Restroom at Tukwila International Boulevard Station (Photo by Oran – Flickr)

Earlier this month the Kent Reporter had a story about disagreements between the Kent City Council and Sound Transit on restroom facilities at its two Kent stations (Kent/Des Moines and Star Lake/272nd). For the more dramatic account, see KOMO. Back when Kent was adopting its (impressive) rezone for the Kent “Midway” area in advance of light rail, the city also adopted dozens of requirements for Link stations within its jurisdiction, on everything from restrooms to parking requirements to the volume of trees planted. The relevant section on restrooms comes from Kent City Code 15.15.120:E, “Site Furnishings for High Capacity Transit Stations”:

E. Restroom facilities. HCT stations associated with a park and ride lot, as described in RCW 47.12.270, as amended, and HCT stations with parking facilities, shall include public restrooms with sanitary sewer connections, as well as hot and cold running water.

Against this requirement, Sound Transit has a general preference against siting restroom facilities at Link stations, citing both regional and national precedent, and the difficulty of maintaining them in a functional and sanitary state. Everett Station has had endless difficulty with sanitation and public health hazards associated with contaminated needles. Spokesperson Kimberly Reason:

What we’ve found is that restroom facilities attract illicit and unsafe activities anything from drugs to other things so that is a big issue. Our number one priority is safety for all of our passengers and riders.”

In terms of precedent, the City of Seattle has not asked for restrooms at any of its 12 Link stations, and none of the pre-existing Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel have them. The only two Link stations with restrooms currently are Tukwila Int’l Blvd and SeaTac/Airport Station, and both of these are only available by requesting a token from security staff. Even so, Sound Transit told STB that there have been numerous security and/or sanitation issues with these facilities, despite the limited access.

To add another wrinkle, last week on Facebook, County Executive and Sound Transit Boardmember Dow Constantine spoke in support of restroom facilities, while also hinting at a 3rd way:

I’m very interested in figuring out how to have restrooms at as many stations as possible. It seems to me that, in addition to the standard public model, we should explore public/private options wherein a vendor (like an espresso place), adjacent developer, etc, provide and maintain facilities for the traveling public as part of their overall deal.

Indeed, elsewhere in Kent’s city code, parking structures at high capacity transit stations come with an intensive retail requirement, making Dow’s preferred public/private solution much more tenable:

15.15.440 Ground floor uses in parking structures. A. Each parking structure shall be designed so that a minimum of fifty (50) percent of the length of the exterior ground floor facade with existing or projected adjacent foot traffic, excluding vehicle entrances and exits, includes ground floor area either built out as, or convertible to, retail/commercial or service uses.

Despite some of the reporting, none of this yet rises to the level of ‘controversy’. The environmental work for the project is wrapping up, and RFPs will soon go out for design-build contracts that will begin advancing the design. Sound Transit staff said that these issues will be repeatedly discussed as the stations work through the middle steps of the design process, from 30%-90% design. This should happen over the next year or two, with construction likely to begin in or around 2019 for a 2024 opening.

But the general policy question remains: should there be restroom facilities at Link stations or not? Absent the constantly staffed restrooms in European train stations (and with 25-50 cents being a common fee for use), the sanitation and staffing issues are real, and these restrooms usually end up being a terrible experience for users. But on the other hand, there is no more basic need, and adding a retail purchase requirement to access facilities is unjust. It will be interesting to see how the cities and agencies square that circle for the next couple dozen stations to come online.

93 Replies to “Should Rail Stations Have Restrooms?”

    1. Agreed.

      As a parent who used to bus w young kids, try doing long transit trip (say bus-Link-bus) with young kids. Especially evenings when things around stations closed.

      Similarly what about people coming home from the bar? We don’t want them driving, right? Well big surprise, they’re likely going to need to piss.

      Want stations to smell like piss/shit? Then don’t put in bathrooms. Why is this hard for Sound Transit to understand?

