Montgomery Parks Seeks Public Restroom Pilot Feedback

Montgomery Parks is asking for public feedback on a high-tech public restroom installed at Flower Avenue Urban Park in Silver Spring.

Montgomery Parks launched a pilot program in the summer with Throne Labs, a Brentwood, Md.-based startup that uses technology to provide clean, safe restrooms that can be quickly placed without utility hookups. Throne units have been successfully used on the National Mall and at Navy Yard in the District.

The Throne unit at Flower Avenue Urban Park is made available by Silver Spring-based nonprofit Montgomery Housing Partnership (MHP) in partnership with Montgomery Parks and Throne.

Users can share their feedback by filling out an online survey.

Throne bathrooms are free to use and accessible with any mobile phone. The bathroom is equipped with a flushing toilet, fresh air, running water, and lighting. Users can access the restroom by texting the unit’s number or using the Throne app at no cost. 

Throne uses solar power, internet-connected sensors, and mobile technology to offer a more hygienic experience compared to traditional port-a-johns. The self-locking, ADA-accessible units feature hands-free toilets and sinks, changing tables, non-slip floors, and walls adorned with a floral pattern to deter graffiti. Water and sewage levels are monitored remotely, and User IDs are part of Throne’s accountability system, according to Washingtonian.

After use, users are asked to rate the cleanliness of the unit, and immediate cleaning or repairs are arranged based on user feedback. If a major issue is reported, the unit will close and alert Throne service technicians, who are available seven days a week.

The onboard sensors also monitor if someone has spent too much time in the bathroom.

“Very few people create issues in [public] bathrooms, don’t respect that amenity, and then ruin it for the majority,” Throne COO Jessica Heinzelman said to Washingtonian last year. “Most people really want and value that clean experience and will leave the bathroom as good as they find it.”

User IDs are a way to “create the accountability that is currently missing in the shared bathroom space,” Heinzelman said.

The temporary pilot project and online survey for the Throne at Flower Avenue Urban Park will end on Dec. 22, when the restroom will be removed.

Photo Courtesy of Throne Labs

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