Bring to Orlando: Public restrooms, pee-planters, or pee-proof walls

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Downtown Orlando has two public restrooms and they’re both located at Lake Eola Park. The result of the poor access to public restrooms means when the bars let out at the end of the night, those heavy drinkers have nowhere to relieve themselves – nowhere legal at least. Which is why it’s a common sight to see property management teams hosing off their buildings on a regular basis.

The lack of public restrooms is a problem not only for bargoers and night owls, but it’s also a particular problem for residents experiencing homelessness or even just Downtown visitors who are attending a public event.

The cheeky problem is so pervasive that Orlando Weekly even awarded a clever Mills 50 resident with the Best “Get Off My Lawn!” Award in 2017 for installing motion activated sprinklers to keep nearby bar patrons from urinating in their organic tomatoes.

Editor’s Note: FYI – I would venture to say Orlando’s potty-ground zero is either behind the now-vacant Ferg’s Depot or on the back of the Downtown Fire Station.

Public urination and defecation isn’t a problem isolated to Orlando. It’s a problem that all cities face, as evidenced in Miami’s Downtown Development Authority’s scatalogical atlas from 2015 – that’s a poop map if you didn’t catch it. People have been peeing in streets since we started building them. But we are supposed to be civilized now, so let’s start #adulting as a species and keep the excreta in our sewage system, that we pay for.

Paris, the city of love, is tackling the problem of public urination with something called the “uritrottoir”  – a word-baby made by combining the French words for urinal and sidewalk. Officials have incorporated bright red planter box/open-air pee troughs and installed them in public spaces that have proven to be problem areas across the city.

While seemingly extreme, you can’t deny that those few exhibitionists that are freely using the urinal-planters were probably the ones who were most likely to attempt spelling their names on the sidewalk.

Other, outside-the-pee-box ideas include a man in India installed portraits of gods on his wall to keep men from watering his building, walls that pee back on you, a motion-activated showers that douse offenders from above, or even this piss tanker in Calcutta that literally hoses off people in the streets for peeing.

But what about a more simple option, like providing more public restrooms? The Portland Loo program in, well, Portland, Oregon, is a great example of a patented outdoor restroom program that provides a 24-hour facility for those who need to relieve themselves. The toilets are so successful because of their “defense-first” design strategy. They were made to be as inhospitable as possible – they’re fireproof, hoseable, stainless steel booths that have a huge cult following. They have no running water, no mirrors, are graffiti-proof, and have bars at the top and bottom so police officers can peep in at your feet to make sure you’re not doing anything questionable.

The model is scalable and the City of Portland is selling the loos to other cities.

What do you think would work best in Orlando?

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