In an effort to handle its nighttime public urination problem, Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is considering installing urinals that disappear below street level during the day. Unlike the automated, self-cleaning toilets planned for Toronto and Vancouver, which are enclosed booths with doors that that automatically open after a set time period, the Urilift system is a two-meter high stainless steel cylinder with three alcoves, each with a urinal, and no doors.
By day, the Urilift is lowered below street level for a nice clean look. Then at night, an operator comes by with a remote and the Urilift hydraulically lifts to sidewalk level in about two minutes. Then the unit is ready to serve all the nighttime party animals who don’t mind peeing in a very exposed public urinal.
Because there are no doors, there is little danger of any unauthorized or illegal activities. San Francisco and Seattle’s auto-toilets have been derided as dens for drug dealers and prostitutes. In addition, the presence of an attendant nearby to lower the system in the morning means it’s unlikely a drunken reveler who slumps over the Urilift will wake up under the street.
The urinals are designed exclusively for men, and more specifically, for male drinkers. The $75,000 system has been installed across the Netherlands, and have spread to London and Belfast, but Victoria will be the first North American city to try them out.
Since it’s my tax dollars paying for this system, I contacted Urilift to find out more about it. They sent me the above photos and this video. Enjoy.