May 14, 11:58 AM click here to comment > 11
Bringing the Portland Loo to Seattle
Tomorrow night the Alliance for Pioneer Square will hold a public meeting to share details about our work to tackle the challenging issue of public restroom access in our city. There is an ongoing need in many neighborhoods for safe, accessible public restroom facilities. One neighborhood in particular has been active and vocal about the need for this service – Pioneer Square.
To address the need, City departments partnered with the Alliance for Pioneer Square to map current publicly accessible restrooms and identified a big gap in the middle of the neighborhood where the need is greatest. We analyzed several alternatives and concluded the best option was the regionally famous Portland Loo, which is designed specifically for the needs of urban neighborhoods. The west end of the Sinking Ship Garage was identified by neighborhood stakeholders and City staff as the preferred location. Much progress has been made – SDOT traffic has approved the site, Seattle Public Utilities has located water and waste water infrastructure nearby and the Pioneer Square Preservation Board is supportive of the Loo facility and the proposed location. Most importantly, we have identified non-City sources of funding for both installation and maintenance of the facility.
The developer of a proposed building nearby, Urban Visions, has stepped in to provide this facility as the project’s public benefit, in exchange for the ability to build to 130 feet, above the current height limit. We are proposing that the developer acquire, transport and install the facility, transferring ownership to the City once the Loo is operational. The City will lease the Loo to the Alliance for Pioneer Square who will be responsible for operation and maintenance, contracting with a vendor to provide twice daily cleaning.
Through creative thinking and collaboration, we have a plan to bring public restroom access to Pioneer Square as a pilot program. If this effort is successful, this model could be duplicated in other neighborhoods across the city. We anticipate the Loo will be installed in late summer or early fall. Check back on our blog for more as this plan develops.
Posted by: April Thomas