The Long Wait for More Public Restrooms Downtown Is Over

Public bathroom trailers are opening at Gateway Center and on Smithfield Street to serve those who have gotta go. 
Potty Graphic 2 1024x576


Some long-awaited relief is coming to Downtown.

In a six-month pilot program, two temporary public restroom trailers are opening to serve the public who are visiting and living in the Golden Triangle.

The first in this Pittsburgh Potty Initiative was officially unveiled at 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, at the Gateway Center T Station Plaza at Stanwix and Liberty Avenue. This includes three stalls, one of which is ADA accessible. It is supposed to open on Saturday, Sept. 16.

The second trailer will open the week of Sept. 18 at Smithfield and Strawberry Way. This will include two stalls.

Each restroom will be equipped with running water, electricity, lighting and adjustable heating and cooling. 

And each restroom will be open and monitored even days a week, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Each location will undergo regular servicing and cleaning by Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership team members. They also will be supported by outreach and public safety providers from the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and nonprofit community. 

Advocates have been pushing for years to get public restrooms Downtown. Finding accessible toilets in the Golden Triangle became difficult at the height of COVID-19 precautions when several public bathrooms closed for safety reasons. But even three years later the lack of public restrooms has become a problem for tourists and visitors Downtown and has spurred public urination and defecation in some storefronts and alleys.

Wayward human waste emerged as a top issue for the Building Owners & Managers Association of Pittsburgh when pandemic-related closures cut both bathroom access and daily foot traffic in the Golden Triangle, former BOMA Executive Director Amanda Schaub said in 2022. A recent bathroom study sought by the association and conducted by Point Park University found no year-round public restrooms Downtown that are open 24/7.

“Public restrooms are an often overlooked but essential part of creating a welcoming environment for the thousands of people who come into Downtown every day.” says Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, in a release. The PDP will be managing the Pittsburgh Potty Initiative. 

The temporary trailers are a stopgap until permanent bathroom solutions can be developed by BOMA and other organizations.

The Pittsburgh Potty Initiative is made possible by $2 million in corporate and philanthropic support aimed at advancing initiatives that will improve the cleanliness and vitality of Downtown. 

“The private and philanthropic communities are pleased that a portion of their $2 million commitment is supporting public restrooms,” said Allegheny Conference CEO Stefani Pashman in a press release.

“This is only one in a series of nearer-term investments that will position Downtown Pittsburgh for further reimagination, revitalization and ultimately its bright future as the signature Main Street of the entire region.”

The PDP launched a new webpage with details on the Pittsburgh Potty, as well as a directory of other public restrooms located in various buildings throughout Downtown, including the Carnegie Public Library, Allegheny County Courthouse, the City County Building and Point State Park. Find it here

Categories: The 412