Toilet Tease

The City of Berkeley has $53 million left of the $100 million T1 parks bond that voters approved in 2018. Will visitors to Cesar Chavez Park get even one permanent restroom out of that money to replace the disgusting porta-potties we’ve had for 25 years?

According to a Berkeleyside story dated Nov. 5, citing Parks boss Scott Ferris, “The current list includes about $2.5 million in spending at the waterfront: to replace dilapidated pilings, replace two docks, renovate the K Dock restroom and build a restroom — at long last — at Cesar Chavez Park.” Well, one restroom would be better than none. Actually, one restroom for a park of 90 acres is laughably little, but we’re beggars so we can’t be choosers, can we?

However, Berkeleyside’s reporter may have let a wish stand in for a fact. At the T1 Marina Zoom hearing on Oct. 29, I asked specifically whether a new Chavez Park bathroom was on the T1 project list. On Nov. 5 I got this email response from the “” source:

“There is not enough funding in the Spinnaker Way project to pay for the restroom. Therefore, we are providing the utility stub out to water and sewer to the expected restroom location. If the restroom is included in T1 Phase 2, we will attempt to include in the project.”

Note that “if” and “we will attempt.” Bottom line, don’t hold your breath.

Note, incidentally, that Parks (and to an extent Public Works) is still dealing with a loaded deck on the restroom issue. They’re quoting figures for custom-built-on-site restroom construction in the $500-800k range. True, Parks managed to spend that much and more on the new windsurfer bathroom completed in 2019 — probably the most expensive structure per square foot ever built in Berkeley. That project ought to go to the Alameda County Grand Jury for city/contractor collusion and corruption. But other cities and park systems live in a cleaner universe with restroom costs one tenth of those on the Ferris wheel. Emeryville spent $125,000 for a customized Portland Loo on Park Avenue. Lathrop got a new Greenflush Tech restroom by its dog park for $55,000. The National Park Service put in a beautiful Greenflush restroom in Pacifica for $65,000. Those numbers, not the Ferris fictions, outline the actual ballpark for park restroom costs. Park restrooms are budget dust. There is simply no good excuse for not building them.

Greenflush Technologies restroom put in by National Park Service in Pacifica: $65,000
Greenflush Technologies restroom next to dog park in Lathrop CA, cost $55,000
Portland Loo, Park Avenue in Emeryville, cost $125,000

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One thought on “Toilet Tease

  • Thank you for this Marty! I agree wholeheartedly! what else can we do to make this happen??
    I sent in an email to the city after reading that Berkeleyside article.

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