FOLLOWUP: Alki Beach’s new restroom building finally opens

A short time ago, Seattle Parks workers took down the fence and finally opened the long-complete comfort-station replacement at 57th SW and Alki Avenue SW. We’ve been trying for two weeks to get a status update and were most recently told last night by Parks spokesperson Rachel Schulkin that this was the latest hangup: “We are working on new technology for automatic locking doors to better address onslaught of vandalism currently occurring at restrooms throughout the city’s park system.” Then this morning she sent word that the restroom building (aka comfort station) would open this morning. This comes three months after Parks had told us the new building was “very close to opening,” Before that, there was an estimated opening date in late July, as they awaited structural-steel materials. Construction of the $638,000 three-stall comfort station began in late January, which in turn was about a year behind the original (pre-pandemic) schedule. This building replaced an old two-stall brick building that had accessibility challenges.

22 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Alki Beach's new restroom building finally opens"

  • bikerep December 1, 2021 (11:12 am)

    $638k and a year plus for a pooper! yay our city does things right ! lol..

    • Beach Cruiser December 1, 2021 (1:42 pm)

      The bathroom is now ADA compliant with the 1990 law. It only took them 31 years to come up with the funding and comply with the act. 

    • Wendell December 1, 2021 (2:09 pm)

      It depends on which side of the bathroom door you’re on… 

    • Zipda December 1, 2021 (9:16 pm)

      38K for bathroom and 600K for self locking doors.

  • M December 1, 2021 (12:23 pm)

    Why did it cost so much?  We are building a brand new house for considerably less than that.  

  • Frog December 1, 2021 (12:36 pm)

    “technology for automatic locking doors” — I wonder how that works.  Probably we will get lots of amusing stories in the future.  “Just sit tight honey, they will be here in three hours to let you out.”

  • El Jefe' December 1, 2021 (1:52 pm)

    Cost more than getting a house build. I should have been in construction instead of healthcare. Well I hope they will hire some staff to actually clean these toilets. Nastiest toilets I have ever seen. For a city with money I sure question where the money is going. 

    • newnative December 1, 2021 (2:25 pm)

      As a frequent visitor to a certain park, I can say that it’s not merely that the bathrooms aren’t cleaned enough, but someone is aggressively vandalizing them. As in tearing out new soap dispensers, smearing waste, throwing wet paper towels on the ceiling, painting the toilets. I personally scrubbed the ladies bathroom and found it in worse shape a few days later. I don’t know if it’s teenagers or the drinking vagrant that hangs out. But it’s disgusting. 

  • N December 1, 2021 (1:52 pm)

    What is the origination of the term “comfort station.”  Is there a difference between restrooms and comfort stations or that is the new term across city parks?

    • momosmom December 1, 2021 (2:30 pm)

      Merriam Webster says the first usage of the word comfort station was in 1913. So I’d say it is not a new term/word. And I remember seeing it when we’d pull into a rest stop during our camping trips as kids in the 1960’s

      The first known use of comfort station was circa 1913

    • Wseattleite December 1, 2021 (3:41 pm)

      Perhaps the facilities were offended by the label “restroom” as that boxes them into a group of “rooms” therefore prompting the use of “comfort stations” which identifies facilities exclusive of the “room” designation. 

    • JH December 2, 2021 (6:02 am)

      This article about the history of public toilets in the U.S. talks about the first “comfort stations” and why they were created.

      • JH December 2, 2021 (6:16 am)

        It also provides at least one framework of analysis for why we have busy urban parks and areas like Alki where visitors mostly rely on retailers’ restrooms. The article points out the inequity that both contributed to and is perpetuated by our current system of over-relying on private restrooms accessible only to those who can patronize a retailer in order to buy access to them.  

    • RW December 2, 2021 (6:48 am)

      The city should really rethink calling them “comfort stations” as that was a prevalent term during WWII for Asian brothels.  Tens of thousands of women were forcibly conscripted into becoming “comfort women” (prostitutes/sex slaves) and were brutally abused by soldiers. Those who resisted were executed. Just call the facilities “public restrooms” or “public toilets”. The rest of the world doesn’t seem to have a problem with the word “toilet.” 

      • WSB December 2, 2021 (1:49 pm)

        This isn’t a “city” thing. If you google for “comfort station” you will find references from many states as well as federal parks. For better or for worse, this is a term used nationwide. Perhaps an advocacy group could campaign to get park systems coast to coast to drop the term.

    • SF December 2, 2021 (12:17 pm)

      Whatever the origin, the term had an unfortunate usage during WWII.  Leaving the details as an exercise for the googler, but if I were in SPR PR, I’d move away from using that term.

      • AG December 2, 2021 (3:24 pm)

        I look forward to your upcoming series of tweets inveigling against the chorus of “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” and its tidings of comfort and joy. Is this seriously the biggest thing you’ve got to fuss about in December 2021? Congratulations to Seattle Parks on wrapping the project up. Onward.

  • vee December 1, 2021 (2:49 pm)

    stop complaining about everything and all the negativity,They look nice

  • leo December 2, 2021 (5:55 am)

    $638 K for 3 stalls?  At that price I expect an attendant wearing a tuxedo to open the bathroom door for me.

  • Robert Alexander December 2, 2021 (12:08 pm)

    It seems very obvious that the Parks Dept delayed opening the “comfort station” until the summer months passed.   They did not want the facility to be used or else they would have opened them when the facility was ready.  This inaction seems consistent with the way our parks have been managed.

  • Mj December 2, 2021 (10:49 pm)

    The dearth of public restrooms needs to be rectified.  

  • Shadowtripper December 12, 2021 (10:41 pm)

    Seattle’s leaders seem to think that putting some sort of a “automatic locking system” on a park bathroom door will solve a problem of vandalism.  Thousands of mental ill, drug addicted people roaming our streets terrorizing people and vandalizing public property will not be deterred from tearing a washbasin off the wall or using the restrooms which open, not toward public street view, but toward the water, for shooting up and making drug deals regardless of any lock.$630,000 and still looking for more add on’s.   I can’t wait to see what the conclusion to repairing the West Seattle bridge will entail.  I’m thinking a $10 toll each way.   If the bridge project  is similar to the bathrooms on Alki we are in a world of hurt.

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