Politics & Policy

New York Bureaucracy Clogs Bloomberg-Era Toilet Installations

Only three of the former mayor's planned public johns have been built.

New York City bureaucracy is preventing former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s toilet-construction project from going ahead. Only three out of 20 toilets Bloomberg approved in 2006 have been built throughout the five boroughs.

Bloomberg’s potty project promised some major relief in a city of long and often tense bathroom lines. Three successive mayors, including can-do hizzoners Ed Koch and Rudolph Giuliani, failed in their efforts to update public amenities such as bus shelters, newsstands, and public toilets.

In 2006, after court challenges to the bidding process, Bloomberg secured the necessary contracts.

The planned 355 bus shelters and 304 newsstands are built, but Bloomberg crapped out in his bet on public pitstops. At the rate these toilets are being built, the final one should be available by 2065.

Madison Square Park and Corona, Queens got the first toilets in 2008. The third was installed at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza in 2011.

“The [New York City Department of Transportation] reviews sites based on a mix of community board and elected official suggestions, proposals from the existing maintenance partners for the plaza locations, and recommendations from local residents,” department spokesman Nicholas Mosquera told the New York Times.

Each toilet can cost up to $500,000 to install and cost $40,000 a year to maintain.

— Joshua Encinias is an Agostinelli Fellow at National Review.

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