City The City Finally Figures Out What the Rest of Us Already Know:
posted by March 24 at 11:45 AMon
Automatic Public Toilets (APT) are gross and should go away.
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has released their study on the problems with the City’s five APT’s—in the Victor Steinbrueck, Hing Hay, Occidental and Waterfront parks, and on Broadway—and are recommending the City remove them to save $4.5 million over the next five years.
Businesses and neighbors hated the dingy, silver toilets, as they were frequently used for drug dealing and prostitution. SPU has recommended the City provide bathroom attendants to businesses who agree to open their facilities to the public.
Now, please enjoy this incredibly educational history of public toilets in Seattle, provided by SPU.
A Brief History of Public Toilets in Seattle
Seattle Public Utilities, March 2008
1895 — City constructs public toilets “to abate existing nuisances” in Capitol Hill.
1907 — City constructs toilets for Pike Place Market.
1909 — City opens what is “believed to be the world’s most luxurious underground toilets” below the pergola in Pioneer Square. The toilets and urinals numbered 47 and after opening were reportedly flushed “5,000 times a day”. Some were pay toilets.
1919 — City declares an “emergency” at the Pike Place Market toilets authorizing additional maintenance and facility renewal.
1920 through at least 1943 — City contracts for “lockdown” of certain toilets to deal with crime and related issues.
after 1945 — City closes the Pioneer Square toilets under the pergola allegedly due to years of abuse and misuse.
1948 — City authorizes bids to install new pay toilets in Belltown and Pike Place Market.
late 1980’s — City faces growing complaints about defecation in the streets and criminal and non-customer use of private restrooms culminating in an outcry for more public toilets in Seattle’s Downtown and urban centers. In response, the City installs 10 portable public toilets (Port-a-Potty) (a total of 14 at the peak).
1994 — City authorizes improvements to the facades of its portable public toilets and to its permanent toilets at the Pioneer Square Fire Station.
2004 — City installs five automated public toilets (APTs) including ones near Pike Place Market, Capitol Hill and Pioneer Square to address public toilet needs.
2004-2005 — City closes its toilets in the Pioneer Square Fire Station and the Aquarium due to misuse and abuse and Freeway Park due to a homicide.
2005-2006 — Seattle’s APTs became a focal point of concern as local merchants to homeless advocacy groups raise issues about illicit activities associated with them and their cost. In response, the City posts a code of conduct, improves lighting, reduces user times and begins a program to “lockdown” its APTs at night and on weekends.
Terlet Photo via Flickr