Restroom Update

As noted here previously, the City has contracted with Hyphae Designs to do a citywide restroom study. The study is of interest to Cesar Chavez Park visitors as it includes the three pathetic porta-potties in the park. They’re not only disgusting and hostile to women, children, and the disabled. They’re also often broken, and the contractor does nothing.

Porta-potty in the dog park has been broken since at least Nov. 9. Not repaired as of Nov. 17.

Hyphae has held four public meetings to gather input on the restroom issue. I’ve attended three of them. I also had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Hyphae’s study director, Megan Prier, to brief her on the restroom situation in our park.

Hyphae has now posted online the slide show, titled Berkeley WASH Assessment 2019, presented at the public meetings. The online materials come in five parts. This is the link to the online folder containing the materials.

Part 1, on the right side of the online folder, is the basic slide show. It outlines the meaning of WASH, shows maps of the existing public toilets in the city, and overlays this with other maps showing the need for restrooms based on various criteria. It also discusses various public restroom types and briefly looks at public restroom experiences in a few other US cities. (Cities in Canada and Europe, where public restrooms are a long established and generally available feature, are not discussed.)

The other four online items consist of zoomed-in posters on different regions of the city, showing where restrooms are and where new or upgraded restrooms are proposed. Namely:

  • Telegraph Avenue Area
  • West Berkeley
  • Downtown
  • Adeline Corridor

The study project schedule calls for Hyphae to complete a draft proposal this month for submission to City staff. Staff are supposed to provide feedback also this month, and Hyphae is due to submit a final proposal in December. The matter is then tentatively scheduled to go to City Council next summer.

This schedule is probably a bit — or even wildly — optimistic, as it can take staff many months to process even much simpler and less ambitious proposals. However, Hyphae has clearly lived up to its contract and stands blameless for any subsequent delays.

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