Public Bathrooms

A matter of health and equity, public bathrooms should be all over Manhattan

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 two new laws:

  • Intro 258/Local Law 114 of 2022: this law requires the City to find at least one feasible location for a new bathroom in every ZIP code. The law also requires the City to work with Community Boards and the public about new bathroom locations and submit their report to the Mayor and Speaker of the City Council no later than December 31, 2023 with the identified location in each ZIP code.
  • Intro 576: Requiring the City to inspect and issue a report on the conditions, features and current status of existing public bathrooms, and to make this information readily available on the open data portal and a website run by the City.

And we aren’t done yet — the legislative fight continues!

Alongside our partner Council Member Rita Joseph, we have introduced two additional bills to help create and maintain more public bathrooms in NYC. This includes:

  • Intro 267: Requiring the City to open A.D.A. accessible bathrooms in publicly owned buildings across the City. Bathrooms that are on public property and paid for by taxpayers should be open to the public. Plain and simple.
  • Intro 272: Requiring the City to develop a capital funding plan for the bathrooms that were identified in each zip code

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