Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Howard Terminal, A Kingdom without a Bathroom? CTA to J. C. Decaux?

A kingdom without a bathroom? The ongoing dilemma at CTA terminals continues. Does the ongoing concern create a resistant variety of intransigent CTA legal beetles? Does the fear that a passenger might get a 'whirly' hover supreme over these legal nitwits? Do they think that riders prefer the smell of urine on the escalators and elevators to a small enclosure? Large isolated CTA terminals need a place for reasonable people to relieve themselves. All excuses seem lame.

I feel like the trustees of our transit legal conscience are picking petals off a daisy; CTA will get sued . . .. no CTA won't get sued . . . . CTA will get sued. . .. no CTA won't get sued. . . CTA will get sued . . .no CTA will get sued . . .CTA will get sued. . . I will lose my pension . . . . no bathrooms .. . . forever!

Can we encourage CTAs legal department to actually take reasonable risks for this public trust. Cases against the CTA based upon negligence should be eventually dismissed as a matter of law. Nevertheless, I understand that Metra outsourced a public bathroom at a Chicago CNW Station to a private concern for public use. I guess that subway riders are not good enough for the CTA Board. Will it help to repetitively complain to Ask Carol! Try it!

This does not solve the fact that when many of us need to let loose, Moore's Staff suggests that we use Dominicks or Marshalls. The mens bathroom at Dominicks usually stinks beyond belief and is ladden with graffiti. It is one of the most poorly maintained bathrooms among the so-called respectable Rogers Park businesses.

Strangely, Our city blows it when it ignores one of the most well known European providers of high end pay toilets, J. D. Decaux. Yes, not only does Decaux make 'street furniture,' it also makes some of the best European pay toilets equipt with timers, among other amenities. Decaux, who already helps make Chicago work with CTA shelters and News kiosks has yet to be given the nod by the CTA to handle the bathrooms dilemma. Decaux already provides bathrooms to San Diego, among other Cities across the U. S. and Canada. Why has it taken so long to create an appropriate accommodation for CTA ridership? Ask Carol Brown! Ask Ron Huberman!

I would rather be timed on my bathroom use and have to keep a quarter or two handy. I don't treasure those moments, when I look like my eyeballs are going to pop out as I am futile in suppressing my inner impatience with the need to pee. It is not exactly an ode to joy leaving the platform for the out of the way bathrooms on outer perimeter of Gateway Shopping Center.


Fargo said...

After getting stuck on trains for a long time between stations, I know that lots of folks would welcome public bathrooms in the stations. Reducing the nasty fumes in the stairways and escalators would be equally welcome.

lafew said...

For what it is worth a reply:

Mr. L.
Thank you for your comments. I will make sure that the entire board of directors and senior management is made aware of them.

Greg Longhini

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2007 12:31 AM
Subject: Ask Carole Comments

Carole, I am tired of smelling urine stench at the Howard Terminal. Why can’t CTA use some legal discretion, hire J. C. Decaux and get reasonable pay toilets or facilities for those of us who need a place to relieve our selves?

We are disgusted with the CTA policy of barring bathrooms particularly at CTA Terminals like Howard. With a rebuild, you would think that we can rethink public bathrooms and their place in society.


Rebecca said...

J.C. Decaux is an outdoor advertising company - the street furniture is provided (and maintained) by Decaux in exchange for the ad space it provides. Ideally, a win-win for Decaux and municipal hosts.

Wasn't sure whether this model changed with the bathrooms, so I looked around a bit to see. Apparently not.

