Seattle to dump auto toilets

July 18, 2008 at 12:04 am 1 comment

While Victoria’s plan to install pop-up urinals remains clogged up with problems related to European plumbing and warranty issues, Seattle has given up on its automated toilet experiment and will sell the expensive units on eBay:

New York Times: Seattle to Remove Automated Toilets

The dismal outcome coincides with plans by New York, Los Angeles and Boston, among other cities, to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for expansion this fall in their installation of automated toilets — stand-alone structures with metal doors that open at the press of a button and stay closed for up to 20 minutes. The units clean themselves after each use, disinfecting the seats and power-washing the floors.

Seattle officials say the project here failed because the toilets, which are to close on Aug. 1, were placed in neighborhoods that already had many drug users and transients. Then there was the matter of cost: $1 million apiece over five years, which because of a local ordinance had to be borne entirely by taxpayers instead of advertisers.

It’s odd that it was deemed a failure to place toilets in the area they are needed the most. I think the only workable solution is what Vancouver has–clean, no-frills underground washrooms staffed with attendants. Sure, it’s expensive, but so is selling a white elephant on eBay.

Meanwhile, here in Victoria, City Hall will still continue experimenting with placing portable urinals in various high-traffic locations that are tolerated by business owners.

Entry filed under: social issues.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. portapottyqueen  |  January 16, 2009 at 8:33 am

    I think the portable urinals, which we call Stand Alones, are the way to go not only for every day use, but especially for events!

    Marathon runners are in a hurry and the portable urinals can accomodate 4 users at one time at half the cost of a standard portable toilet rental!

    They have little fanny doors on them (unlike Europe which has no doors) to keep anyone from being offended…

    We rent them to events and they are by far the most cost effect manner in cutting down on tranient problems regardless of what city, state or country you might be talking about. Consider the units cost probably somewhere around $2K or less and add having them pumped daily in high traffic areas: $8400 per year per 4 station urinal… X’s 5 years= $42K. Beats the heck out of $1 Million over 5 yrs wouldn’t you say?

    The Porta Potty Rental Queen
    Portable Toilet Rentals – Southern California


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