When you gotta go, you gotta go. But is there an oasis that’s clean… and safe? Where you don’t feel the pressure of having to buy a $4 cup of coffee or a McRib? Yes. The answer is yes! Sprinkled throughout L.A. are Parisian-styled public restrooms that are not only free to use, but they are cleaned after every single use and monitored by attendants who keep the facilities safe.
These men and women make sure no funny business is going on inside. They keep the line in order. And they even track the time, date and sex of each bathroom user. The location at East Hollywood is used by about 50-75 people a day. Only about 15% of the visitors are women.
It’s safe to say that these facilities are the safest, cleanest places to tidy up in all of L.A.
Currently, there are 16 staffed “pit stops” run by the Department of Public Works from Echo Park to Venice to Wilmington to Skid Row. Nine of them are portable facilities, but the others are so beautiful and French-looking you may have passed them right by never knowing their true purpose or the people who lord over them.
On a recent afternoon at the Vermont/Santa Monica location, patron Michael Hicks, a Long Beach resident, had ridden Blue Line to the Red Line on this way to West Hollywood. But before he continued his travel west, he popped into the bathroom. “It was the first time I ever used this one,” Hicks said, sporting a Good Vibes t-shirt. He appreciated that his bike fit into the restroom even with the door closed. When he was done he was ready for his bike ride west.
The Keys are the Attendants
Attendant Andre Broom, a South L.A. native who was hired just a few weeks ago, says patrons have about four minutes to fresh
en up. If they want to get out quicker than that they can press a button and the doors will part. “We clean whatever is dirty inside or outside,” Broom says. “Even if it’s clean we clean it.”
As the sun begins to set next to the Red Line station stands bathroom attendant Bruce Mason. Mason is a Louisiana native who moved to L.A. several years ago. His smile is unmistakable: it’s big and wide and his gold teeth shimmer in the last moments of sunlight.