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Cadman Plaza to Get Self-Cleaning Public Bathroom with Panic Button

By Janet Upadhye | October 24, 2013 7:21am
 DOT proposed an automated public toilet for Cadman Park Plaza.
DOT proposed an automated public toilet for Cadman Park Plaza.
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New York City DOT

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — This is the john of the future.

The Department of Transportation plans to install an automated public toilet at the entrance to Cadman Plaza, on the border of Downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights.

The toilet — designed by Spanish street-furniture company Cemusa — will have programmed 15-minute-use cycles that cost 25 cents a pop. After 12 minutes, an alarm will go off to alert the user that the doors will open in three minutes. The unit will sense when the user has left and wash and dry itself after each use.

A panic button will be installed at waist- and floor-level to alert the fire department to any bathroom emergencies.

"This location is great for bike commuters, park patrons, tourists coming over the Brooklyn Bridge and bus drivers," the DOT's Kevin Forma said.

The toilet will be made of stainless steel and laminated glass and weigh 7,442 pounds. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and serviced twice daily by maintenance teams.

Community Board 2 originally requested a public toilet in 2007 for Columbus Park, near Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn, but the location ultimately wasn't feasible due to structural requirements.

The board — which did not have quorum to make an official vote at their Parks and Recreation subcommittee meeting on Monday night — was in full support of the location and design of the restroom. They will bring the proposal in front of the full board for a vote at an upcoming meeting.

DOT still needs approval for the toilet from the Public Design Commission. If approved, construction will begin in early 2014 and the bathroom could be open as early as May 2014.

Cemusa toilets have already been installed at Grand Army Plaza, Madison Square Park and Corona Plaza.