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Public restrooms coming to Downtown Pittsburgh

Public restrooms coming to Downtown Pittsburgh
Public restrooms coming to Downtown Pittsburgh 01:43

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The City of Pittsburgh has unveiled a solution to help address the lack of public restrooms in Downtown. 

The city hopes that by providing public restrooms, it will not only help families, but tourists and underserved individuals alike.

With public restrooms, city leaders hope to provide a place for people to go to the bathroom, other than say, an alleyway. 

This move comes after a recent study from Point Park University researchers identified numerous issues that could improve the quality of Downtown, including access to public restrooms, among other things, like alleyway lights and cameras.

72% of the people surveyed in the study believe the alleyways are an issue and that more public restrooms would help prevent people from relieving themselves in those alleys.

So starting next month, a six-month pilot project will be initiated by the installation of three trailer-like public restrooms that will be open daily and have running water, heat, and air conditioning. 

The bathrooms will be open from 7 a.m. through 11 p.m. 

"This pilot program will oversee the installation of new temporary facilities in highly visible and accessible locations," said Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. "These restrooms will be open sixteen hours a day and staffed by our dedicated Clean Team."

The hope is that this will be a stopgap solution until more permanent facilities can be built.

Sites for these new temporary public restrooms have not been identified yet, but the study recommended high-traffic areas such as Market Square, the Cultural District, and Mellon Square.

In addition to the announcement about the new public restrooms, city leaders also unveiled a new public dashboard that will provide information about the economic health, vitality, cleanliness, public health, and safety in Downtown Pittsburgh. 

The digital dashboard will be an interactive platform that will display data from different sources.

City officials say this approach will help them make informed decisions and allocate resources with more efficiency. 

Mayor Ed Gainey says this will allow people to see clear proof of the changes city leaders are making. 

"We understand that we're cleaning downtown three days a week and we're doing the things that are necessary," Mayor Gainey said. "We still want a dashboard to make people believe again. To make people believe again, we need to show people the numbers. We can talk about it all day, but nothing speaks louder than numbers. So our ability, through a dashboard, to let people know exactly how we're improving downtown coming out of a pandemic is real."

We spoke with several vendors setting up booths for the Thursday farmers market in Market Square and they agree - there are no close public restrooms, and it affects them like everyone else.

"As a vendor, I have the same issues as everybody else," said Greg Tompkins of Tommy's Jerky on the Road. "I have to have a break once and a while, and if I am here and I need to take a break then I have to impose on one of the businesses in the square. I think more public restrooms accessible to everybody would be a great thing."

Again, sites for these temporary restrooms have not been officially chosen yet, but it is safe to say that as soon as they are, the city hopes it will relieve at least one of their problems. 

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