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City Council legislation, Intro 0258-2022, on Public Bathroom Study

WHEREAS, The Manhattan Borough President has introduced Bill, Intro 0258. which would require  the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to submit a joint report, identifying at least one location in each New York City zip code suitable for installing a public bathroom; and 

WHEREAS, Community Board Five (CB5) is on record recognizing the need for public bathrooms; and 

WHEREAS, Pre-pandemic there was approximately 662 public bathrooms in the 1,700 parks in NYC;  and 

WHEREAS, Pre-pandemic there were 14 bathrooms in 590 POPS (privately owned public spaces); and 

WHEREAS, There are only approximately 1,100 public bathrooms spread out among the five boroughs and many are non-operational or operated with limited hours; and

WHEREAS, The United Nations standard for refugee camps is one (1) toilet per 20 people; and

WHEREAS, New York City currently provides 1 toilet for every 7,700 New Yorker; and

WHEREAS, Only two of these bathrooms are available 24/7 in Manhattan; and

WHEREAS, Previous sites that DOT has studied over the past 16 years have not been made transparent; and 

WHEREAS, Since 2006 New York City has only installed five out of the twenty Automated Public Toilets (APTs) it purchased as part of the street furniture deal with Cemusa; and 

WHEREAS, Fifteen APTs have been stored in warehouses in Queens for the past 16 years; and 

WHEREAS, Siting the APTis not a budget issue as the toilets would be installed and maintained by JCDecaux, who bought out Cemusa in 2014; and 

WHEREAS, The street furniture deal which covers installation and maintenance for these APTs is set to expire in 2026; and 

WHEREAS, The report requested by this legislation should include siting for these fifteen units before the expiration of the contracts; and

WHEREAS, CB5 has been working with Department of Transportation to site an APT in CB5 since 2020 and no new sites have been identified by DOT; and 

WHEREAS, The siting constraints for APTs, five (5) feet clearance on each side and eight (8) feet in front, seem to be limiting for the width of our sidewalks and should be reconsidered; and 

WHEREAS, Finding locations for public bathrooms in our public sidewalks have been challenging in NYC; and

WHEREAS, The study should consider the costs of full-time attendants for safety; and 

WHEREAS, The study should include feedback from local BIDs such as the Bryant Park Corporation, Times Square Alliance, and the 34th Street Partnership, which all provide full time attendants for their public bathrooms; and

WHEREAS, The study should consider siting bathrooms within the NYC Plaza Program which has added 74 location  since 2019 and has more clearance required than our sidewalks; and 

WHEREAS, The study should consider other sidewalk toilets like the Portland Loo which may not require as much clearance around the unit; and 

WHEREAS, The study should consider off grid units that would not need the five (5) feet clearance underneath the unit; and 

WHEREAS, DOT also suggested locating APTs next to POPS for clearance issues during discussions with CB5 but is not working directly with the Department of City Planning (DCP), the agency needed to site in these areas; and therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five  wholeheartedly supports the legislation to propose a public bathroom site for each zip code and applauds the city council for addressing this need; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, Community Board Five request that:

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