Mayoral candidate Scott Stringer proposed an increase to the Park’s Department’s operating budget to ensure that every park and playground has a clean bathroom and changing station by 2029 at Bellevue South Park Wednesday.
The proposal would also ensure adequate gender-neutral facilities and rightsize the proportion of gender-specific bathrooms for women in an attempt to reduce wait times. The goal is to equalize access across all genders.
“If we want vibrant neighborhoods where working families can thrive, we need to invest in our parks and playgrounds and ensure they’re accessible to all. Every park in all five boroughs should be family-friendly—and that means they should have a clean, usable bathroom with a changing station,” said Stringer in a statement.
Stringer recently proposed building 200 new playgrounds. All of those newly built playgrounds would include a bathroom and changing station. He also wants to add additional bathrooms to larger parks.
According to Stringer, only 40 percent of the 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities in the city include a comfort station and only 27 percent have changing tables. The hopes are to make parks more family-friendly and to increase accessibility.
The Parks Department faced budget cuts last year, losing 14% of its budget due to the pandemic. Stringer’s plan would bring the Parks department budget to 1 percent of the City’s overall budget.
Part of Stringer’s proposal is to create a public map of park amenities. The Parks Department would conduct a full audit of its neighborhood parks and survey residents to reflect local needs. The NYC Parks map and app would denote which facilities have public restrooms.
“These public spaces are critical resources that bring neighbors together and anchor our communities. When I’m mayor, New Yorkers won’t have to cut the fun short,” said Stringer.