Thursday, May 26, 2005

Potty parity passes in New York City! 

Today's New York Daily News has news women can use:

It's a go for 'potty parity'
By Frank Lombardi, Daily News City Hall Bureau

There were signs of relief - especially from the ladies - yesterday after the City Council unanimously passed a long-awaited "potty parity" bill.

New buildings and buildings undergoing major renovations will be required to install two toilets for women for every one provided to men.

The current law, enacted in 1984, requires a 1-to-1 ratio. But men can "zoom in and zoom out," while women end up waiting in long lines, noted Councilwoman Madeline Provenzano (D-Bronx), chairwoman of the Housing and Buildings Committee.

"This is a quantum leap into the 21st century," said Councilwoman Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn), chief sponsor and architect of the bill.

The bill approved yesterday is a compromise version of a proposal that would have required virtually all buildings - new and old - with public rest rooms to have two facilities for women for every one designated for men.

In a deal with Mayor Bloomberg, the original potty-parity bill was flushed because of complaints over its potentially huge cost to owners of bars, restaurants and theaters and to publicly owned facilities, such as stadiums.

The bill approved yesterday, 50-to-0 with one absentee, mandates the 2-for-1 rule only for new buildings and existing ones that undergo renovations whose costs exceed 50% of the value of the building. The law could take effect as soon as the fall.

"If there was ever a bill I was afraid to be on the wrong side of, it would be this bill," quipped Councilman Erik Martin-Dilan (D-Brooklyn), whose district is 60% female.

This new ordinance will change the look of building plans, which have long been designed with back-to-back restrooms providing equal numbers of plumbing fixtures for men and woman along a shared plumbing wall. I imagine that there are already NYC architects at work developing layouts that are similarly efficient, but provide the newly required "potty parity." I'm sure the women of NYC will appreciate their efforts.