      Is it challenging/expensive to keep them clean/safe? Of course. But ST has no problem spending $70,000 for a single car parking space that serves one or two people per day. Why so much trouble with restrooms that will serve hundreds/thousands per day?

      Hire a few more security and have them check restrooms at all stations multiple times per hour.

      1. Yes, yes, yes to bathrooms! Try grandparents AND little kids making those long trips. EVERYONE needs restrooms! The extra for staffing/cleaning should be considered basic to the project. Many of us have traveled in other cities and countries with and without station restrooms. “With” wins hands down! Without, as above writer days, means piss on walls, in corners, nearby bushes. Been there, seen that. Ugh.

  1. Italian train stations cost a full Euro admission last fall when I was there. They’re awful. At least half the restroom was broken in every case. That said, it was useful to have them for emergencies.

    1. Should have just gone into any business and asked to use theirs. Italian law mandates public use of restrooms, even for non-paying customers.

    2. In Germany the standard price seems to be 0.50€, but most people seem to just use the bushes if they happen to be more convenient.

  2. Lack of sanitation facilities at a location where people spend significant time is a public health problem.

    What is not brought out in your comment is that the elevators and stairs are the de facto urinals in the Seattle Downtown Transit Tunnel. It’s a terrible experience and very embarrassing.

    Having staffed restrooms available for a $1 cash/credit card/orca card seems perfectly reasonable.

      1. The “smellevator”. But there are a lot of public restrooms in the area so I’m not sure that’s the best example. Between Westlake, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and many restaurants and coffee shops there are a lot of publicly accessible restrooms adjacent to the tunnel.

      2. Not everybody knows about those, especially visitors, and people who never go to department stores may not thing about them. Also that doesn’t help when they’re closed. And it takes a log time to go through them to get to the restroom, which is not an option when you have a transfer in a few minutes.

  3. Why not treat restroom use as a transfer? The cost would be $2.25 but the marginal cost to a rider is zero and you can easily use an ORCA card to pay for it. This would limit restroom use to riders (or people with a very high willingness to pay) and therefore hopefully deal with some of the drawbacks of typical public restrooms.

    1. Or make the ORCA cost simply 50 cents. That way, transfer credit still works, monthly pass also works, and non-riders can use it for a reasonable fee.

      1. That’s what I was thinking too.

        Even so, I don’t know if that would restrict access to bums who want go in there and do whatever they do. The McDonald’s near Westlake had 2 security guards with remotes controlling a magnetic lock on the bathroom doors the one time I went in there to use their bathroom. If a private company is willing to hire people just for that, then I imagine it’s a huge problem.

        You’d almost have to have single bathrooms each with a reader that would unlock a magnetic lock when you tapped in/out or have full time employees to watch them. Maybe if we ever get turnstiles the fare enforcement offices could do that. I don’t know, seems like bathrooms may be more trouble than their worth though.

      2. If there’s a full-time employee they might as well clean the place too. In Moscow you pay 50c and they hand you a bit of toilet paper. While you’re nominally paying for the paper, it’s understood that you’re really paying for the cleaning and overseeing. If you’re a man doing #1 you bypass all this and go to the trough near the entrance.

    2. I agree only for the fact we now get charged to use the bathroom and store my bike.

      But I can park for free!

      Let’s pile on how ridiculous this is to have free parking.

  4. The TIB and SeaTac restrooms don’t require a token unless it’s changed in the past few months. Maybe in the evening.

    The biggest problem with Kent-style regulations requiring restrooms and ground-floor retail is that it only applies to stations with P&Rs. Why should stations without P&Rs have less amenities?

    1. Good point. Those who can jump in their cars are much closer, time-wise, to a private restroom. Stations where people get there by walking, biking, or (especially) infrequent bus are a much larger use case.

  5. Kent’s urban-minded planning for 99 and downtown is impressive for south King County. But when is it going to upzone East Hill?

    1. East Hill is further out, further from jobs, further from retail, further from the urban core. Upzone belongs along SR 99 first, East Hill later. It will happen eventually.

