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Cincinnati: Freestanding Public Restrooms

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Cincinnati could test freestanding restroom

Findlay Market could soon be home to Cincinnati's first freestanding public restroom.  And if the test location does well others could be added in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine. 

 

http://www.wvxu.org/post/cincinnati-could-test-freestanding-restroom

 

http://cincinnati.com/blogs/politics/2013/01/07/these-arent-your-everyday-public-potties/

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I'm for this. They could be put up strategically throughout downtown and OTR and help eliminate (or reduce) the smell of stale piss that permeates many alleys down here...

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I'm for it too. Never enough restrooms in/around Findlay Market on a busy weekend day....

 

However, the price is ridiculous. You can buy a nice home in the 'burbs with 3 bathrooms for this amount of money. Why so pricey? Seems like a dealbreaker to me, almost.

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If they are like the Portland ones, the reason they are so expensive is because they are modular and nearly indestructible. If any parts are damaged, they are easily traded out for new ones. Maintenance, from what I've read of the Portland ones, is pretty cheap. I think his $15k for maintenance number is a bit high, really.

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Why not set up the pay-per-use self-cleaning kind?

 

Because a majority of the people who defecate in public prefer to spend their money (what little they have) on other goods and services.

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Why not set up the pay-per-use self-cleaning kind?

 

Because a majority of the people who defecate in public prefer to spend their money (what little they have) on other goods and services.

 

So these will be built mostly to serve homeless people?

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No.  They are for the whole community but yes homeless people will use them too.

 

Imagine you are an out of towner, a suburbanite, or even an international visitor and you are at Findlay Market with no where to use the restroom.  Many of the restaurants and retrofits in the area are not required to/do not have first floor restrooms or even public restrooms. 

Really this is about more than homeless people, its about a welcoming/clean city.

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The maintenance rate is about 10x what you would pay for a house of that value which would have 2 bathrooms, a kitchen & a garage.

We are only looking at spending hundreds of thousands of dollars because we are horrified of seeing people's butts.

People should just go wherever & clean up after themselves. Works with dogs.

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No.  They are for the whole community but yes homeless people will use them too.

 

Imagine you are an out of towner, a suburbanite, or even an international visitor and you are at Findlay Market with no where to use the restroom.  Many of the restaurants and retrofits in the area are not required to/do not have first floor restrooms or even public restrooms. 

Really this is about more than homeless people, its about a welcoming/clean city.

 

There are restrooms at Findlay Market already. If it is about cheaper, cleaner, safer restrooms for visitors, then we should at least consider the pay-per-use kind. If it is about 24 hour restroom access for homeless people, then we should make sure that is the best use for the money. One toilet (that costs $150,000) is not going to be a game-changer for the homeless population.

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Really this is about more than homeless people, its about a welcoming/clean city.

Correct. It's also about being a nice neighborhood that has to deal with the challenge/luxury of attracting large crowds of people (ie Main Street bars/music venues).

 

Amsterdam pissoirs can't cost much overall and would help.

 

4915286-pissoir_Amsterdam.jpg

The pissoir is a great idea that's been bantered about at the neighborhood level (especially around Main/Orchard) for awhile. I think those might have a future in Cincinnati as well.

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^^^ They just have drains, and people come around with trucks and hose them down. From the outside, so it's a quick clean up process.

 

Of course, they don't help for dookie. (Or, notably, for women!) For those, you've gotta go into a business. Businesses are happy to let people off the streets use their facilities, because they all charge 50 cents.

 

I think the not-for-women thing is probably why these won't fly in America. Though the Dutch did invent the "portable penis" disposable funnel, allowing women to use urinals (and presumably pissoirs).

 

Edit: There are also event pissoirs, which are put up on parade routes as well as being standard weekend street furniture in entertainment districts:

 

280px-Mobile_Pissoir_w.jpg

 

Spatially economical, they serve four dudes (or chicks with portable penises, lol) at once.

 

I think they call them piss-crosses.

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Why not set up the pay-per-use self-cleaning kind?

 

They aren't very popular. Even in NYC they were seen as beastly, expensive to buy and maintain, and didnt work very well and usage dropped like crazy.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/11/nyregion/11toilet.html?_r=0

 

Touche! It does sound like the utilitarian Portland Loos are more practical.

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These seem way too expensive, and the $25,000 to ship them from 2000 miles away, when they could just be fabricated on site, is a slap in the face to sustainability.  Why doesn’t the city have a design competition? I’d imagine a single stall public restroom like this could be designed for less than half of what this model cost.

