What to Know
- Philadelphia will be installing a "Portland Loo" at 15th and Arch streets at some point in 2023.
- The public restroom installation is part of the city's plan to erect a total of six standalone toilets in different parts of the city.
- "Public restrooms are a great way to improve quality of life and protect public health, and like many U.S. cities Philadelphia needs more," Kathleen Grady, Chief of Staff, Managing Director’s Office - Health and Human Services, said in a statement to NBC10.
Finding a place to go when you have to go isn't always the easiest thing to do in Philadelphia, especially since the start of the COVID pandemic.
Now, city health and human services leadership is trying to change that by placing so-called "Portland Loo" restrooms in key parts of the city.
"Public restrooms are a great way to improve quality of life and protect public health, and like many U.S. cities Philadelphia needs more," Kathleen Grady, Chief of Staff, Managing Director’s Office - Health and Human Services, said in a statement to NBC10. "We are excited to install a free-standing public restroom in Center City next year, after receiving valuable input from individuals, businesses, and civic groups."
Get Philly local news, weather forecasts, sports and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Philadelphia newsletters.
Philadelphia's five-year budget funds six of the public toilets, each in a different neighborhood, as part of a pilot program, according to a Health and Human Services blog post posted on the City's website last month.
"The goal of the public restroom pilot is to provide a permanent option that is more attractive to a broad group of people – including families, tourists, businesses, and underserved individuals," the HHS news release said.
The first restroom -- these standalone units looks like tall oval-shaped metal pods with open blinds at the top -- will be placed in the shadow of City Hall at 15th and Arch streets in Center City at some point in 2023. The site has had temporary porta potties in place for the past year or so, the City said.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
"The 15th and Arch location was analyzed to ensure it meets the technical constraints for Portland Loo installation including the size of the space available, ownership of the land, proximity to intersections and the curb, and connections to water, sewage, and electricity utilities," the news release said.
On its website, Portland Loo says "the proof is in the potty" when it comes to preventing crime, maintenance and ease of installation.
The City explained more so why it chose the Portland Loo:
"The Portland Loo model is known for being durable, easy to clean, and having a crime prevention design features like graffiti-proof wall panels. The unit is ADA accessible, and it can fit a bicycle, a stroller, or two adults and a child."
Some people NBC10 spoke to about the restroom plan were skeptical if the units would remain clean.
"I don't think I would use it," McKenzie Keegan said. "I don't know how many people would use it."
She added that she thinks its a good idea, but thinks it "will be a mess."
Philadelphia's HHS is open to further public comment as the pilot program continues.
"This pilot will grow in the coming years to establish six public restrooms throughout Philadelphia, complete with safety and maintenance plans and accessible design," Grady said.