Public Restrooms Are An Urban Necessity

Published in The Urbanist

One thing we share as residents of this city is the regular need for a restroom.

Yet this seemingly basic fact of life is something Seattle has struggled for the last century to address. We are not alone in this urban issue, but it is amazing how many conversations we can have and studies we can do without making progress in providing safe and clean facilities across our city.

First, a brief history:

On September 23, 1909, an underground comfort station opened in Pioneer Place Park beneath the Pergola, designed to accommodate 10,000 patrons per day. The final cost of the restroom was $24,505.85 The restroom was praised from many quarters, including the Pacific Builder and Engineer, which stated, “the man of travels will find nowhere in the Eastern hemisphere a sub-surface public comfort station equal in character to that which has recently been completed.” The restroom was closed in the 1950s, though the Pergola remains as a designated national landmark.

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Content credit to The Urbanist