Law 22-280, Public Restroom Facilities Installation and Promotion Act of 2018, directs the DC government to implement two restroom pilots.
- Purchase, install and maintain two standalone public restrooms available 24/7 in two areas in DC.
- Through the Community Restroom Incentives program, select one Business Investment District (BID), charged with identifying business and providing incentives to make their restrooms available to the public.
If they prove to be successful, DC will allocate funds to continue them in future years.
This pilot, to be conducted by the Department of General Services, DGS:
- Directs the DC government to establish a Working Group to explore solutions to the lack of public restrooms in downtown DC.
- Establishes a Working Group to consist of DC Water, DPW, DDOT, DGS, DPR, DOH & DHS, MPD, DMPED and five non-governmental representatives: two from DC nonprofits that address homeless issues, one non-profit with a focus on issues affecting seniors, one nonprofit with a focus on public health, and one individual with expertise in urban planning. The Working Group is charged with recommending a pilot program to install and maintain two stand-alone public restrooms open 24/7 in high need locations in the District (providing opportunities, once the sites are selected, for public comment with the ANC in the area where the restroom is to be installed to vote on its installation).
- Requires that within first 45 days, the Mayor is to go out BIDs, ANCs, and other community organizations requesting that they submit information on areas within their jurisdictions where they consider that there is a need for public restrooms.
- Requires that within first 180 days, the mayor name the Working Group tasked with proposing the number and type of public restroom facilities, if any, that would best serve the District’s needs.
- Charges the MPD with collecting information on police reports at/near the restrooms and the nature of the reports.
- Stipulates that at the end of the first year, the Mayor shall report to the Council on the actual annual costs of installing, maintaining, policing, and repairing the public restroom facilities.
- Stipulates MPD monitoring information and report to be used to decide whether to continue and/or expand this pilot program.
The Incentives Pilot is to be administered and enforced by the Mayor through the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), will provide funding, pursuant to rules issued by the Mayor, to participants that make their restrooms available free of charge to any person, regardless of whether the person patronizes the place of public accommodation.
Within one year after the applicability date of this act, the Mayor shall select one BID as the location to administer the Pilot Program. To participate in the Pilot Program, a place of public accommodation within the BID may apply pursuant to rules issued by the Mayor. A BID shall be ineligible to participate in the Pilot Program if one of the sites recommended falls within its geographic boundary of one of the standalone public restroom pilot locations.
The Mayor shall create and distribute a sign to each participant that indicates that any person may use the place of public accommodation’s restroom facilities free of charge, regardless of whether the person patronizes the place of public accommodation. Within 30 days after receiving a sign each participant shall display the sign in a prominent location that is visible from the street or sidewalk. A participant that fails to comply with within 30 days after receiving a warning shall:
- Be deemed ineligible to participate in the Pilot Program during the following fiscal year; and
- Return a portion of the funds received under the Pilot Program, as determined by rules issued by the Mayor.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to:
- Require a participant to change its hours of operation or permit individuals to use its restroom facilities outside of its stated hours of operation; or
- Preclude a participant from denying entry to an individual who is violating District law, posing a health risk, or posing a threat of harm to themselves or others.
The Mayor shall maintain a list of participants in the Pilot Program on the District website.
The law charges the MPD, two years after the applicability of this act, with collecting information on police reports at/near the restrooms and the nature of the reports. Within two years of the applicability of this act, the Mayor shall report to the Council on the actual annual costs of installing, maintaining, policing, and repairing the public restroom facilities. Within 180 days after the applicability date of this act, the Mayor shall issue rules to implement the provisions of this section.
Standalone Public Restroom Pilot
On April 23,2021, the Mayor sent its Report on the Sites with Frequent Incidents of Public Defecation and Urination to the DC Council.
On June 17, 2021, the Working Group named by the Mayor, and to be administered by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, held its first meeting. The Working Group is charged with sending a report to the Mayor recommending the standalone public restroom model and two locations for its installation.
- The Working Group is composed of representatives from DC Water, DPW, DDOT, DGS, DPR, DOH & DHS, MPD, DMPED.
- Private sector representatives include: Miriam’s Kitchen and Community Connections (representing DC’s homeless population), Iona Senior Services (representing DC’s seniors), Unity Health Care (representing the health sector, and the Downtown DC BID (specialist in Urban Planning.
Community Restroom Incentives Pilot
The Working Group completed its report to the Mayor where it is currently under review.
On December31, 2021, the DC Department of Small & Local Business Development (DSLBD) issued Proposed Rulemaking for the Community Restroom Incentives Pilot providing the public 30 days to review the document and send comments to DSLBD