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Public Toilets Initiative

The City of Cambridge is engaging with community and business partners to explore options for expanding public toilet facilities in commercial squares, parks, and playgrounds. 

Solutions under consideration include the purchase and installation of one or more free-standing permanent public toilets (such as the Portland Loo) in the city’s busiest commercial squares, expanding the number of portable toilets in parks and playgrounds, and working with real estate developers to include public restrooms in new commercial development projects.

In 2012, the City convened a Public Toilets Working Group to discuss the issue of public toilets citywide.  The group includes representatives from the City Manager’s Office, the Mayor’s Office, the Cambridge Public Health Department, the Department of Public Works, the Community Development Department, the Cambridge Police Department, the Department of Human Service Programs, the Historical Commission, and the Inspectional Services Department.


In 2012–2014, the Public Toilets Working Group has:

  • Spoken with several U.S. cities (Boston, New York City, Portland, Seattle) about their experiences with operating automatic public toilets and restroom facilities.
  • Mapped existing facilities across the Cambridge.
  • Developed a signage plan for increasing awareness about existing facilities.
  • Examined site possibilities for a free-standing public toilet in Harvard Square.
  • Conducted targeted surveys to better understand the needs of the community, human services organizations, local businesses, universities, and other groups. The surveys closed on Oct. 18, 2013.
  • Released a summary report of the 2013 Public Toilets Survey: Cambridge Residents, Workers & Visitors (PDF).

Updated on February 13, 2014


For more information about the city's public toilets initiative, please contact:

Suzy Feinberg, MPH
Public Information Officer


Cambridge Public Health Department
119 Windsor Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
617-665-3800 (main)
617-665-3888 (fax)
617-643-0744 (TTY)

Hours: Monday-Friday:
8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
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Derrick Neal
Chief Public Health Officer



Cambirdge Health Alliance

Cambridge City
City of Cambridge