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Potty all the time

Monday, November 14, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

The surprisingly convoluted effort to install 24-hour public toilets downtown continued last week, with a memo from the city’s Public Works and Health and Human Services departments about the progress so far. As part of the pilot program, city staff has opted to purchase two single-use ADA-compliant portable toilets but not staff them with attendants. That will cost about $65,000 (though that does not seem to include the cost of cleaning the units). As for where the toilets will go, the departments are working with the Austin Police Department to find somewhere in view of a HALO camera. According to the memo, “The reason for this was two-fold. First, staff will be able to observe use and frequency and secondly for site security. Staff is working with APD to capture and retain video footage for analysis.” And, apparently, since the end of August, there has been public access to outside City Hall restrooms when security is present, which is from roughly 6:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on weekends. (To be perfectly honest, the Austin Monitor is not sure where these restrooms are located but will scope it out the next time we’re killing time at City Hall.)

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