Time for Real Toilets

Cesar Chavez Park deserves better restroom facilities
Cesar Chavez Park plastic toilets are in deplorable condition

“I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down,” said the Big Bad Wolf to the lazy little piggies who built their houses out of lightweight, temporary materials.  Yesterday the big bad northerly wind did just that to a pair of plastic porta-potties near a park entrance on Spinnaker Way.  See photo below.

Isn’t it about time to replace these lightweight, temporary outhouses with sturdy, permanent structures?  The Yacht Basin, about 150 yards from the park boundary, has a whole series of bathrooms, each equipped with flush toilets, sinks, and some with hot water. At other parks in the area, such as nearby Pt. Isabel, visitors can use restrooms with flush toilets and cold water sinks in the parking lot near the Mudpuppy Cafe.  On the far end of that park stand cinderblock campground-style restrooms without flush and without sinks, but still a big step up from the plastic porta-potties that have served Cesar Chavez Park for what — twenty years?

The plastic restrooms in our park are covered in graffiti, and despite regular service by the rental company that provides them, in the afternoon of a busy weekend day they are in deplorable condition.  I saw a family approach the restrooms over Christmas. The daughter, who looked to be about twelve, tentatively opened the door of one of them.  She made a face.  “Eeeww!  I’m not going in THAT!” she said, and the family turned away to go home.

Cesar Chavez Park has become better known over the years.  The temporary porta-potties might have been OK when the park was new and visitors were few.  Today, they jar the eye as much as they offend the nose.  Cesar Chavez Park deserves toilet facilities on a par with other valued parks in this region.  In November, Berkeley voters passed a substantial increase in parks funding.  It’s time to invest some of that funding in upgrading the restroom facilities at Cesar Chavez Park.

portapotties-600w
Plastic porta-potties blown off their pad, tipped sideways and blown some distance toward the road at an entrance to Cesar Chavez Park on Tuesday, Dec. 30 2014.

 

Restrooms at Berkeley Yacht Basin, about 150 yards from Cesar Chavez Park boundary, feature flush toilets,.
Restrooms at Berkeley Yacht Basin, about 150 yards from Cesar Chavez Park boundary, feature flush toilets,.
Permanent rest room with flush toilet and cold water sinks, near Mudpuppy's at Point Isabel Regional Shoreline
Permanent restrooms with flush toilet and cold water sinks, near Mudpuppy’s at Point Isabel Regional Shoreline
Permanent Restrooms at east end of Pt. Isabel park.
Permanent campground-style restrooms at east end of Pt. Isabel. Primitive but still a big step above Cesar Chavez Park facilities.

 

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