Ann Arbor launches free portable public restrooms pilot program

While Ann Arbor is a largely wealthy city, there are many residents living on the streets. And for those without a home, simply finding a place to use the restroom can be a daily stressor. It’s a problem that most people probably never think about — however, this new pilot program could be the start of a solution.

In November, Ann Arbor City Council approved a year-long pilot program that will place eight free portable public restrooms across the city, with hopes to increase convenience for visitors and community members alike. The bathrooms, designed by Thorne Labs Inc., are being installed this week and will open to the public throughout the coming weeks.

The free restroom program also coincides with Ann Arbor’s bicentennial celebration this year, and the exterior of the upscale portable potties feature a design that represents the city’s 200 years.

City officials hope to use the pilot program to address a more long-term need for permanent free public restrooms in Ann Arbor.

“We’re excited to launch this one-year pilot program and offer our downtown and parks visitors safe and dignified public restroom options for all people regardless of ability, gender, race, housing status, culture, and age,” Milton Dohoney Jr., Ann Arbor city administrator, says. “We want to be a welcoming and inclusive city, and this pilot program will allow us to achieve this goal, which although temporary, will help us to determine where permanent public restrooms are needed in the downtown.”

Thorne’s portable restrooms include cleaning, servicing, and user support, and also comply with federal ADA standards to enable easy access for all community members. Baby changing stations and menstrual products will be available at every location.

Portable public restrooms will be placed throughout different parts of the city, mainly downtown, with locations including the Robert J. Delonis Center, the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, Liberty Plaza Park, West Park, Riverside Park, and Veterans Memorial Park.

The restrooms will be accessible by scanning a QR code or using a mobile app. For those without cell phones, access cards will be available to pick up in advance at the Delonis Center or Larcom City Hall.

click to enlarge A map of the upcoming free portable public restroom locations in Ann Arbor. - Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

A map of the upcoming free portable public restroom locations in Ann Arbor.

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