Mayor Adams Launches ‘UR In Luck’ To Improve Accessibility Of NYC Public Restrooms

June 3, 2024

New York City Mayor Eric Adams today launched “Ur In Luck,” a new effort to expand New Yorkers’ access to public restrooms across all five boroughs, including in Flushing.

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 restrooms, adding to New York City’s nearly 1,000 existing public restrooms. Once all the restrooms are complete, 10 are slated to be placed in the Bronx, 23 in Brooklyn, 28 in Manhattan, 14 in Queens, and seven on Staten Island. The 36 existing restrooms being renovated will receive improvements ranging from additional stalls to accessibility upgrades, as well as energy efficient features. At the same time, the city is making wayfinding to the city’s public restrooms better in time for summer by introducing a new Google Maps layer that New Yorkers can activate on their phones to easily find the locations of every public restroom operated by a wide-range of agencies and civic institutions citywide.

“… over the next five years will make it easier for New Yorkers …”

“Part of making New York City a more livable city is tackling the little things — the things we don’t think about until we need them,” said Mayor Adams. “Access to public restrooms is high on that list, maybe even number one or two. We’ve already added changing tables to all NYC Parks public restrooms where it’s feasible — three years ahead of schedule. The new and renovated bathrooms we’ll deliver over the next five years will make it easier for New Yorkers to embrace the best parts of this city: our shared outdoors spaces. And our new Google Maps layer will make it easier to find relief when you’ve got to go. ‘Ur in’ luck, New York.”

“Need a bathroom, ‘ur in’ luck!” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “Everyone — seniors, parents with kids, anyone enjoying 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’re making New York City a little easier and more livable, one public restroom at a time.”  

“New Yorkers deserve accessible, well-maintained public restrooms — and we’re delivering. NYC Parks is leading the way with innovative initiatives and partnerships to build these vital public resources more quickly and efficiently,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “By creatively bringing new and improved bathrooms to New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs, we’re ensuring that visitors to our parks can access the amenities they need, when they need them. We’re grateful to the Adams administration for this innovative map and their vital investment in restroom access, just the latest step in our shared work of making New York City even more green, livable, and equitable for all.”

“The Adams administration is reimagining our streets through the creation of more public plazas than ever before, and expanding access to public restrooms makes these spaces more welcoming and creates a more hospitable environment for everyone that lives, works, and visits New York City,” said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “We’re excited to participate in this new task force to site 14 new automatic public toilets as part of this broader effort to improve restroom access.”

“From ‘privately-owned public spaces’ to parks, bathrooms are an important part of New York’s public spaces, and this increased access will help New Yorkers across the city when nature calls,” said New York City Department of City Planning Director and City Planning Commission Chair Dan Garodnick. “‘Privately-owned public spaces’ continue to provide high-quality amenities and access to public restrooms, and they are a key part of our planning work to ensure New Yorkers can enjoy public space in some of the densest areas of the city.”

“As a mom of three kids, I understand all too well the struggles of trying to find an open public restroom in New York City. When kids gotta go, they gotta go,” said Chief Public Realm Officer Ya-Ting Liu. “Investing in new restrooms and in public information so that New Yorkers are able to quickly find them is one of the many ways this administration is making the public realm better for people who live, work, and travel in New York City.”

The Google Maps layer — which will be updated biannually— will include restrooms operated by NYC Parks, DOT, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the city’s ‘privately-owned public spaces,’ and all three of the city’s library systems — the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, and the Queens Public Library. The city has also created a series of advertisements, available online, which will run on LinkNYC kiosks and on Taxi TVs from June through September and help guide New Yorkers on how to access this resource. Data on the city’s public restrooms will be available on Open Data to enable the public to build their own tools leveraging this data and to conduct analysis around the city’s public restrooms, using one consistent, reliable, and updated data set of the city’s restrooms.

“… 14 new high-tech, self-cleaning automatic public toilets …”

Finally, the city is establishing a joint taskforce — which will bring city departments together under the leadership of Chief Public Realm Officer Liu — to assist in siting and fast-tracking approvals for 14 new high-tech, self-cleaning automatic public toilets on city sidewalks and plazas in collaboration with DOT’s Coordinated Street Furniture franchisee JCDecaux.