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And on what are you basing this info? Do you have some connection in this industry? The city isn't just pulling this out of thin air. This is what it cost Portland. So based on available information on a prototype that has been successful, I'd trust the city's investigation in to this over your imagination.

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These seem way too expensive, and the $25,000 to ship them from 2000 miles away, when they could just be fabricated on site, is a slap in the face to sustainability.  Why doesn’t the city have a design competition? I’d imagine a single stall public restroom like this could be designed for less than half of what this model cost.

 

I'm guessing this is being used as proof of concept, since they know that it works well in Portland.  Assuming that it works as intended, with no unexpected consequences, they'll probably look into other options before expanding. 

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^ They could have even called it the 'Nati-Loo


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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After reading more about this and digesting the goals of this program, I really think the pricetag is far too high to make this a worthy undertaking. I'm, of course, pro-urban development and want to make our city a comfortable, clean place for people to live/work/play; however, surely there are far less costly alternatives that would achive the same end result: allowing people a clean, safe place to use the restroom. It simply does not need to cost this much. I can't fully support this until I know what the alternatives would be and how much those could cost.

 

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^ please find a cheaper one then. I spent last night googling about this and couldn't find anywhere that had a cheaper better design.  Seattle spent $1 million a piece. New York spent something around $400k a piece.

 

The unit is $66k. The shipping of the assembled unit is $30k (I would guess there is some negotiating to be had here) and the city estimated $20-30k to build out a bump out in a parking space and then then add sewer and water connections.

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And on what are you basing this info? Do you have some connection in this industry? The city isn't just pulling this out of thin air. This is what it cost Portland. So based on available information on a prototype that has been successful, I'd trust the city's investigation in to this over your imagination.

 

I work in the architecture field and have done cost estimating for plenty of public restrooms.  The single stall standalone public restroom that is shown in the picture could be done for a lot cheaper than $130,000.  I think the cost to Portland was somewhere closer to $80,000, but when you add in the shipping, tax, markup, vendor profit, etc. you get to $130,000.  Design it and fabricate it on site and you’d lose a tens of thousands of overhead.  Restrooms aren’t very complex things, even ones that are vandal-resistant.

 

Saying that this is what it cost Portland so we should be fine with it is lazy, especially when Portland is trying to sell it to us at a profit. I don't think the city did much investigation beyond asking Portland for a price.

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I just read the memo online. 25-35k is the city estimate to install it into the ground.

 

And $100k is listed as the cost to buy and ship it. To get something built that is good would take at LEAST $30k in design and modeling.  No one would just make one model. There would be many designs, they'd have to hire some consulting firm, etc. then fabricate tests to choose which design is best, etc.

 

That leaves $60k to have a custom stainless steel, solar powered restroom built as a one off unit for the first time. Also, that would have to be bid out, etc.

 

It wouldn't be cheaper.

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I just read the memo online. 25-35k is the city estimate to install it into the ground.

 

And $100k is listed as the cost to buy and ship it. To get something built that is good would take at LEAST $30k in design and modeling.  No one would just make one model. There would be many designs, they'd have to hire some consulting firm, etc. then fabricate tests to choose which design is best, etc.

 

That leaves $60k to have a custom stainless steel, solar powered restroom built as a one off unit for the first time. Also, that would have to be bid out, etc.

 

It wouldn't be cheaper.

 

Design fees are typically 10-12% of final construction costs, maybe 15% on the high end for this particular project because it's a small, specialized structure.  Realistically, I think the entire project could be done for around $60,000 to $70,000, depending on where exactly it is located, and I really think the city should contact some local professionals instead of taking Portland’s word for it.

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The thing I'm most worried about, is that we provide this facility, and people don't use it. I see people throw trash on the ground while standing right next to a trash can. Just because the city offers a way of dealing with something doesn't mean people use it.

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Yes I am back. What an interesting topic, a $130,000 public toilet.

 

Does the City intend to only install one? Seems this would make a good civic project for UC's DAAP college. Then farm it out to bid by local fabricators, expecting the prototype to be higher cost than future copies, but put that into the bid. Cost of first unit folowed by cost of duplicates depending on quantity over a specific time span.

 

Same for the installation, bid that out also.

 

Certainly we can beat that $130,000 cost. And if we get a local fabricator maybe they can sell it to Columbus, etc. Certainly shouldn't cost $20,000 to truck it to Columbus.

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Back in olden days, guys would walk around in big oversized coats & carry around pots. When somebody needed relief they would give the guy some money & squat on the pot while he held his coat around the person, hiding them from the public.

