Determining the appropriate number of Public Toilets in large park areas

  • Rene
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Determining the appropriate number of Public Toilets in large park areas

In a central city park of 1,100+ acres in southwestern USA, we have 23 sixty-year-old, worn and otherwise undesirable public toilets.

I am engaged in the effort to identify a planned program of replacement but I can find little information on how to determine the appropriate number of public toilets. If one is to undertake a multi-million dollar effort to replace these units, some standards or indicators of service level are needed.

The best I can find are recommendations that toilets be no more than 400 to 500 meters apart. But there is no indication as to size or how best to determine size. And the 400 to 500 meters appear to be based upon a convenient walking distance between public toilets but based upon what?

The issue is compounded because the overwhelming majority of visitors come to a building intense area of the park where there are large numbers of standalone and building interior toilets.

How can one best determine the optimum number of public toilets in dispersed and generally little-used areas? Any thoughts on this would be sincerely appreciated.
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  • Rene
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Re: Determining the appropriate number of Public Toilets in large park areas

I should have posted the information Dr. Muench had provided me before my post. It was a comprehensive overview of the SuSanA resources. My review of these did not, however, yield the information I was seeking:

(1)Search SuSanA discussion forum by looking at particular sub-categories or by searching with search terms.
Relevant forum sub-categories are:

Public toilets: forum.susana.org/170-shared-toilets-comm...ts-or-public-toilets

Public toilets in India : forum.susana.org/india

School toilets : forum.susana.org/27-schools-sanitation-and-hygiene-in-schools

Financing, taxes, tariffs, transfers : forum.susana.org/164-financing-taxes-tariffs-transfers

You could also make a post on the forum about this and ask. But to get more replies, it would be important to state a) what you have already found and b) what the context is.
(2)
The next step is to search the SuSanA library, using key terms in the search field:
www.susana.org/en/knowledge-hub/resource...publications/library

There is also a filter for school toilets (but I haven’t often seen anything on costs for school toilets):
www.susana.org/en/knowledge-hub/resource...2&vbl_2%5B%5D=&test=

If I put “public toilet” into the search field and select “exact phrase” I get these 46:
www.susana.org/en/knowledge-hub/resource...title=&author=&year=
For example this one looks interesting:
www.susana.org/en/knowledge-hub/resource...library/details/2933
Swachha Andhra Corporation (SAC (2016). Guidelines for Public and Community Toilets Management - By Cities in Andrah Pradesh - SNUSP II. GIZ

A related link is here:
www.susana.org/en/knowledge-hub/resource...library/details/2936

They have information about the business model selection here:
www.susana.org/en/community/integrated-c...ness-model-selection

The documents provided by UBSUP in Kenya might also include information on fees (they are also in the library).
(3)
Search through the project database:

www.susana.org/en/knowledge-hub/projects/database
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  • Rene
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Re: Determining the appropriate number of Public Toilets in large park areas

Australia has worked hard on the issue of public toilets. The Sydney Public toilet strategy is a marvel: www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/__data/asset...Strategy-Adopted.pdf

But it does not address the number of facilities except to refer to a general recommendation by the American Restroom Assn of a 10 minute walk or 500 meters. But, for large parks, how reasonable is that? And it's not clear what the rationale, other than common sense, is.

As for sizing of the actual facility, Brisbane's excellent detail for design guidelines [ www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/sites/default/fi...idelines_updated.pdf ] provides the following, which doesn't address my concerns:

The BCA does not provide meaningful guidance on the number of cubicles required in parkland or standalone amenities. In these
circumstances the number of water closet (WC) pans, urinals and hand basins should be determined through experience and prediction.

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Re: Determining the appropriate number of Public Toilets in large park areas

Do you have some photos of those old existing facilities (just from the outside is fine; I think we've all seen enough photos of filthy toilets but I am just curious how these 60-year old toilets look from the outside? And perhaps a map of the park showing the locations of the toilets (23 toilet blocks seems like quite a lot for a park)? I don’t understand the part about the “building intense part of the park”, what kind of buildings are those?

How does the toilet cleaning and maintenance work, has the municipality outsourced that to a private company? Would it remain the same in future? Using the toilets is free of charge, I assume?

You mention the public toilet strategies in Australia. I've said it before here on the forum but I just love, love, love the Australian public toilets! I think their guides are probably based on experience rather than science – but it seems to work! When we’re at a playground and my little 2-year old daughter says “poo!”, I just turn my head in all directions and there is usually a toilet in sight (and it usually includes an inclusive facility (ambulant/wheelchair users), too)! Perhaps the public toilet should generally be placed wherever there is a children's playground.

See you,
Elisabeth

Community manager and chief moderator of this forum
(Forum moderation used to be funded via SEI project ( www.susana.org/en/resources/projects/details/127 ))

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Brisbane, Australia
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @EvMuench
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  • Rene
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Re: Determining the appropriate number of Public Toilets in large park areas

Thank you ... so it seems that the only answer about sizing is "it depends" ... and that may just be the best there is. But, as we build new ones, we look to them being in situ for 50 years.

I agree ... Sydney and Brisbane provide perfect roadmaps for those interested in this topic. We are sharing both with public leadership to seriously engage in the conversation so aptly called "No Place To Go" in Leslie Lowe's book.

As for pictures, they are concrete block buildings with separate men and women sections and often including a maintenance worker equipment space.

Using toilets is free of charge.

Maintenance crews are City employees and likely it will remain that way.

23 seems like a large number to me too but I can't find anyone who knows what the rationale was when they were sited decades ago.

Here is the map location. I am talking about Balboa Park in San Diego, CA. The central plaze was the site of exhibitions in 1915 and 1935 and was intensely built out. Much of the rest of the park remains open. www.google.com/maps/place/Balboa+Park/@3...341479!4d-117.144553

Thank you.
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