April 13, 2022

Edmonton Closes 15 of 18 Public Washrooms at Transit Stations

I have been writing about the lack of public washrooms in Vancouver,  and Gordon has posted this video by CBC videographer Uytae Lee that outlines some perceptions about why there just is not an interest to provide public washrooms in Vancouver.

It’s something that I have been also been discussing with Judy Graves who formerly was the City of Vancouver’s homeless advocate for over three decades. Ms. Graves says the key is to have staffed public washrooms available, which helps with everyone’s comfort.

In Uytae Lee’s public washroom video he did not discuss the public washrooms that are below street level at Hastings and Main Street, that used to be pristine and sparkling.

This was, without meaning a pun, formerly the “go-to” place , and was staffed and kept very clean. Ms. Graves pointed out that staffing is key, for safety, and security.

Transit operator and emergency management specialist Saramaya Jasaitis sends this article by Kyra Markov with CTV Edmonton. That city has closed all but three  public washrooms at transit stations in the last few weeks.

Why?  Because the City of Edmonton recommended sealing off fifteen of the eighteen  washrooms in an “Enhanced Transit Safety Plan” in February.

In five years requests for emergency services on transit premises increased over 800 percent. Ten percent of the calls were for  people in distress in washrooms, resulting in 8,000 calls.

The transit public washrooms are not staffed.

Edmonton does not have safe drug consumption sites, but there are cameras at the stations which offer some oversight if someone overdoses.  This has been suggested as the reason for these public washrooms being used for drug ingestion.  With the washroom closures transit users are being asked to use washrooms in public parks and in city facilities.

There is no plan for the reopening of the public washrooms along the transit routes, which greatly impacts seniors and those travelling with children.

Edmonton has embarked on a pilot public washroom plan  which would set up temporary public washrooms in the city.  That initiative is also  trialling having a washroom attendant at the public washroom on Whyte Avenue.

You can take a look at the YouTube video below which outlines the situation and also includes some reaction from Edmonton transit users to the closure of the washrooms. There’s no update yet whether staffing the public washrooms is being considered.




images: burnabynow,ctv



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