  6. This is one of those issues where people want transit to be all things to everyone. Or more accurately think transit should be a piggy bank.

    If cities want public restrooms they should build public restrooms. If they want parking garages they should build parking garages. Transit dollars should be spent on transit.

    1. Require public amenities as a part of zoning requirements is common & accepted practice. What is unusual here is the developer seeking the permit is another public entity.

      Stations are a public investment built for public use. Restrooms improve the user experience. Should libraries not include restrooms because that’s not a part of their mission? … “Library dollars should be spent on books, not bathrooms,” eh? I don’t see King County charging the local municipality for building a public restroom every time they build a new library, and I don’t see much difference here with ST.

    2. Restrooms are a problem for Seattle in general and transit in particular. It’s not a luxury like a latte, it’s a basic human need that’s required every few hours. Just as stations need entrances and escalators to get to the trains, people need restrooms as part of an hour-long trip or errand. Library patrons can’t be there all day without a restroom, and it’s the law that commercial buildings have restrooms. What’s different in this case is the law doesn’t require restrooms at transit stations, but that’s precisely what’s being argued for.

    3. So, it would be acceptable to get rid of the zoning ordinances that require restrooms in commercial buildings? How about we get rid of the requirement of home builders to pay impact fees to school districts, after all, the home builder isn’t forcing anybody to have a child? People using transit need access to restrooms. If you can’t acknowledge this, you’ve never spent significant time with a young child or an elderly person with health issues. We don’t want a train station that smells like pee. Confining that to two closed rooms in the station is preferable to stairways, dark corners, waiting platforms, parking stalls, and doorways that ALL smell like pee.

  7. Absolutely, major transit stations should have restrooms, especially out in suburbia, where people might be stuck waiting 30-45 minutes for a connecting bus, and it is unreasonable to expect people to just sit there and hold it in for that much time. Even for people with shorter connections in the 10-15 minute range, it’s still a long time, considering that the bus ride, itself, may be another 30 minutes.

    In general, nearby retail establishments is a poor substitute. When you have a 10-minute window between connections, even a retail facility as close as a block or two away, the cumulative time to walk there, wait in line to buy something, wait in line again for the restroom, and walk back, might be too much – especially if missing the bus means an hour-long wait for the next one. And, that’s assuming that the restroom is even open. Light rail, and many connecting bus routes, run until at least midnight. Most retail establishments are not open that late.

    One case where this is a particularly big issue is families traveling with small children, who are much less patient than adults about this sort of thing.

    As to staffing, the Link stations are already staffed by security officers, so as long as the restroom is close enough to the train platform that one same security officer can keep an eye on both at the same time, it shouldn’t be an issue.

    So, yes – build restrooms!

    1. “As to staffing, the Link stations are already staffed by security officers, so as long as the restroom is close enough to the train platform that one same security officer can keep an eye on both at the same time, it shouldn’t be an issue”

      Strongly disagree. The whole reason restrooms are a magnet for drug use is specifically because they are closed off from public view. Simply keeping an eye on who goes in & out of the restroom is inadequate. And I don’t want the security staff having to keep going into the bathroom for “security sweeps” … what are they going to do if they see drug paraphernalia scattered across the floor but no person in sight? That’s an issue for janitorial staff, not security, and hiring/contracting janitorial staff is exactly what ST is trying to avoid.

      1. Sharps containers where people would actually use them seems like a good start for dealing with hypodermic needles. If ST does’t have them in existing restrooms they can have them installed next week.

    2. Thats what the bushes are for. Every super public restroom is a breeding ground for crime. Maybe if people knew how to behave in public like Asia we could have them.

    1. Per my visit there last November – yes, at all major stations and most minor ones. The major ones had the space-future Western toilets with all the buttons, and the minor ones had the (much easier to clean/maintain) squat toilets. The squat toilets do not generally provide toilet paper, but tissues are commonly passed out on the streets as advertisements, so it’s not as big an issue as you might think.

