Building a better (public) bathroom

Pg06-Opinion-Mapes, Katta


As a world traveler, I have used public and private bathrooms in more than 20 countries.

In too many, searching for and using these bathrooms is not for those with weak bladders.

In India, for example, the common public bathroom is a shack with three or four holes in the ground.

Still, this is better than defecating on the side of the street.

Japan also has “squat toilets,” which are clean but still hard to use for anyone who cannot easily squat. They also have toilets with the bowls we are familiar with.

Besides the common availability of public bathrooms in America, I also applaud the current trend of installing the toilet paper dispenser halfway up the wall so that you don’t have to nearly do a head stand to simply get a few sheets off of the roll.

The next trend I would like to see in public bathroom design is to have the disability stall with its taller toilet be placed in the first stalls available when one walks into the bathroom.

This would be a welcome accommodation for those who are not in a wheelchair but find it difficult to walk to the end of the stall line.

The toilets in the disability stalls are typically 2 inches taller than those in regular stalls, which can make a critical difference for people with knee problems or difficulties sitting down.

After this improvement, I would ask the bathroom fairy to add a urinal in all unisex bathrooms. I know that I cannot expect the toilet seat to be down when I walk in.

I am not a germaphobe, but I don’t like having to put the dirty seat down when it is left up.

A urinal would give easy access to men without them having to lift up the toilet seat.

A cheaper alternative would be for public restrooms to install a toilet seat that closes itself.

Such seats are conveniently available on Amazon.

To anyone who ends up in a position of authority to design the public bathrooms of the future, hear my call and heed my rant.

Mapes has been a patron of public bathrooms all over the world.

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