If we allowed this, we wouldn't have to pay anything. In fact, it would create jobs & increase tax revenue.

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Does the City intend to only install one? Seems this would make a good civic project for UC's DAAP college. Then farm it out to bid by local fabricators, expecting the prototype to be higher cost than future copies, but put that into the bid. Cost of first unit folowed by cost of duplicates depending on quantity over a specific time span.

 

Several models of freestanding public toilets already exist and have proven track records in other cities. Why should DAAP students waste their time re-inventing the wheel? We enrolled at DAAP to broaden our horizons, not to provide free design services on projects that offer very little in the way of educational value.

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Several models of freestanding public toilets already exist and have proven track records in other cities. Why should DAAP students waste their time re-inventing the wheel? We enrolled at DAAP to broaden our horizons, not to provide free design services on projects that offer very little in the way of educational value.

 

To a point I understand your concern, but at the same time, many DAAP projects do reinvent the wheel. In all honesty, reinventing the wheel isn't a bad thing. Sometimes you find a better wheel or some new wheel that no one has thought of before.

 

I know people in Industrial Design at DAAP who are making chairs. Not every project a DAAP student does can be a groundbreaking new discovery. There is plenty of reinventing to be done.

 

Also, I think there is plenty of educational value in designing a new freestanding public restroom. I'm sure even Portland's toilets can be improved upon.

 

I'm not saying students should for sure be doing this work, but it is definitely something that could be considered and not just dismissed.

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Perhaps because you might learn something in the process. But I guess that is not why you are in school?

 

There are plenty more effective ways for me to learn how to be an architect than to design a glorified Port-o-Let, especially when I'm spending tens of thousands of dollars for the opportunity.

 

A typical graduate elective studio for M.Arch. students at DAAP -- one I took last year -- involved helping design a health clinic in rural Tanzania, on a site with no electricity, sanitation, or running water, using materials that could be sourced locally and assembled by locals with very little training in building construction. And then one or two students from our group had the opportunity to spend their co-op on site in Tanzania to help supervise construction. IMO, such a studio has far more educational value than anything offered by this project.

 

Society has far more important design-related challenges to address than to redesign a modular public toilet that can simply be ordered from a catalog. The suggestion to use DAAP students for this particular project seems to have very little to do with any inherent educational value, and more to do with trying to skim a few dollars off the price by using unpaid labor. I'm a firm believer in learning design by taking on real-world projects that have a clear humanitarian focus, but your attitude seems to be more along the lines of, "Wow, this project is too expensive. Let's just get some DAAP kids to design it for free." Such an attitude is demeaning and insulting to the real issues that get addressed within the various DAAP programs, and it's insulting to practicing architects and designers who expect to get fairly compensated for their work.

 

 

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Perhaps because you might learn something in the process. But I guess that is not why you are in school?

 

There are plenty more effective ways for me to learn how to be an architect than to design a glorified Port-o-Let, especially when I'm spending tens of thousands of dollars for the opportunity.

 

A typical graduate elective studio for M.Arch. students at DAAP -- one I took last year -- involved helping design a health clinic in rural Tanzania, on a site with no electricity, sanitation, or running water, using materials that could be sourced locally and assembled by locals with very little training in building construction. And then one or two students from our group had the opportunity to spend their co-op on site in Tanzania to help supervise construction. IMO, such a studio has far more educational value than anything offered by this project.

 

Society has far more important design-related challenges to address than to redesign a modular public toilet that can simply be ordered from a catalog. The suggestion to use DAAP students for this particular project seems to have very little to do with any inherent educational value, and more to do with trying to skim a few dollars off the price by using unpaid labor. I'm a firm believer in learning design by taking on real-world projects that have a clear humanitarian focus, but your attitude seems to be more along the lines of, "Wow, this project is too expensive. Let's just get some DAAP kids to design it for free." Such an attitude is demeaning and insulting to the real issues that get addressed within the various DAAP programs, and it's insulting to practicing architects and designers who expect to get fairly compensated for their work.

 

 

 

+1

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It'll be interesting to see where they choose to put these. I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be using some of the other options presented though. Peeing in public should still feel private enough to not be uncomfortable.

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what a dumb idea and waste of money. There are public restrooms available at Findlay Market, people can use those.

 

Wow... Not really a dumb idea as the public restrooms at Findlay Market are not available 24/7 and are not restrooms, but rather 1 restroom in the Market office. Demand is higher than that facility can accommodate.

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what a dumb idea and waste of money. There are public restrooms available at Findlay Market, people can use those.

