This week, in a nearly unanimous vote, the Northside Community Council endorsed plans by CincyPHLUSH to install Portland Loo public restrooms across Hamilton County along Metro routes. Northside is home to a new Metro transit center, but there are no restroom facilities open to the public.
In a letter of support to county commissioners, Northside president Becky Smolenski Finnigan explained accessibility challenges in her community.
“One of Northside’s greatest assets is its historic business district, but the majority of our century buildings are not ADA accessible,” wrote Finnigan. “Our only public restrooms – in the McKie Center and the Northside Public Library – have limited hours and are far from the hub. Nearby Hoffner Park has no permanent restroom facilities, adding cost and complexity to special events and criminalizing unhoused residents.”
CincyPHLUSH believes Metro hubs are perfect places for longer-distance bus travelers to find relief with a Portland Loo. Metro has other key locations that could really benefit riders – think of some of the more popular Park-and-Ride locations. A Portland Loo will provide relief if someone has an emergency.
“Emergency” is a keyword here. CincyPHLUSH reminds us to think of pregnant mothers, or older people with bladders not as strong as in their younger days. Think of people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, from which at least 10% of the population suffers. Or, just think of how uncomfortable it can be when you realize you made it through your big jug of water for the day but forgot to use the facilities before leaving work. Let’s stop hiding behind dumpsters, or just past the tree line. CincyPHLUSH believes we should stop turning ourselves into criminals because something happens that no one can prevent!
As Northside president Becky Smolenski Finnigan explained in her letter, “Meeting this most everyday of human needs requires an act of political will.” Politicians are starting to take notice, too. In addition to being endorsed by the American Restroom Association, the Better Bus Coalition, and the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, CincyPHLUSH has been endorsed by councilmember Chris Seelbach, and council hopefuls Michelle Dillingham, Brian Garry, Jackie Frondorf, and Kurt Grossman. More endorsements are expected in the following week.