JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - In a well meaning attempt to cut down on drug dealing, public sex, and other behaviors, downtown and indeed, most of Jacksonville's public areas, closed down all public bathrooms.
But maybe the answer is very simple and already in use in thousands of cities across Europe.
The main objection that the downtown community has to public bathrooms is rooted in the area's history with the concept. In the 1950's there were lavatories installed in Hemming Park which became a public scandal -- mostly due to their design.
One doesn't need to be very imaginative to guess what happened in the 1970's with the urban explosion of drugs and crime in these dark, impossible-to-monitor little subterranean getaways.
Apparently the lingering psychic scars have prevented generations of Jacksonvillians from even mentioning the idea of public bathrooms ever again.
But the problems ascribed to them are easily solved by simple design changes.
An open bottom prevents anything from happening between more than one set of legs that wouldn't immediately be visible. And an open top leaves the area well ventilated and more sanitary.
Accompanying this article are a few attractive and easy to replicate designs that are familiar sites throughout the cities of Europe.
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