If you’re out and about in Adams Morgan or any other D.C. nightlife destination, where do you go? “Go,” as in, use the facilities?
Via DCBlogs, we come across a lovely blog post, “Exercising My Right to Pee” by La Acera, where the author retells a story about wanting to use the restroom at the McDonald’s at 18th Street NW and Columbia Road. But a “bathroom bouncer” had restricted the blogger’s “God-given, constitutionally protected right to pee,” despite her boyfriend being in line at the register purchasing some McDonald’s edible after a night out in the neighborhood.
Apparently, this problem is on a lot of people’s minds. While there are plenty of bars with available restrooms—they sorta have to have toilets to be in business, after all—the alleyways off 18th Street NW in Adams Morgan have been used for years as de facto toilets by weekend warriors. (During hot, humid weather, the alleyway between 18th and Champlain streets, right behind Washington City Paper‘s offices, is transformed into our own version of Rome’s Cloaca Maxima.)
This is not a new issue. Public urination will be something that goes hand in hand with urban living. (Just be glad we opted not to go for a pun on that expression.) Or does it?
As Greater Greater Washington reminds us today, the nation’s capital isn’t very progressive in public restroom access. Sure, large public facilities like Smithsonian museums and Union Station are available for use—ahem, Larry Craig—but the reality is that most locals and visitors around town have to find a hotel, coffee shop, or restaurant to use the loo. Sure, there are plenty of government office buildings in the city, but accessing restrooms there usually involves going through a metal detector. And that isn’t ideal when your bladder is full.
The American Restroom Association, a Baltimore-based organization that advocates greater public access to restroom facilities, has pushed Metro in recent years to make its relatively unknown station restrooms more readily available to the public.
Greater Greater Washington explores the possibility of adding pay-per-use public toilets around the city:
While many Americans may find the concept of paying to use the john to be anathema, the truth is that you already pay part of the cost to maintain the restrooms at any shop or restaurant you visit, even if you don’t use them. When push comes to shove, I doubt most people would balk at paying a quarter to be able to relieve themselves.
And a pay toilet might just be better than the restrooms at Dan’s Cafe!
Photo by mulmatsherm via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0