New Yorkers “are lucky”: the city will expand access to bathrooms

YoIf you’ve ever had a hard time finding a public bathroom in New York City, “Ur In Luck.” Mayor Eric Adams just announced that the city is embarking on a new effort to expand access to public restrooms across all five boroughs.

Adams released the project, called “Ur In Luck,” on Monday. Over the next five years, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) will build 46 new restrooms and renovate 36 existing ones, according to the city’s press release.

“Part of making New York City a more livable city is addressing the little things, the things we don’t think about until we need them,” Adams said in the news release. “Access to public bathrooms is high on that list, maybe even number one or two.”

The city currently has almost 1,000 toilets serving its population of approximately 8 million people. Research indicates that people’s quality of life and well-being improves when high-quality toilets are accessible and helps reduce health risks such as defecation and urination in public.

Of the 82 new or renovated bathrooms, 10 will be located in the Bronx, 23 in Brooklyn, 28 in Manhattan, 14 in Queens and seven in Staten Island. The 36 bathrooms that will be renovated will have additional stalls, accessibility improvements and energy-efficient features, according to the news release.

“You need a bath, you’re in luck!” Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi said in the press release. “Everyone, seniors, parents with children, anyone who enjoys the day outdoors, needs access to a public bathroom without having to buy anything or beg for a code. Public bathrooms are critical infrastructure for New York City, where people are always out and about. “We are making New York City a little easier and more livable, one public bathroom at a time.”

Read more: Why bathroom access is a public health problem

The city introduced a new Google Maps layer for people to use on their phones to find the location of all public toilets operated by civic agencies and institutions throughout the city. The Google Maps layer will be updated every two years, according to the press release.

The city is also creating a joint task force to help locate and expedite approval of 14 new high-tech self-cleaning automatic public toilets on city sidewalks and plazas, in collaboration with the City Department of Transportation’s Coordinated Street Furniture from New York. franchisee JCDecaux, according to the press release.

NYC Parks has already opened seven new public restrooms in the last five months at the following locations: Bronx Point/Mill Pond Park and Starlight Park in the Bronx, Frederick Johnson Playground and Highbridge Park Adventure Playground in Manhattan, Maspeth Park in Queens and Lopez. Playground in Staten Island.

Previously, New York City Parks finished adding new changing tables to all public restrooms in city parks wherever possible, a goal the department touted as completed more than three years ahead of schedule, according to the press release.

“I learned through my Got2Go community that the lack of public bathrooms in New York City is not only a quality of life and public health issue, but it is an equity crisis,” said Teddy Siegel, Founder of Got2GoNYC, a TikTok account that helps New Yorkers. find free and accessible bathrooms, the press release notes. “The city’s action to address this pressing issue is a huge step and will improve the lives of all New Yorkers and tourists!”

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