Kai Ryssdal: It’s not just me, right? I mean, public toilets have been disappearing in this country for a good, long while.
Elizabeth Yuko: Absolutely. It was something that I think came to our attention a bit more during the pandemic, especially the early days. But really, we haven’t seen the construction of new public restrooms — genuinely public restrooms, that is. So not restrooms that are in retail establishments, or theaters, or hotels, or bars, or restaurants, but actual facilities built by and maintained by either the city or the state. But yeah, the last major wave of those that were built was in the 1950s, during, you know, the expansion of the highways, and they were rest stops. In between the ’60s and ’80s, you saw a lot of closures for money reasons, because of concerns about crime or vandalism or drug use. And 9/11 really was the final nail in the coffin for a lot of the remaining public restrooms, and a lot have been closed since.
There is a serious lack of restrooms in Denver. Most of the light rail stations in Denver don’t have any.