Parks Department May Shrink Costly Bathrooms to Save Cash

(THE CITY) Yoav Gonen, November 13, 2019

The Parks Department is looking to curb the cost of constructing new public bathrooms — by making them smaller.

Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver Tuesday said the agency is exploring stand-alone units tested in other cities, such as the Portland Loo and trailer-like bathrooms in Boston.

He also pointed to automatic public toilets like the ones at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn as an option, particularly at playgrounds.

“We haven’t committed to doing any of them … we’re just exploring a cheaper, more inexpensive way of building bathrooms,” Silver told THE CITY after a City Council hearing on parks construction costs.

Earlier this year, THE CITY reported that a comfort station at Ferry Point Park West in The Bronx had run taxpayers nearly $4.7 million, and that a $6 million bathroom was on tap for Staten Island’s Seaside Wildlife Nature Park.

Mayor Bill de Blasio promptly promised to rein in escalating costs after the average tab for a parks restroom tripled from roughly $1.3 million in 2011 to nearly $3.6 million last year.