The wild atmosphere of Whyte Avenue just got a little bit raunchier, as open air urinals flowed back onto the streets of Old Strathcona over the weekend, deemed necessary by the city after a number of vendor complaints.
“Every summer I have to use bleach and water to clean the landing on my back door,” said an employee at the Funky Pickle, a popular late-night pizza shop on the strip. “And twice I’ve cleaned up after people decide they have to go number two.”
This is the second year the City of Edmonton has attempted to curb the pee problem on “the Ave.,” but hasn’t come without criticism from vendors and those that shop, drink and just hang out in the area.
“Considering the number of alternative solutions, it’s the lowest-class fix. What are we, cattle?” asked Joelle Johnston, on an outdoor patio on Whyte yesterday afternoon.
The urinals are being placed at three side-street locations. The “porta johns” are put out at 10 p.m. Friday every night and taken away by 8 a.m. the next day. They’ll be a fixture every Friday and Saturday night until September, and are costing the city $20,000.
“That’s disgusting,” said Elephant and Castle manager Melanie Hill. “People won’t be peeing in the alley, but it’s still gross.”
The urinals are very public, with no doors or walls, and have enough room for four people at one time, and are strictly for men.
Hill said that though she doesn’t agree with publicizing our private moments, it’s technically not a fair system, as only men can use them.
“Is the real problem walking by someone while they’re peeing, or stepping in some of it? That’s never happened to me before,” Johnston said, agreeing that permanent outdoor bathrooms would be a better solution.
“They’ve cultivated common areas that are supposed to be open to the community down here, so why don’t they have something like that installed?”