Rest Stop Closures Continue, Continue to Be Unpopular

The steady disappearance of roadside rest stops-a sad chapter in American car culture I chronicled for GOOD last summer-now has would-be bathroom breakers up in arms in Arizona. According to The New York Times, Arizona shuttered 13 of its 18 highway rest stops last fall amid the kind of dire budget crunches that have targeted state-run pit stops in every part of the country since the recession began.Arizona politicians, though, are discovering that if nothing else unites us these days, at least this motto does: save our toilets! State representative Daniel Patterson has proposed a bill that would allow local governments and private organizations to pay to re-open some of the stops."This bill may have the broadest support among members of any bill this year," Patterson tells the Times.New Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, meanwhile, has vowed to reverse one of the biggest closure sprees in the country. Virginia's 19 barricaded stops are all set to open again by April 15. As an indication of the urgency of the problem (or the political popularity of the solution), McDonnell announced the good news just four days after he was inaugurated in January.Photo by Joshua Lott for The New York Times.