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Welcome to our blog. Want to know what is on the minds behind the American Restroom Association? This is the place. We’re looking forward to sharing our thoughts and concerns, and to continuing to advocate for availability and accessibility of clean, safe, well-designed public restrooms.
We are the ARA!
Have you seen our new 35-second introduction video called “We are the ARA”? It is posted right on our home page. Click over there and check it out. Go ahead, it’s okay. We’ll wait . . .
Pretty good, no? But what’s the point? There are three main points:
3 Main Points
- The American Restroom Association is made up of just regular people. We are human beings – moms and dads, grandparents and grandkids, partners and spouses. We are people who need to use the bathroom when they are out in public. And, we are people who might need to provide care and assistance in a public restroom to someone else.
- We are also independent and diverse experts in various fields that touch on the physical, structural, and social understanding and impacts of the availability (or lack of availability) of public restrooms: architects, social workers, educators, restroom builders, community advocates, and more. We are not beholden to any industry manufacturers or suppliers.
- The American Restroom Association is a collaborative support system for myriad restroom advocates and organizations across the country. We believe that our collective power can drive a “toilet transformation” here and around the world. Won’t you join us in our quest for safe, available, and well-designed public restrooms?
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Here is it! This Memorial Day weekend marks the start of summer. Americans will be taking to the road in waves not seen in nearly two years. You’ll be at rest stops, you’ll be at resorts and vacation spots, you’ll be at parks and beaches. What we want to know is: Are America’s Public Restrooms open? What condition are they in? So, head over to your favorite social sites – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and Pinterest and show us **discreetly** the good, the bad, and the ugly of restrooms in the USA. Use the hashtag: #OpenUP_ARA. Feeling old school? email@example.com works, too!
It must have been on live TV, perhaps a sporting event, when I saw it. I’m one of those people who will do anything to avoid watching commercials. The fact that I was actually watching a commercial is noteworthy. But the deep and measured buttery baritone voice-over grabbed me right away: “Dignity . . . this thing you can neither see nor measure, but that demands the return of small moments in attempts to steal.”
The American Restroom Association is very gratified to be closely connected to the Washington, DC area efforts of the People for Fairness Coalition (PFFC) and their Downtown DC Public Restroom Initiative. PFFC Advisor Marcia Bernbaum and volunteers have been working tirelessly to see two public restrooms installed in areas of desperate need in our nation’s capital. It is heartening to see their progress, but also frustrating to witness how exasperating the effort is. As you can read below, the initial introduction date of the legislation was Spring 2017(!). Marcia provided the following update:
My new friend, Marcia Bernbaum, Mentor and Advisor to the People for Fairness Coalition (PFFC) in Washington, D.C., rang me up.
“Where is it?” she asked.
“Where’s what?” I replied.
“You know. The list.”
“The list?” I started to get concerned.
“THE LIST the ARA published in 2015 that catalogs the long, long rolls of the restroom challenged. It’s been a great resource for us. It has really helped us make our case for more public restrooms in our nation’s capital.”
Now with a push from many states, and an increase in teacher vaccinations, schools are truly re-opening. At last! But let’s rewind the clock a tick. Early July 2020 was a hopeful time. As Americans, we were planning for a return to some normalcy in the Fall, and for school re-openings. But that was before the summer bump in cases appeared, and before a devastating Fall and Winter. The majority of schools – especially public schools – remained closed. In July 2020, Dr. Tom Keating of Project CLEAN and the American Restroom Association ARA) released a brief article titled, “Ten Things to do NOW to get your School Ready for Students in a COVID-19 World.” Those same 10 things hold true today.
Early on in the pandemic, news outlets were flush with stories about the concerns surrounding public restrooms. People were worried that IF they went out, they’d have no place to go. Even in the best of recent times, public restrooms in the US were dismal or just plain non-existent. ARA President and Co-founder, Steve Soifer, calls them “the laughingstock of the developed world.”
This story is about the disparity of the availability of public restrooms as traditionally defined as “men’s” and “women’s” restrooms. (Again, gender-neutral and family/caregiver restrooms is a story for another day, as well.) When venues are built, builders typically do two things. First, they farm the design of the restrooms off to the newest and least experienced architects. Second, they tell the architects to do the minimum that the code requires. Building codes have for decades specified equal distribution of toilet facilities.
“Can an establishment deny me access to their restrooms?” This ranks as probably the number one most asked question to the American Restroom Association. The answer unfortunately is “yes,””no,” and “maybe.” We’ve provided some links in the copy below for your information.
MEDIA: Let us connect you with the best expert to support your news and media projects.
INVENTORS, MANUFACTURERS, SUPPLIERS, & SERVICE PROVIDERS: We want to hear your stories about how you are leading change in restroom design and maintenance!