      1. In more than one country, squat toilets are the norm. Some say body function works better that way. Gary Larson aside, idea goes back a long way. Probably to when we couldn’t use gravity and tree branches anymore.

        Think I remember that in Thailand, there was either long-handled pan dipped into a tank of water, or a hose, instead of toilet paper. Though can see controversy over which is depleting faster, water or trees- for both making paper and assisting gravity.

        Mark

  8. Here’s my idea staff them. Charge $2.00 to use unless you have an orca card. If you have an orca card, just tap your card and enter free of charge.

    1. Maybe charge for parking, and assign part of the revenue go for restroom installation, monitoring and maintenance? Maybe make restroom monitoring and maintenance part of the job of a large park-and-ride garage security guard staff — paid by the parking revenue? $2 for all-day parking that comes with on-site security and available bathrooms would be a decent deal for users.

    2. Nowadays a fair number of people don’t carry cash. Just an ORCA card, a credit card,an ATM card, and a Starbucks card.

      1. Ewww you are so ancient, cards are for old people. Why don’t you just use Apple Pay like a normal human being.

  9. A staffed, pay-on-entry restroom downtown would see a huge amount of use and would provide a strong public benefit. Should our scarce transit dollars pay for this? I say yes. Not because they have to, but because it’s a transit benefit that’s worth the money.

    This doesn’t mean they need one at every station. Just in a few centrally located stations most riders can easily get to (i.e. downtown). And I love the idea of orca-card access, though requiring quarters would be fine too if that’s easier.

    1. I agree. A few places would be fine. Given the nature of train travel (very frequent) it is quite possible that someone would just jump off, use the bathroom, then catch the next train. So one in each area (e. g. one in Rainier Valley) would probably be fine. But the big use would be for long trips, and those involving transfers. In a few years, I could see bathrooms at Lynnwood, Northgate, Roosevelt, U-District, Westlake, I. D., Mount Baker, Mercer Island and a few more I know less about from a transfer standpoint.

    2. I disagree. Most people who would know where the pay restrooms are also know where the free ones are.

      It’s the same reason few have taken up the offer to pay for carpool permits at Angle Lake Station, when they can still park their carpool there for free.

    3. Not if the pay restroom is closer and they don’t have time to go to the free one, or they don’t want to go so far out of their way, or the pay one is perceived as cleaner and safer and has better amenities. An attended restroom with normal facilities is more pleasant to use than metal prison toilets, porta-potties, or mechanical superloos. Seattle has never had attended restrooms so there’s no proof it won’t work. Evidence from other cities, the large potential market, and middle-class people who spend $6 a day on coffee suggest potential success. Start with one or two pilot sites, one downtown and another somewhere else.

      1. Exactly. I honestly don’t know where these “free bathrooms” are, and I’m not going to wander around forever looking for one. But if a bathroom took an ORCA card, and even if they charged a buck or so, I would use it.

      2. Seattle has certainly had an attended restroom before – one of the best in the world. Designed for 10,000 patrons a day. Closed sometime around WWII. Sounds amazing.

  10. The answer is simple to me:

    1. City of Kent wants restrooms.
    2. ST doesn’t want restrooms due to long-term maintenance expense.

    3. City of Kent agrees to pay ST for restroom maintenance.

    Done.

    On the bigger picture, I agree with Kent that restrooms should be provided, as ST has at TIBS, Sea-Tac and a fair number of transit centers. Any station more than 30 minutes away the center (Westlake) should provide restrooms for those transferring to another vehicle.

    1. Yeah seems like ST’s issue is maintenance costs/distractions. I’d assume ST is happy to build a restroom is someone else maintains it. I like Dow’s idea, where you push the responsibility for maintenance to a private entity, presumably retail of some form, as that will save taxpayer dollars. But if that doesn’t work, I think having Kent pay for maintenance is an acceptable outcome.

