Restroom needs should not limit people from living their lives as they desire.
A year ago RestroomMap.com was created to identify where accessible restrooms are in public. This interactive map of gender neutral and family restrooms throughout the country is currently online and has over 400 restrooms marked. This year our goal is to turn the Restroom Map into a user-friendly app. We have submitted a grant proposal to the University of Missouri. Our hope is to work with their College of Engineering to create the app. In the meantime, please submit locations of accessible restrooms near you on RestroomMap.com.
Thank you to David Nykodym for creating this map for us!
Accessible restrooms in public places are a basic need. While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990, addresses some requirements for bathrooms, these do not cover all the needs for some individuals. The wide stalls are not always wide enough to easily navigate. It is challenging when a person who needs assistance has a caregiver of the opposite gender, or when a caregiver is a person with a disability. Larger children and adults who need to be changed lack privacy and changing places in regular bathrooms. No one should have to lie on the floor of a public restroom to be changed. We would like to see more family restrooms, as well as universal changing tables, in public places.
A few states have recently passed legislation which require family restrooms and universal changing tables in public places. While we would like to see similar legislation passed in Missouri, we are currently working on local changes in mid-Missouri. We have been writing letters and encouraging new buildings to incorporate truly accessible bathrooms into their plans. We worked with Rep. Martha Stevens to get a family restroom with a universal changing table in the Missouri State Capitol building. We have also been working with churches to help them figure out how to make their restrooms more accessible.
MoDE Foundation has been looking into ways that would require newly built or renovated publicly funded buildings to have a universal changing tables in them. Missouri building codes are dictates at local level, not at the state level. As MoDE Foundation continues to explore this, we are encouraging everyone to advocate for these tables locally
MoDE mother Christina Ingoglia asked Columbia to put a table in their city hall so it would be accessible to all. She asked the same of a local community center. Both said yes! Two years ago, MoDE was successful in getting a family restroom with a universal changing table in the state capitol building. Please consider going to a local public facility in your community and requesting that they make the restroom full accessible. We even have tips for how to do this!