City of Vancouver News Release
April 26, 2007

City of Vancouver installs first automatic public toilet

The City of Vancouver has opened the first of eight automated public
toilets in downtown Vancouver. It is located adjacent to Thornton Park on the east side of Main Street north of Terminal Avenue. For the first week, operational hours will be 7:30 am to 3:30 pm. Starting May 3, the toilet will be available for use free of charge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Seven more automated public toilets will be installed over the next few
months at the following locations: adjacent to Emery Barnes Park on the west side of Richards Street north of Davie Street; near Firehall # north side of Powell, west of Main Street; near the BC Tel Parkade, north side of Robson, west of Richards; near the main Post Office, west side of Homer, south of Dunsmuir; in Davie Village, north side of Davie,
west of Thurlow; near the Royal Bank, north side of Nelson, west of
Granville Street; and in Pigeon Park, northwest corner, Hastings and Carrall Streets.

The locations were chosen in consultation with Business Improvement Associations, the Vancouver Police Department, Neighborhood Integrated
Service Teams, and the Vancouver Network of Drug Users (VANDU).

This is a pilot project and use of the facilities will be monitored by
the City to address any emerging concerns or issues.

The automated public toilets that are being installed are self-contained and following each use, are automatically cleaned, disinfected and
dried. Green cleaning products are used. The toilets are supplied by
CBS/JC Decaux (formerly Viacom/JCDecaux) under the City's Street Furniture contract. They are being manufactured in France.

The automated toilets will complement the over 100 public toilets located throughout the city most situated in parks and community centres. There are also two large washroom facilities under the street at Hastings and Main and at Hastings and Hamilton that are operated by the City.

In Vancouver, urination and defecation in public areas has increasingly become an issue in the Downtown Eastside and in the entertainment area around Granville Mall. This project will meet one of the goals of Project Civil City which is to decrease nuisance activities, like urinating or defecating in public.

For more information, contact:

Grant Woff
Streets Administration, City of Vancouver

The North Coast said...

There is no way CTA can possibly provide public toilets, until the American Public relearns its manners and learns how to maintain a civil environment, which I don't see happening anytime soon.

If CTA were to provide toilets, they would quickly be vandalized, unsanitary sumps and major public safety problems. It would just never work, given the way most people in this country behave.

CTA once had pay toilets for the public and so did other transit agencies and other cities. I remember that public restrooms were much more numerous in my childhood, in the late 50s and early 60s.

So where did they all go, and why? Well, from the 60s forward to the present, we witnessed a total breakdown of civility and a tremendous upsurge in crime. The transit agency in my native city, St.Louis, had to shut their few remaining public restrooms at their busstations down,because they were getting vandalized and trashed on almost a daily basis and really violent crimes were being committed in them. Fixtures and plumbing were vandalized and wrecked, personal filth and garbage strewn allover, and people being raped and mugged in them.

If we can somehow teach civility to the population, we could have such amenities again. But I doubt I will ever again see it in my lifetime.

lafew said...

Actually this is partially incorrect. The South Shore line of Metra has retained its bathroom at the main station. In addition, a new private bathroom was recently added on the Central and Northwestern Line in the City of Chicago. This was at a stop used by many suburbanites, not even the main station on Canal Street, which does have bathrooms.

The private organization, J.D. Decaux is maintaining public bathrooms in many U.S. Cities, now. Decaux started in France, popped up through Europe, spread into Canada, and now is covering the West Coast and parts of the Midwest. Of course, J. D. Decaux now maintains many of the bus shelters as many of us know, which were also targets by vandals.

Perhaps, if you look around St.Louis on your next visit you will find a J. D. Decaux facility.

I used to think the same, but was fortunately mistaken. The pay toilets were not profitable, because there was always a toilet in some nearby restaurant. Marshalls does a good job with its bathroom; Dominicks does a p-poor job with its bathroom in my opinion. Finally, there is minimal damage over time at the Park District's Rogers Park facility, which hosts both AYSO and the Chargers.

Skepticism aside, some of our neighbors choose to trust neighbors in Rogers Park. They do things that a few who comment on Broken H- would pessimistically never attempt.

Google J.D. 'Decaux toilets" etc. for more information. I was going to put the photo up for some of the Decaux bathrooms in the U.S., but chose the traditional European version. If you ever travel there, graffiti was far worse and may have arguably influenced the surge in the U.S. in the last year or two.