Good Question: Why are restrooms so small in some renovated rest stops on the Thruway

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — If you drive on the thruway, this Good Question about the size of the new rest stop bathrooms probably impacts you.

Terry from Irondequoit wrote to News10NBC saying “I stopped at Indian Castle rest stop eastbound by Little Falls Exit 29A. I was amazed at how small and insufficient it is… The restroom corridor and other areas are so small and cramped it must be a nightmare for anybody in a wheelchair or anybody attempting to assist another restroom user. What were they thinking? Who approved this?  Aren’t there standards for size, restroom capacity, etc.?”

The Indian Castle rest stop that Terry mentioned is one of the first three newly-renovated service areas on the Thruway. I reached out to the New York State Thruway Authority with Terry’s concerns and got this response:

“The first three new service areas that opened in 2022 represent some of the smallest locations. When completed, 17 of the Thruway’s 27 service areas will be nearly triple the size or larger, compared to the first three locations. Many locations will have significantly larger buildings, greater seating capacity, and larger restroom accommodations.”

The popular Pembroke stop, for example, will be 20,000 square feet when it’s completed (it’s scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2023). Click here to see a schedule of all NYS Thruway rest stop reopening dates. (link to: ). The Thruway Authority also says that there are currently nine service area stops closed down for renovation, which means increased traffic and bigger crowds at the ones that are open.

When they were making plans for the Redesign and Redevelopment Project, the Thruway Authority says it used sales and traffic data from the last 10 years to determine different levels of service for each location. The project is currently in phase one, which includes 16 services areas. Phase two includes the remaining 11.

The Thruway Authority says “as the project progresses and more service areas reopen, the number of visitors will redistribute and even out, returning to prior traffic patterns across the system.”

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