Stand-alone public restrooms coming to downtown SA

Councilman Trevino backs Portland-inspired public restroom

SAN ANTONIO – People walking in some parts of downtown San Antonio may find that there is nowhere to go to the restroom.

It's an issue not only for residents and tourists, but for city's homeless population.

Geronimo has been homeless for three months and along with the challenges of not having anywhere to stay, he said there's really nowhere for him to go.

"They get mad at us (for) peeing behind bushes," Geronimo said. "But you can't go in a public restroom because a lot of them say you (have) to buy something to use the restroom."

District 1 Councilman Roberto Trevino said a new type of public restroom would benefit not only the city's homeless, but tourists and residents, as well.

"Most people don't know where public restrooms are located," Trevino said. "We don't have too many. We don't have accessible public restrooms throughout our downtown. We want to change that."

Trevino is just back from a trip to Portland where he saw the Portland Loo, a new stand-alone public restroom installed in that community.

"You walk in and it's essentially an accessible handicapped toilet," Trevino said. "It's very durable, industrial grade."

Trevino said the one-person restroom is easy to maintain, difficult to damage, inexpensive and built in a way to lets police and the public know when there's someone inside.

"When you walk in, it locks," Trevino said. "There's a blue light that comes on and says somebody is actually using this. Of course, you can also tell because the bottom is exposed. It's got ventilation on the bottom and the top. You can see somebody's feet but you can't see anything more than that. The way it's designed, there's not an opportunity for invasion of privacy."

Trevino said the first model to be used in San Antonio is part of a pilot program and will be located somewhere in the downtown area. He said that should happen in the next three months.

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