Jefferson Park

Kiley and I opportunistically stopped in to check the bathrooms at Jefferson Park while out with a group of friends. The restrooms were quite easy to find not only because they were housed in their own freestanding building, but also the lights from within each restroom seemed to glow as the sun sank. Honestly, we kept talking about how great the lighting was at the time (see documentation photos)!


As we approached the building from the west side of the park, we noticed it had the gate doors that we’d learned a bit in our meeting with the Lead Worker a couple of days before. We reflected on how the reasoning behind installing those verses the solid doors was a still unclear to us. We walked inside and quickly noticed an open baby changing table and a hand blower directly beside it. There were three or four stalls (one occupied during the time of observation), one sink, one soap dispenser, and one metal mirror (much clearer/less worn than the other ones we’ve seen [we could actually see our reflection in this one — see very serious looking documentation photo]). Surprising to me was the amount of light in the bathroom: two skylights (most notability), overhead lights at each entrance,  6 or so textured glass bricks to the outside and rather normal looking lighting above the mirror and over the stalls to provide adequate coverage. Also notable was that there were two entrances into the bathroom, one from the west (where we entered) and one from the east (where we eventually exited). Both had the gated doors and overhead bulb lighting (not illuminated at the time of observation) mentioned before.

IMG_6346 IMG_6345 IMG_6344 IMG_6343IMG_6347IMG_6348

We walked through the east door and looked to the right where we saw a large trashcan and a small metal cover on the side of the concrete building. We opened the cover and found a spigot, presumably for a hose. In the same interview mentioned above, we learned that the restrooms a washed down daily with water from a hose so it made sense to use that it was there.

IMG_6352 IMG_6354

I had been to this park before and remembered a passerby talking about going to the restroom in the community center in the park. I suggested we walk by to see if the restrooms are accessible to the outside, like the ones we’d visited in Greenlake. As we made our way around the building, we found an electrical outlet near several raised beds. Along another side of the building, we found a water fountain. And cutting through the next two, we saw a large entrance to the building. Kiley walked up to the door and found that it’s closed on the weekend (she also noticed a “Safe Place” sign posted on the door). We figured we’d have to come back during the week to see if restrooms are open to the general public during the open hours. As we walked back to our friends on the east side of the building (near the basketball court), we found another spigot on the wall. I looked around for a door (hoping it might mean a bathroom), but didn’t find one.IMG_6358 IMG_6361 IMG_6362 IMG_6365 IMG_6366

Seward Park

I biked to Steward Park with a friend and we ended up at the most northern part of the park sitting at the water’s edge (see the scenic documentation photos). I decided to check out the restrooms (freestanding building) that were located nearby where we were sitting, but found them to be closed. Next to the comfort station was a portable toilet with a line of a three people waiting outside. Two of the people were waiting for a small child inside (who they kept opening the door to check on). I waited to the side for a few minutes while the line died down. When I finally went inside I noticed that it was pretty large, the floor was relatively clean (compared to the other portable toilets we’ve observed for this study) and was outfitted with hand sanitizer.

2015-05-30 18.36.38 2015-05-30 18.36.44

Olympic Sculpture Park

Date: Monday, May 25

Time: 3:45 PM

Location: Olympic Sculpture Park, PACCAR Pavilion (upper story restrooms)

Later in the day, my friend and I (Kiley) went to Olympic Sculpture Park and before walking around, I went straight into the restroom to see what the difference was since it was an indoor facility. Part of me thought that it was possible there could be a dispenser in this facility since it’s part of the SAM, as opposed to a typical park, and the restroom was indoors. The restroom was well-kept and clean. There was a paper towel dispenser next to the sink and trashcans with paper bags in the restroom stalls. There were no dispensers. This time I explicitly searched for plugs in the restroom, and I found some under the sink, which made me excited again. However, power probably wouldn’t be a problem here since PACCAR Pavilion gets power throughout the building and there were plugs right outside the door too.

