21 July 2014

Potty Parity: No Joke

A letter to the Connecticut Department of Transportation:


The newly designed rest areas on the Merritt Parkway are an improvement on the old ones in several ways. But  every time I stop at one, there's a huge line at the women's restroom (and no line, ever, at the men's.)  Finally, yesterday, while I was waiting in the long line for the women's restroom with my son who had already finished his business, I asked him to go back in and count.

Two stalls, two urinals.

In the women's bathroom? Two stalls, full stop.

This raises several questions.

What were your architects thinking?  Why not provide at least as many options for relief in the women's bathroom as in the men's? Or make several individual, unisex stalls, with sinks outside?  

Why design a series of new facilities that create lengthy wait times for women (and their male family members traveling with them)? Why not create facilities that enable equal wait times, knowing social constructions of restroom activities require more time for women?

(No, it's not simply biological difference.)

How much time is lost by women waiting in these lines, in the aggregate? Would anyone think to calculate lost productivity?

Please consider redesigning the remaining new facilities, and retro-fitting those already constructed to eliminate this disparity. Thank you.


If you use the Merritt Parkway, and you're so inclined, you could submit your own comments on the situation here.