The city is starting to develop a plan for adding more public restrooms downtown, where available bathrooms are scarce and historic buildings are being damaged by public urination.
Baltimore city officials announced an effort to install public restrooms in the city’s downtown as part of an effort to provide more access to bathrooms and preserve historic buildings, many of which are slowly being damaged by urine. Public bathrooms can be a crucial lifeline for unhoused people, as well as a major convenience for anyone walking around a city.
As Brenna Smith explains in The Baltimore Banner, “The city’s lack of public restrooms is almost as historic as its buildings. Despite the homeless community asking for decades, the city resisted erecting more until recently.” Homeless advocates say the lack of public restrooms poses health risks and increases risk for unhoused people who have to find isolated places to go. “There are well-documented medical consequences to holding urine for too long. The National Institute of Health found it increased the likelihood of bladder infections, and according to Harvard Medical School, it can even make it harder to relieve yourself over time,” Smith points out.
The city is looking to Portland, Oregon for an example of a durable, safe public restroom design dubbed the Portland Loo, but a final budget, design, and locations, have not been selected.
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