity, public health, sanitation, transportation, and basic human rights. It touches on almost every aspect of social policy in our city. Our lack of public bathrooms is a failure of our government on the most basic level. It shouldn’t be this way. It doesn’t have to be this way. New York City must and can do better.
That’s why we passed legislation that requires the City to release a report identifying feasible sites for public bathrooms in every ZIP code. The Department of Transportation and the Department of Parks and Recreation must consult with Community Boards and the public about building new bathroom locations and submit their report to the Mayor and Speaker of the City Council no later than June 1, 2023 with the identified location in each ZIP code. 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.