Austin hopes public toilets will curb public urination

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — It seems public restrooms are getting harder and harder to come by. You know the drill. You have to go, and public restrooms are nowhere in sight. City and community leaders say the situation in downtown Austin has only gotten worse over time- businesses only allowing patrons to use the restroom and late at night, many businesses are closed altogether.

At Wednesday’s Austin’s Health and Human Services Committee, the group discussed ideas surrounding a proposed pilot program to add free, 24-hour public toilets downtown.The locations would still need to be determined, along with funding, design and safety; but the goal is to have strategically located toilets to benefit those enjoying outdoor activities, as well as late night crowds pouring onto the streets when bars close, and the homeless population.

The committee voted 3-1 in favor of sending the resolution to council, with Council Member Ellen Troxclair abstaining. She told KXAN her biggest concerns with public restrooms are cost and safety, the city needs more information.

The resolution directs the city manager to bring together downtown stakeholders, including Front Steps, Caritas, the Salvation Army, the Downtown Austin Alliance, congregations and others offering resources to the homeless, to discuss options surrounding public toilets.

Map of Citation Locations for Human Waste in Public Space

Data Source: City of Austin Municipal Court

App users tap here for the map.

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