Monday, August 06, 2007

Howard Street Porta-Potties Temporarily End Stench; CTA Plays the Blame Game; Moore Accused

Has anyone noticed a difference? The parking lot elevators, stairway and terminal escalators have rarely, if ever, stunk of feces or urine in months! It is time for Joe Moore to seriously consider a small durable public bathroom or porta-pottie at the Howard Street Terminal. It seems that only union construction works are deserving of that luxury, not the CTA Ridership.

My discussion and e-mails with CTA authorities Darud Akbar and Craig Longhini, 'allegedly confirm' that Alderman Joseph Moore must introduce action in City Hall for public toilets. The CTA spokesperson insists that only the Alderman has control. Joe Moore may want to e-mail Akbar at and to verify his role. For those who want a public toilet or porta-potty at the Howard Terminal should continue to e-mail the above or contact Joe Moore's Office at to encourage his support of Terminal toilets.

I have heard Cosgrove and Land insist that all of those in need of a toilet should go to the private bathrooms at Dominicks and Marshalls. No one has admitted that those violators who don't care want immediate gratification and are unwilling to walk that far. The Police don't seem to have the manpower or interest to deter the public pissers. However, we have a temporary reprieve and need to do something about it before it returns.

For those who have trudged to the Dominicks, their bathroom is poorly maintained with wet floors and insufficient maintenance much of the time based upon my experience. Marshalls is locked and you must wait for a sales person to key in the code to let patrons in. I am sure that some are told that they do not have a public bathroom, but the Marshall's bathroom is significantly better when it is open. For those who are Bally's members, use your card and you can use their bathroom. However, some of us don't have the luxury or the time to trapse to distant toilets meant for patrons, not commuters.

As discussed, J. C. Decaux is already working with Chicago. With its reputation in public toilets in cities from San Diego to Toronto to Paris, I think that it is time that Chicago reasonably consider its options. Even highways have public rest stops. Terminals deserve toilets.


The North Coast said...

There's really no comparison between construction workers who are spending 8 hours a day at the job site, and people who are passing through for 15 minutes at the most and are paying $2 for a ride, at the most.

The workers' portable toilets are provided in keeping with OSHA requirements, and by their employing contractors.

My belief is that it's asking a little much to ask CTA to provide public restrooms at every station. Do people realize the extra cost in maintenance this would entail?

That, and the public safety issue, make public restrooms at CTA el stations an impossibility. You are talking well over 100 stations.

I remember that the local transit agency in my home city provided these at one major bus terminal downtown, from which 30 lines departed. They had to be closed in the early 60s due to the escalating crime rates and tandem growing incivility of the general public. 1964 was a totally different world than 1950 in terms of public behavior and crime, and the restrooms were completely trashed, with towering filth, vandalized and broken fixtures and plumbing, and were very unsafe to be in. Staffing them adequately with guards and janitors was financially impossible for the transit agency, so they had to be closed.

Most people would be happy if the trains and buses ran frequently and reliably, and if we had more of them. We need more rail lines to connect those we have and more serving outer neighborhoods, and that need will become critical as fuel shortages develop. This additional service will be a very costly undertaking.

Given that most folks are either 5 minutes from home or to home when they are passing through, they should be able to contain themselves. Most agents WILL make exceptions for people who are extremely old.

Most of all, the trashing of the el stations by uncouth people who do their bathroom functions in public won't cease just because we provide restrooms. They do this for the same reason they deface other people's property with gang scrawls, and drop liquor bottles and used condoms allover people's lawns and the sidewalks-because they are trying to be as offensive as possible, and trying to cater to them won't change thier behavior, just give them more public property to trash.

lafew said...
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lafew said...

Requesting bathrooms in large CTA terminals, not every CTA station, is a reasonable request. A terminal accommodates tens of thousands, if not a hundred thousand riders every day. Both the Purple and Yellow lines terminate at the Howard terminal en route to the Loop. I understand cost-benefit analysis.

Given the incredibly large population, quite a few will be extremely uncomfortable. People eat and drink at Duncan Donuts and Quiznos; toilets are required to be in restaurants. Most are just glad to see these franchises in Gateway without public bathrooms!

Those in need of a toilet should not have to ‘check out’ of the Terminal and roam Howard Street for a toilet. Dominicks is both hidden and inconvenient; Marshalls is closed both at rush hour and evenings after 9pm. The occasional hefty loiterer in the Dominicks parking lot intimidates those who are not from the area. Chicago needs to make the Howard Terminal more user-friendly.

Even Mexico City has toilets in all its major bus and major 'metro' subway terminals. In many Mexican towns, private bathrooms are 'manned' and people pay to use them. Are you suggesting that Chicagoans are unable to maintain a bathroom, even though lesser developed nations successfully do it?

The ‘rare vandal’ should not deter significant issues of health and sanitation. I think that you mistrust Rogers Park residents as a whole by giving them too little credit.

If J. C. Decaux ‘will handle the bathroom issue,’ why look an arguable 'gift horse' in the mouth. Assuming that the costs are appropriate and reasonable, the terminal rider-ship and residents deserve more.

I have stood on the platforms at Howard for too many years. There are times when I have to 'cop a plea' for the use of the private toilets. Most CTA workers are less than generous with their hidden toilet. I have missed the last Purple line train of the day in exchange for trips to Dominicks and Marshalls. All of those who feel obligated to shop at either store in exchange for using its toilet are victims.

To have to avoid the toilet for an hour and twenty four minutes, even upwards of two hours from the Linden station, without a public toilet seems inappropriate, unreasonable, arguably inhumane, and/or negligent. By the way, does Linden have a toilet?

Some have finished their breakfast at Duncan Donuts or home only to suddenly find themselves bloated with no option other than to bite their lip or breath deeply on the slow "L" to the loop. This situation takes place complements of an ignorant City Hall and apathetic riders. Hopefully, the posts will encourage others to complain to both the CTA and Moore.

As stated, I understand cost-benefit analysis. If all that is provided is a plastic portapotty, then it is certainly better than nothing. Cleanliness encourages more usage by those who are not deterred by the stench of feces or urine.

There are many misfits and vagrants who use the train for shelter, as well. They will avoid Dominicks; they don’t want to pay another fare and escalators are the most private areas. Perhaps, the consequences to our neighborhood's reputation are far more costly. This deserves attention.

Toni said...

Depending on the wait for a train, the ride from the Loop to Howard Street could be 45+ minutes. Not everyone who de-trains is close to home. Many still have a bus to wait for and X time until they're home.

The lack of public restrooms is a problem everywhere, security and safety are usually factors unfortunately. Dominick's facilities are filthy most of the time. Plus, fast food joints insist upon a purchase.