Cities Starting to Invest in Portable Bathrooms

Sanitation is basic function of government and some cities are stepping up to make that happen.

With cities wanting to bring tourists and folks who live in or outside the city for events, one thing they are finding a lot of people want is easy access to bathrooms. Well that is happening and the costs are pretty affordable from a sanitation stand point.

Denver is one of several U.S. cities using bathrooms not only to clean up areas rife with public urination and defecation, but also to increase tourism and foot traffic.

Portland, Oregon, has become famous for its Portland Loo, a stand-alone steel bathroom stall that sits on a city sidewalk and, unlike a traditional port-a-potty, connects to public water and sewer. San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle, and a host of smaller cities have experimented with similar bathrooms.

City and planning officials say the bathrooms not only clean up streets because they offer a place for people to relieve themselves during big events and for homeless people to use on a regular basis, but that they also encourage those with health conditions to visit downtown areas because they know a restroom will be available.

On an average summer day about 170 people use the Tremont Place bathroom. Officials say they are receiving fewer complaints about human waste in the surrounding area and that use of the bathroom is split evenly between tourists, downtown workers and homeless people.

Though the bathroom costs more than $100,000 to purchase and install, its metal construction makes it cheap and easy to clean. A nonprofit charges the city $18,600 a year to clean its eight Loos.

In Denver, it costs almost that much — $15,000 — to staff and maintain a portable restroom for one month. Much of that cost goes to paying the attendant.

Read the rest here via Pew Charitable Trusts

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