 

I have seen the bathrooms there jam packed before on weekends. There is a need to do something, I am glad someone is thinking outside the box to try out what has worked well in Portland.

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Perhaps because you might learn something in the process. But I guess that is not why you are in school?

 

There are plenty more effective ways for me to learn how to be an architect than to design a glorified Port-o-Let, especially when I'm spending tens of thousands of dollars for the opportunity.

 

A typical graduate elective studio for M.Arch. students at DAAP -- one I took last year -- involved helping design a health clinic in rural Tanzania, on a site with no electricity, sanitation, or running water, using materials that could be sourced locally and assembled by locals with very little training in building construction. And then one or two students from our group had the opportunity to spend their co-op on site in Tanzania to help supervise construction. IMO, such a studio has far more educational value than anything offered by this project.

 

Society has far more important design-related challenges to address than to redesign a modular public toilet that can simply be ordered from a catalog. The suggestion to use DAAP students for this particular project seems to have very little to do with any inherent educational value, and more to do with trying to skim a few dollars off the price by using unpaid labor. I'm a firm believer in learning design by taking on real-world projects that have a clear humanitarian focus, but your attitude seems to be more along the lines of, "Wow, this project is too expensive. Let's just get some DAAP kids to design it for free." Such an attitude is demeaning and insulting to the real issues that get addressed within the various DAAP programs, and it's insulting to practicing architects and designers who expect to get fairly compensated for their work.

 

Before you get on your high horse about a public toilet design not being a suitable project for DAAP, perhaps you can back up your statement concerning ordering a public toilet from a catalog, especially for considerably less than $130,000 per copy. I am sure the City of Cincinnati would be interested in hearing from you.

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Perhaps because you might learn something in the process. But I guess that is not why you are in school?

 

There are plenty more effective ways for me to learn how to be an architect than to design a glorified Port-o-Let, especially when I'm spending tens of thousands of dollars for the opportunity.

 

A typical graduate elective studio for M.Arch. students at DAAP -- one I took last year -- involved helping design a health clinic in rural Tanzania, on a site with no electricity, sanitation, or running water, using materials that could be sourced locally and assembled by locals with very little training in building construction. And then one or two students from our group had the opportunity to spend their co-op on site in Tanzania to help supervise construction. IMO, such a studio has far more educational value than anything offered by this project.

 

Society has far more important design-related challenges to address than to redesign a modular public toilet that can simply be ordered from a catalog. The suggestion to use DAAP students for this particular project seems to have very little to do with any inherent educational value, and more to do with trying to skim a few dollars off the price by using unpaid labor. I'm a firm believer in learning design by taking on real-world projects that have a clear humanitarian focus, but your attitude seems to be more along the lines of, "Wow, this project is too expensive. Let's just get some DAAP kids to design it for free." Such an attitude is demeaning and insulting to the real issues that get addressed within the various DAAP programs, and it's insulting to practicing architects and designers who expect to get fairly compensated for their work.

 

 

 

that's really arrogant

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what a dumb idea and waste of money. There are public restrooms available at Findlay Market, people can use those.

 

I have seen the bathrooms there jam packed before on weekends. There is a need to do something, I am glad someone is thinking outside the box to try out what has worked well in Portland.

 

That should be Findlay Market's problem to solve, not the city's. The port authority controls the market. It is their issue.

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what a dumb idea and waste of money. There are public restrooms available at Findlay Market, people can use those.

 

I have seen the bathrooms there jam packed before on weekends. There is a need to do something, I am glad someone is thinking outside the box to try out what has worked well in Portland.

 

That should be Findlay Market's problem to solve, not the city's. The port authority controls the market. It is their issue.

 

Um, no. The city owns the Market. It is operated by the Corporation for Findlay Market (CFFM). The Port Authority is not involved... CFFM leases the Market from the City, and is in charge of managing and operating the Market. The City, however, is still responsible for the physical asset. http://www.findlaymarket.org/market-management/

 

Where are you getting your information?

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Seems this would make a good civic project for UC's DAAP college.

Both Council Member Young and Council Member Quinlivan expressed this exact idea in today's Livable Communities Committee meeting.


"It's just fate, as usual, keeping its bargain and screwing us in the fine print..." - John Crichton

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Seems this would make a good civic project for UC's DAAP college.

Both Council Member Young and Council Member Quinlivan expressed this exact idea in today's Livable Communities Committee meeting.

It would make a good civic project for any private firm in Cincinnati for that matter.

Volunteerism is on the rise but Ohio's no Utah

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20130115/NEWS/301150047/More-us-Just-helping-out-

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