Chicago’s long-awaited pilot program for public restrooms finally has lift-off. After years of pushing an initiative to trial public restrooms in the city and finally brokering a deal with JCDecaux last year, Alds. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33rd) and Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) recently announced that bathrooms were “ready for installation” and locations are now in the process of being finalized.
“We have never been closer to having a public bathroom pilot in Chicago,” Ald. Daniel La Spata told constituents in a newsletter. “Meeting with JCDecaux today, they confirmed that the first four high-quality public bathrooms are ready for installation as part of their contract with the City. I’m excited to see the City work with such an experienced operator and hopeful that we can determine appropriate locations in the very near term.”
According to their website, French company JCDecaux, who was chosen to install and manage the public bathrooms, is the operator of the world’s largest network of self-cleaning public toilets with over 2,500 toilets in 28 countries.
JCDecaux is also the number one outdoor advertising company worldwide and manages Chicago’s bus shelters. The initial four JCDecaux public restrooms will be placed in central Chicago in highly traveled neighborhood corridor areas. Their success will then be carefully assessed before more restrooms are potentially added in the future.
The pilot program comes after the Chicago Tribune investigated the availability of public restrooms in the city back in 2001 and found fewer than 500 structures contained free public restrooms “with few or no barriers to entry, such as security checkpoints or client-only access.”
JCDecaux’s biggest place of operation is Paris where 435 public toilets are used by over 15 million people a year making them the world’s largest network of automatic toilets and the most visited places in Europe. The company reportedly has 150 employees in Paris who are dedicated to toilet servicing and maintenance.
With JCDecaux’s public restroom designs varying in cities around the world, it isn’t yet clear how they will look but they will be “high-quality” and “self-cleaning”.
[Featured image from JCDecaux]