Cambridge plans this Friday to officially unveil its first-ever 24-hour, publicly accessible toilet. The opening of the outhouse in General MacArthur Park, a tiny plaza in the middle of Harvard Square, caps years of debate and planning as well as the creation and duration of entities such as the Public Toilets Working Group and Advocates for a Common Toilet (ah, Cambridge).
The Harvard Square toilet is modeled after one in Portland, Ore., and is purported to cost up to $490,000, including for installation, which is complete. The city is quite proud of it, too, saying in a statement that the flush-toilet kiosk is "simple, sturdy, graffiti-resistant ... clean, safe, and environmentally-friendly..." While public buildings such as libraries and municipal offices are usually available for when nature calls, this spot represents the first standalone, dedicated outlet.
And, per Steve Annear at the Globe, Cambridge hopes the Harvard Square location serves as a model for other public toilets 'round the city, including the planned Central Square one that commanded $320,000 in last year's participatory budget process (i.e., residents made relief a priority).
· Cambridge to Open City's First Freestanding Outdoor Public Toilet [Globe]
· Cambridge Moves Forward with Public Toilet in Harvard Square [Crimson]
· Cambridge Residents Flush $320,000 Down the Toilet [Curbed Boston]
· Our Adventures in the People's Republic archive [Curbed Boston]
[Photo rendering via City of Cambridge]