Visitors and residents out exploring the city will no longer need to duck into a cafe or store to purchase a drink they didn’t really want, just to be able to use the bathroom as a paying customer.
Just in time for summer, Boston officials have launched an interactive website — complete with a map — that lists by neighborhood where every public restroom operated by the city can be found.
The site was launched recently by Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Commission on Affairs of the Elderly, according to city officials. It’s part of the Age-Friendly Boston initiative, which challenges “institutions to consider how changes to policy and practice” can improve the quality of life for aging residents.
The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and the Department of Innovation and Technology teamed up with the commission and several other departments to create the website.
While the aim of the project was to help the elderly conveniently find a way to the nearest bathroom, Walsh noted that it serves the greater public — including people with disabilities, parents of young children, and the many tourists who flock to the region in the summer to take in the sights.
“The restrooms map is an important initiative in our Age-Friendly Boston Action Plan, and it responds directly to feedback we heard from older Bostonians,” Walsh said in a statement. “Everyone benefits from making our city more age-friendly, and this is an example of how we are making available resources more accessible to all our residents.”
People looking for a bathroom to, well, use, can go to the website, type in the neighborhood or landmark they’re near, select the day of the week to be sure the bathroom is open, and quickly find the closest one. The map will even give users a quick rundown of what to expect from the restroom once they arrive at the destination.
For example, if you’re in the South End on a Tuesday, you’ll be directed to two public bathrooms on Tremont Street, with a list of features for each one. Details about the lavatories include whether the bathrooms have a wheelchair-accessible stall or a changing table.
The project also reveals something that many people might not have known before: You’re allowed to use bathrooms at many of the fire stations and police stations throughout Boston. Also included are Boston Centers for Youth & Families and Boston Public Library branches. There are plans to map out other locations soon.
Of course, you could always opt for one of the seven stand-alone city toilets around town as well.
Here’s the address for the site: www.boston.gov/departments/311/public-restrooms-city-boston.Steve Annear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.