DC moves to make more 24-hour restrooms available to the public

Two 24-hour, stand-alone, public restrooms will be going into still undetermined high-traffic D.C. neighborhoods, where facilities are lacking.

“There’ll be a whole process for site selection,” Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau said. “It’ll involve community input and will take into consideration the needs and also any concerns people have about where they’re sited.”

Money to begin implementing the Public Restroom Facilities Installation and Promotion Act, approved by the D.C. Council, will be made available when Fiscal Year 2020 begins in the fall.

In addition, Nadeau’s bill offers businesses incentives to make existing restrooms more available to the public.

“That does even the playing field, so that the restrooms are open to all and not just a select few, or not just customers,” she said.

According to Nadeau, facilities already in use elsewhere show that bathrooms don’t have to be under constant supervision to offer safe and clean relief.

“There are a number of different models that we’ve looked at across the country that have either self-cleaning restrooms or very easy to clean restrooms. Some of them have a timer; if you’re in there too long, the door’s going to open on you. Some of them flush and water sprays around the whole thing,” Nadeau said. “There are some good options out there … that will allow these restrooms to be safe, clean and available to all.”

The Department of General Services will be in charge of identifying sites for the bathrooms. The Department of Small and Local Business Development will be responsible for the incentive program.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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