  11. STB seems to love breaking the rule. I worked at the Capitol Hill Safeway for a year. There was a continuous stream of non-customers asking for the code. While maintaining it took regular cleaning, it was by no means an insurmountable effort. We pay 56 billion for transportation, we can afford to provide some basic human decency. The idea that a bathroom can’t be kept clean is a pitiful excuse.

    1. The rule is wrong. When the topic is a question, half the time the answer is yes and it’s probably more like two thirds. And how can STB “love” headline questions when there are only a few of them? I looked through the last 50 articles and there are 3 yes/no questions and 1 quantity question. That’s 6% of articles with yes/no questions, hardly a vote of major love for the technique. There are also as many headlines that start with “What” or “How” that don’t have a question mark and aren’t really questions.

      1. But are we seeing an increasing rate in headlines ending in a question? Anyhow, I meant the headline remark in jest. I guess I should try to write clearer.

    2. That’s your loss then; many of STB’s articles are essentially introducing ideas for discussion, “Is this a good idea?”, whether or not there’s a question mark.

  12. I like Dow’s idea. That seems like a big win for everyone. Have a coffee or snack shop, and in exchange, you are responsible for maintaining the nearby bathroom.

    The other alternative (mentioned up above) that I like is to treat it like a transfer. If you have an ORCA card, and you are using transit, then it is free. If you just waled in off the street, then it costs you the same as riding a bus. I bet that would greatly reduce the problems common with public restrooms.

    1. Okay, if this can possibly be done, I’ve been screaming into the wind about having coffee shops at Park-and-Rides for ages. Hopefully they could reduce the “wind-swept hellscape” aesthetic so common to those structures. Let them be built, ST!!

  13. Why don’t we solve the problem of civilized sanitation and the problem of stations being bleak unwelcoming multistory parking lots with one move? Build into the station architecture, space for as many other rent-paying businesses as we can get.

    And at least a small coffee shop open all service hours. With ST sharing the expense if need be. Key code in every ORCA card- exactly like for transit service, taking care of income and disability problems. And where needed, a police office. The old Federal Way P%R had an espresso stand. Why hasn’t new one ever gotten same. After all these years?

    Cost? Tell me that filthy infectious elevators -and public rest-rooms- count in the black column! Let alone lost passengers that not only won’t ride because of everything else connected with disregard of powerful human needs. But literally can’t. One of transit’s most important demographics: people over sixty. Including me.

    Let’s FOI the stats for how many people degrade car seats, floors, and their own mortal dignity being trapped on board anything but Sounder- for every one of the dozens of delays in every day’s ST Bulletin. Accident on MLK? “Mechanical Issue?” Thirty-five minute hold while a fare inspector needlessly calls police? I don’t board LINK ’til I use the bathroom. Not there? At least my car lets me find one.

    Budget? Suppose a line’s cheapest alignment includes anything dangerous to passengers’ health and safety. A landfill. Or un-removable industrial waste. Engineers told me one reason we couldn’t run along the fence at Boeing: they called it The Superfund Alignment. Same damned same here. What the Fire Department and the Health Department forbid, we don’t do. Whatever else we have to either re-plan or postpone.

    But underneath it all, this is about curing the mentality that created the election results a lot of pro-transit people don’t like. On both political sides. That public service just has to accept it can never afford more than a gesture toward health, safety, and a life fit for people in the United States of America.

    Anybody who’d tolerate either present sanitary conditions of the lack of any doesn’t deserve to be called liberal. Let alone conservative! Right now…The Terrorists Have Won.

    Mark Dublin

  14. Thoughts, as a user:

    1) Major stations, such as those in the transit tunnel, should have restrooms provided. I absolutely love the ORCA card as access idea, this should be done, with cash payments collected otherwise. Also, transit staff should monitor closely at all open hours – I’m thinking a chair in the restroom itself.

    2) Minor stations, including park-and-rides, should be provided one stand-alone toilet like the one that Portland created (Portland Loo?) . Maintenance crew comes through once per day. Use at your own risk.

