‘Waterloo’: Downtown public restrooms scheduled to come online in November

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Dubbed the “Waterloo,” a pair of new, stainless steel, solar-paneled public restrooms could be ready for use by Nov. 8, according to the city’s public works department, capping off what will be a nearly four-year project to get the 24-hour access restrooms downtown.

The restrooms will locate at the corner of 4th and Trinity streets and outside the current municipal court at 700 E. Seventh St. A third facility, which is on hold until further funding is available, will get placed in the area of the 500 block of Brazos Street.

The Oregon-based company Madden Fabrication, will design the new single-occupancy restrooms after their Portland Loo public restroom system. The facilities will include solar panels to power the LED lights, angled slats to allow for airflow and provide enough width for wheel chair access all within a stainless steel design to block graffiti and allow for easy cleanup.

A hand washing station will be on the exterior, as a means to keep people from going inside and washing themselves and their clothes in the sink, said Peter Marsh of the Austin Transportation Department, who presented the information to the Downtown Commission on Feb. 20.

Tallying up materials, design and infrastructure expenses, the two units cost a total of $450,000. Marsh said the facilities will be maintained by Downtown Austin Alliance.

The effort to bring public, 24-hour, wheel chair-accessible restrooms to downtown began in Jan. 2016 after Austin City Council directed the city manager to explore what the project would take. Since, one public restroom trailer has rolled around Austin to test demand in different areas. City Council in December approved a $1.3 million contract to bring 10 permanent public restrooms online in the city.

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  1. The math doesn’t seem to work here. City has allocated $1.3M for 10 restrooms. The first two cost $450K, or $225/restroom. At that number, 10 would cost $2.25M, or roughly $1M more than the city has budgeted.

    I love my city council math!

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Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following two years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun and USA Today. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
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