D.C. Council member Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2) has introduced a bill that would substantially increase the availability of public restrooms in the city.
The bill — Expanding Access to Public Restrooms Act of 2023 — provides grant funding to facilitate the provision and maintenance of public bathrooms and requires that all new and dramatically renovated parks that are one acre or more in size have a facility of that type.
The legislation builds a previous Pinto bill that gives those with qualifying medical conditions the right to use a public or employee toilet facility at stores.
Pinto said the rationale for the bill is that public restrooms are difficult to access in the city and contribute to public urination and defecation that could lead to serious public health issues.
“Access to safe and clean bathrooms is a basic necessity and it is past time we take action to address the scarcity of public bathrooms across the District,” Pinto said in a statement. “This legislation will provide dignity to people experiencing homelessness, pregnant people, people with medical conditions, and young children who rely most consistently on access to restrooms. By expanding public restroom access, the District will be a safer, more welcoming, and inclusive place for all residents and visitors.”
The bill was co-introduced by Council members Robert White (D-At Large), Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1), Matthew Frumin (D-Ward 3), Janeese Lewis George (D-Ward 4), Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) and Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7).