I’m sure we’ve all been there. You’re walking around the city. It could be Seattle; it could be someplace else. Suddenly, you need to go. But where? You look frantically for a public restroom sign, but there are none to be seen. In desperation, you slip into a nearby cafe, tiptoeing past the “Restrooms for Customers Only” sign. On the way out, perhaps a twinge of guilt prompts you to buy a cup of coffee — partly renewing the problem that brought you there in the first place.
Now, the city has taken a step so that we can put these worries behind us. Whip out your cellphone, and bookmark Seattle’s first interactive toilet map. When nature calls, be it downtown or in our own neighborhood, you’ll be able to say with confidence, “Yeah, I know where the crapper is.”
All wisecracking aside, finding a public restroom is no joking matter for too many of our citizens. That is why the city has created this map: to assist both city and nonprofit agencies in their efforts to address the problems of the homeless. More information is available here.
The interactive map allows you to select the bathroom of your choice with a surprising degree of specificity. Bathrooms are color-coded to indicate the agency responsible for the facility: Human Services, Parks and Recreation and Seattle Public Libraries. To be clear, not all are open to the public; some are reserved for use by the homeless. Check boxes cause the map to display a subset of these restrooms. You can display restrooms with or without showers, or with or without laundry facilities. Bathrooms specifically for various target populations can also be displayed. My one criticism of this map is that you cannot zoom in.
In the interest of keeping this article local, I had a closer look at what the map had to say about our neighborhood. It identifies four public toilets in Wallingford. Can you name them? One is at the library on 45th Street. Apparently, all of our public library bathrooms are not merely for patrons only, but serve the larger community. Another public restroom is at Gas Works Park. The third is at Wallingford Playfield right near the playground. Last but not least is a bathroom at Meridian Park. I’m not so familiar with this park, so I can’t say exactly where the facilities are, but I’ll trust the map on this one.
Now you know where to go!