Transit center toilets to open!
There may be lots of potty talk tonight at Fridays After Five, but it's not because a swarm of toddlers is taking over the venue: at 5pm, the brand spanking new public restrooms at the Transit Center should be opened for the first time.
Getting the bathrooms working has been a, ahem, #1 priority for the city. (And maybe a #2 priority as well). Today was the target date, says transportation boss Judy Mueller. As of this afternoon, Mueller says, there were still a few issues with plumbing, lighting, and partitions between stalls– 18 in the women's room and eight in the men's room, in addition to 8 urinals. If those matters are not resolved, it's possible potty-needing patrons will be forced to contend one last time with the rows of porta-johns behind the rec center before the Sunday George Jones Pavilion show.
As for the rest of the $10+ million Transit Center, Mueller says it should be finished by November– after the outdoor concert season ends. The upper level will be filled by the Visitor's Center, which will man a booth and use the rest of the space for office suites. The lower level will be the transit center, where city buses will load and unload, and a small space that will likely be used as a coffee shop.
Critics have attacked the Center for its location and lack of "intermodality"– the best transit centers are those that allow travelers to move easily from one type of transportation to another, says transporation expert Peter Kleeman. Placing the transit center at the Amtrak station on West Main Street– an early plan– fit that bill, Kleeman says pointing also to the Greyhound station just a few block east on West Main.
But defenders of the Transit Center point out that bus riders unboarding at the transit center can easily continue their trip on foot or by bicycle. And even critics can't be "pissed" about convenient public restrooms, something the Mall has long lacked.
The toilets are open! "They are functional," says Judy Mueller, "but not finished."