    I know this would cost more upfront, but I think it is a good tradeoff for having quick access to a toilet.

    1. shinjuki, why don’t we just post “Use At Your Own Risk” at every station entrance? Suggest you check out the potties at SR 512 P&R. When it’s real dark.

      Since it’s decided to make visits to game parks its main national industry, it’s developed a system of public toilets in small buildings. Staffed by money collectors, and crew that cleans every stall- rooms with doors, really- after every use.

      In general, getting very tired of looking out windows and seeing the United States of America passing country after country going up, on our way down. Which friggin’ world are we plummeting through now?
      Red or blue baseball hats, let’s stitch same message:

      “Put America in the First World. Again.”

      Mark

  15. Related to this is drinking fountains. I was hoping when the Tukwila Sounder Station was redone that there were going to install water for cyclists to refill their water bottles because it is right next to the interurban. Not only was there no bathroom for an Amtrak/Sounder station but they haven’t even put in a water fountain. There isn’t much water between Kent and Seattle for long distance riding so many are carrying 2 bottles. As we build out our bike network, it would be great if cyclists knew they could always get water at transit stations. Even in downtown Seattle and Bellevue, it is not easy to find free water.

    1. Lack of drinking fountains is a problem that I think can be just as important and easier to solve than bathrooms (not exactly a heroin magnet) but doesn’t get nearly as much attention. In the University District, for instance, there are no public drinking fountains. Last summer when I’d burned though my water bottles in the 90 degree heat, I had to search through the community center to find water for me and my dog. Public drinking fountains shouldn’t be that hard to come by! They’re all over the place downtown.

    2. Good idea! Drinking fountains with refill spigots should be a basic design requirement for every rail station that has over 1000 boardings a day – and maybe required at all rail stations. Maintenance is minimal and possible abuse is minimal. I’ll note too that the benefits would be for everyone and not just bicyclists.

    3. That is the problem with outdoor drinking fountains: they turn them off for several months a year so the pipes don’t freeze. So it’s a part-time amenity.

  16. Restrooms in rail stations are a complex topic. There are all sorts of maintenance issues. There are all sorts of security issues. That’s on top of architectural and mechanical requirements. Arm chair opinions and solutions are important, but we can do better.

    This falls into the general realm of customer experience. CT has elevated customer experience to an executive level position and deliberate department. It’s time that ST do the same. A piecemeal approach to these things is very backwards.

    With focused staff directed to advocate for customer experience, we can have the level of clarity that we need to make things work best for us riders – and have someone whose job it is to think through these things from a user systems perspective.

      1. Merging them would not solve anything. The biggest agency’s people and policies would rule the roost at the end of the day, local smaller governments would loose control over their transit, cost of operations would skyrocket, and service would still not be any better.

  17. The article says that even with a security guard provided token required for the restrooms at TIBS and the Airport station, it’s still a security/sanitation problem. Given that would appear to be the best gate keeping imaginable, I can’t see how anything would work. In Tokyo, Oslo, or a fantasy world made up of this blog’s readers, restrooms at every station would be an easy “yes” – unfortunately there is a noticeable segment of the American population that uses a public WC in a manner akin to a wild animal, or for illegal activities. I bet any person that has had to keep an urban bathroom (that is accessible to the public) clean would believe Link toilets would be unworkable without being a 100% hand-held and paid for experience.

    1. The token is incorrect; the TIB and SeaTac restrooms have been open every time I’ve used them. But I can readily accept it’s an ongoing sanitation problem. At 24 Hour Fitness all the users are paying members and the staff clean the locker rooms throughout the day, but even there it only takes a few hours for toilet paper and paper towels to be littered around the place, strange smells to emanate, toilets to be clogged, etc — I can’t believe how many people act like pigs. So ST is right to be concerned about the cost of maintaining a restroom and discouraging misuse. But at the same time it’s a basic need that all passengers have. The cities, counties, and ST should get together and figure out a solution, or at least some small-scale experiments to start with.

