November 7, 2023 - On Nov. 6, 2023, the Ann Arbor City Council approved a resolution for a one-year pilot program with Throne Labs Inc. for 10 public restrooms that will be installed by June 2024. The pilot program approval follows City Administrator Milton Dohoney Jr.'s series of downtown listening sessions that were convened in summer of 2022 and identified more public restrooms downtown as a top priority. As a result, city staff identified Throne as the pilot program restroom option.
Accessible by scanning a QR code or using a mobile app, Throne offers a turnkey restroom solution that includes all cleaning, servicing and user support, thus reducing the capital and time required to implement permanent restroom infrastructure. Baby-changing stations and menstrual products will be included in each location. The Throne design exceeds federal Americans with Disabilities Act standards to enable easy access for all members of the community.
“After conducting multiple listening sessions with downtown stakeholders, it became clear that an overarching goal was to provide safe and dignified public restroom options for all people regardless of ability, gender, race, housing status, culture and age," said Milton Dohoney Jr., city administrator. “The City of Ann Arbor aims to provide a welcoming and inclusive downtown experience for visitors and our community, and this pilot program will allow the city to achieve this goal, which, although temporary, will help us to determine where permanent public restrooms are needed in the downtown."
Funding for the $500,000 one-year pilot program was made available from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding received by the city and previously appropriated to the Major Grants Fund in the amount of $200,000; $132,000 from the University of Michigan; and $168,000 from the Downtown Development Authority (DDA).
Pilot program locations
The Throne agreement includes a minimum of 10 units, two of which will be piloted in the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority district. Based on the work of the Downtown Public Restroom Work Group, the following locations and timelines have been identified:
Unit 1 – Installed the full pilot period of 12 months.
Unit 2 – Shared by two locations, six months at each location.
200 block of North Fourth Avenue, south of Catherine Street on the west side of the street.
300 block of Maynard Street, between William Street and the Maynard parking structure on the west side of the street.
In the coming months, city staff will be working to identify additional partnerships and non-downtown locations for potential placements prior to the June launch.
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