Seattle’s public toilets for sale after even the crack users won’t use them

Last summer when we were in Seattle we missed out on the public toilets. After reading about them in this New York Times article, I can’t say I’m sorry.

Five automated public toilets were opened in 2004, but one detail was overlooked when deciding where to put them. Location. Location. Location. As it turns out, the public toilets were put where too many drug dealers and transients hang out.

Even though the toilets are supposed to clean themselves after every use, the traffic was the messy type and too much for a self-cleaning toilet to handle. The trash left behind by the users created a situation where the automatic cleaning system didn’t function. Plus, the toilets were used for other types of business besides toilet business. Drug deals, prostitution, smoking crack–that kind of thing.

Eventually, though, the toilets became so nasty, even crack addicts didn’t go in them.

Since the toilets cost Seattle $5 million dollars, the city is interested in recouping some of the loss. They are up for sale on eBay for $89,000 a piece. I know someone who turned a Port-A-John into public art with decorations. Perhaps an art museum might want to take the initiative and buy one.

The problem with the toilets isn’t the toilets, it’s the people who use them. Because other cities have tried similar toilets, Seattle’s problem has created a stir.

Europeans have managed to use public toilets just fine. Folks in the U.S. are trying to figure it out.

The one in the photograph is in London. According to ILoveButter who posted this on Flickr, it costs money to use the toilet. However, it is very clean.

What are the world’s dirtiest cities?