      1. This is definitely a problem in need of a solution; as has been noted it is a basic human need that American cities in general pay far too little attention to. However, the immediate issue of basic lack of personal hygiene also plays no small part in the dilemma. For whatever reason some people in our society have become accustomed to the belief that someone else will clean up after them, so why should they bother? Anyone who’s worked in an office with a kitchen knows that even professionals can’t be bothered to pick up after themselves half the time.

        Atlanta’s MARTA has restrooms at least in some stations; they are in the “fare paid” area so basically the same as needing to use your ORCA card here. You use a buzzer and security lets you in. Even with all that, last time I was there a friend needed to use the restroom, she was let in and discovered that someone had just defecated on the floor instead of using the toilet. In my mind the only solution is to have staffed bathrooms as is done in many other countries; if you need to go, I’m pretty sure you’re not going to mind that (particularly if it means a relatively clean/safe experience).

      2. It flabbergasts me. I’ve concluded some people like to be surrounded by filth — and where the hell does all the toilet paper go?!

  18. Lack of publicly accessible and free toilet facilities is a human rights and safety issue. Public transit stations are an excellent location to site them. That this is such a hard thing to get political willl and funding behind – and that the norm now is to not have them – is a sad comment on our society.

  19. One possible solution is to have a station include another adjacent public use. Library? Community center? Police station? City hall? DMV? Post office? Fire house? Campus student union? Voter registration and ballot return office? I’m not saying that these uses are appropriate for every station, but it seems silly for the public to pay rent or construction dollars to have another public use a block or two away that has restrooms.

    1. I think that’s the logic behind incorporating the restrooms into a private retail space, as Dow suggests.

      But having a restroom a few blocks away doesn’t help people hoping to use the restroom while waiting at the station.

  20. Let’s paint an analogy here. Private business wants to build in Kent. Kent zoning requires X, Y, and Z, and other building and environmental codes require A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Business owner doesn’t want to pay for Y and D. Business owner has exactly two options. Comply or not build. Pretty simple.

    1. Not necessarily – if you are a very big or a very desirable project, there is some give and take between the developer and

      For example, Expedia might go to Seattle and say, “hey, you know how current zoning requires X, but we were thinking of doing Y, mind if we get an exception?” Happens with all major institutional overlays, also, like with UW or the various hospital campuses.

      Given that light rail zoning is 1) New to Kent, and 2) A major project delivering great public benefit, I think it’s appropriate for ST to have ongoing discussions with Kent. Of course, Kent can always say “No” and deny the permit, but then their LRT station is delayed. Hence, negotiations.

      1. Used them on a bike excursion in Gijon, Spain. It took about half an hour for our whole group to go, not because any of us took that long, but because the cleaning cycle did. Cleaned well, though.

  21. “Smile, you are on camera” signs might deter a lot of inappropriate activities in public restrooms at rail stations. Just to be clear, any camera surveillance would have to be in the entrance/hand wash area not in the actual stall!

    In downtown Miami we installed portable restroom units to target areas where public area urine/feces from the unfortunate homeless was common, and there has been a huge improvement. May be an option in the downtown Seattle area? San Francisco has had some success doing this, no?

    1. Ah yes! Survey peer agencies. Compile. Present results. Where do I bid for that consultant contract? It’s a rounding error within a rounding error of the rounding errors in ST’s budget.

  22. What’s the real cost per year for maintenance? Is a corporate sponsorship with the restroom plasteted in advertising possible to pay that amount?

  23. Yes. There’s gotta be a way to design a transit toilet facilities that are safe, not subject to vandalism, and no one should ever, ever have pay to go. Some smart engineering team out there should be able design a facility, at the very least a pissoir, that would accommodate both sexes while ensuring privacy. My guess is that this wheel has been invented already.

    As a man of a certain age, having places to pee unsurreptitiously and legally while in transit is an issue now.

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