Last month, NYC Parks completed its expansion of new baby changing tables to all public restrooms in city parks, where feasible — more than three years ahead of schedule. NYC Parks has opened seven new restrooms to the public in the past five months at:

  • Bronx Point/Mill Pond Park, Bronx
  • Starlight Park, Bronx
  • Wyckoff House Park, Brooklyn
  • Frederick Johnson Playground, Manhattan
  • Highbridge Park Adventure Playground, Manhattan
  • Maspeth Park, Queens
  • Lopez Playground, Staten Island

 “Today we launch a historic initiative to provide clean, accessible public restrooms to all New Yorkers,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “We will build or renovate over 80 public restrooms across all five boroughs, making them accessible, inviting, and energy efficient. We are also adding changing tables wherever feasible, providing a vital resource to parents. Best of all, New Yorkers will now be able to locate their nearest restroom in Google Maps. Taken together, this initiative will ensure every New Yorker of every ability always has relief in sight.”

“Every New Yorker knows the importance of a clean, accessible public bathroom. Ensuring access to more public bathrooms citywide makes for more equitable, healthier, and livable communities for all of us,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “I have been proud to partner with the mayor, council and other city partners to pursue strategies to expand access to public bathrooms, including building and installing new bathrooms, reopening bathrooms, and ensuring every New Yorker knows where there is an accessible public bathroom near them. The mayor’s announcement today is an exciting step forward in this work and I’m looking forward to working closely with city partners to ensure more public bathrooms are available throughout New York City.”

“As a strong advocate for increasing access to public restrooms, I am thrilled to support Mayor Adams’ ‘Ur In Luck’ initiative,” said New York City Councilmember Rita Joseph. “This effort, which will see the construction of 46 new restrooms and the renovation of 36 existing ones over the next five years, is a crucial step toward making New York City more inclusive and accessible. Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and I have long championed this cause through our legislation aimed at expanding restroom access. The planned improvements, including additional stalls, accessibility upgrades, and energy-efficient features, will significantly enhance the quality of life for all New Yorkers. Additionally, the new Google Maps layer will make it easier for everyone to find public restrooms, just in time for summer. Together, we are making our city a better place for all its residents and visitors.”

“We are proud to support this initiative which reflects the city’s commitment to providing accessible and inclusive public spaces and will allow both New Yorkers and visitors to navigate the city with ease,” said Linda E. Johnson, president and CEO, Brooklyn Public Library. “Libraries are not only places for books; they are centers of our communities, providing amenities for all New Yorkers — including restrooms, Wi-Fi, charging stations, and much more.”

“Libraries are essential public spaces and believe in supporting New Yorkers in every way we can,” said Anthony W. Marx, president, The New York Public Library. “Thank you, Mayor Adams and your administration, for bringing a 21st century solution to a classic New York City conundrum.”

“Libraries are here for everyone …”

“Libraries are here for everyone, and we applaud the mayor for providing people an efficient way to find our locations to meet their needs,” said Dennis M. Walcott, president and CEO, Queens Public Library “We look forward to welcoming even more people to take advantage of our restrooms as well as our many other free resources, including Wi-Fi, books, magazines, programs, safe spaces, and so much more.” 

“I have learned through my Got2Go community that New York City’s lack of public restrooms is not only a quality of life and public health issue, but it is an equity crisis,” said Teddy Siegel, founder, Got2GoNYC. “The city’s action to tackle this pressing issue is a huge step and will improve the lives of all New Yorkers and tourists!”

“… easy to find and abundant so all New Yorkers can enjoy …”

“Let New Yorkers go! There are far too few public restrooms in the city right now and the ones we have aren’t easy to find. More bathrooms, and a convenient map, will make our public realm more accessible for everyone,” said the Alliance for Public Space Leadership. “Public bathrooms are essential to a well-managed and welcoming public realm; they allow New Yorkers to use public space more often and for longer. No one should have to end a fun picnic with a panicked hunt for a public restroom, or collect behind-the-scenes knowledge about secret public toilets in every corner of the city. These facilities should be easy to find and abundant so all New Yorkers can enjoy public space with peace of mind. On behalf of the Alliance for Public Space Leadership, committed to improving the state of the public realm for all New Yorkers, we support the administration’s efforts to think holistically about public space and provide critical infrastructure for communities across all five boroughs.”

Photo credit: Bryant Park, Wiki.

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