Ann Arbor gives the green light for high-tech public bathrooms

Toilet paper. (Pixabay)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Ann Arbor City Council has given the “OK” for a pilot program that would bring up to 10 high-tech public restrooms to Tree Town.

During its Monday night meeting, the council approved a resolution for a one-year program with Throne Labs Inc which will provide temporary, ADA-accessible bathrooms with touchless features and sustainable infrastructure.

Officials said the need for more public restrooms was identified during a series of listening sessions conducted this past summer by City Administrator Milton Dohoney Jr.

“After conducting multiple listening sessions with downtown stakeholders, it became clear that an overarching goal was to provide safe and dignified public restroom options for all people regardless ofs ability, gender, race, housing status, culture and age,” Dohoney Jr. said in a notice. “The City of Ann Arbor aims to provide a welcoming and inclusive downtown experience for visitors and our community, and this pilot program will allow the city to achieve this goal, which, although temporary, will help us to determine where permanent public restrooms are needed in the downtown.”

The new restrooms, anticipated to be installed by June 2024, will be accessible by using a QR code or mobile app. Each will be equipped with baby-changing stations and menstrual products. Throne Labs Inc. will service and clean the bathrooms.

The pilot program will run from the summer of 2024 to the summer of 2025, according to the project’s website.

So far, locations for only two out of the 10 bathrooms have been decided on. One will stay in one place for a full year on the 100 block of East Washington Street. The other will spend six months on the 200 block of North Fourth Avenue and six months on the 300 block of Maynard Street.

Funding for the $500,000 pilot programs comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, the Downtown Development Authority and the University of Michigan.

Learn more here.

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.