IMG_6265 IMG_6266 IMG_6267 IMG_6268 IMG_6270 IMG_6271 IMG_6272

Madison Park

Date: Monday, May 25

Time: 1:15 PM

Location: Madison Park

I (Kiley) went to Madison Park with my friend after we got lunch in the area. I didn’t think about the comfort station there until we walked up to the playground. It was Memorial Day Weekend, and the playground was full of families, both men and women, and young children. I gazed around the playground but didn’t see any restroom. We walked down to the water and sat down at a bench. I noticed behind us there was a building and realized it was a comfort station. There were two doors facing the water, one labeled a men’s restroom and the other a women’s, but both of these doors were locked with a bolt. I walked up the steps on the left to try to see if there was any other way to get in. There was a door on the side that was unlabeled. On the other side of the building, facing away from the water were two open doors to men’s and women’s restrooms. I went into the women’s restroom and it was fairly well-kept. No dispensers, as expected, and also no trashcans in the stalls. However, what I noticed was that there was a glowing green plug above the changing station in the bathroom. This is perfect for what we need in terms of power!

IMG_6249 IMG_6250 IMG_6251 IMG_6255 IMG_6256 IMG_6257 IMG_6258 IMG_6259 IMG_6260 IMG_6261 IMG_6262

Gas Works Park


Date: Sunday, May 24

Time: 4:15 PM

Location: Gas Works Park

I (Kiley) went to Gas Works Park with a friend in the late afternoon on Sunday. When we were on our way out, he said he needed to go to the restroom, so I decided to take a look inside the women’s restroom. Even though I had been in there before, I had forgotten how sickening it was inside. There were gnats circling all around, and I didn’t breath out of my nose because I guessed it would smell foul. The ground was dirty and there was toilet paper on the ground. This bathroom didn’t appear to be serviced by anyone, at least not frequently. As we were informed before, there were no dispensers.

IMG_6236 IMG_6237 IMG_6238 IMG_6240 IMG_6241 IMG_6242

Sensor Meeting

sensorsgroupKiley, Allie, and I met with Lilian de Greef and Edward Wang, both PhD students in the Ubiquitous Computing lab at UW, about possible sensors for tracking product levels in feminine hygiene dispensers. We began by showing them pictures of the dispenser we’d recently disassembled and they immediately offered a variety of options, which were then vetted by the group:

  • Magnetic Sensor
  • IR sensor
    • Sonic – something from the top
  • Circuit inside, resistance changes
    • More material you cover, the more resistant it is
    • don’t use dangerous amount of current! (what if the person servicing the dispenser is wearing a metal bracelet?)
  • stretchable resistance, electrical resistance changes as it changes
  • Sound sensor
    • how many times was the coin operator turned
  • at dispenser – switch bend (momentarily)
    • momentary switches
  • two magnets, one on the top, one at switch
    • they will interfere with each other, so probably not a good idea
  • sensor mounted at top moving toward
  • magnet – not work because of cross talk (proximity between tampons and pads)
  • *absolute sensor
  • TDR – know what part of wire you’re pressing on
  • slider – resistive material – more material more resistive
  • long linear potentiometer (like a dimmer)
  • multiple switches as it goes down
    • could approximate # of tampons from that
  • IR proximity sensors array – calibration/threshold for tampons
    • covered → something there
    • not covered → not there
    • uses “lasers”
    • whole array is 2 types of signals → make threshold between them
    • make sure to calibrate with door closed
    • but we might want to know what the signals are when the door is open and closed (so we know when it’s serviced)
  • can tell if door is opened or closed (serviced)
    • complete circuit → the door is closed
    • not complete → door open
  • contact sensor
  • magnets – complete the circuit
  • light sensor – note every time it’s exposed to light (door is opened)
    • not good because we don’t know dispenser would be filled all the way every time
  • magnetic proximity sensor w/ coil inductors
    • change in magnetic field
    • draw wire to IO channel on Arduino

IMG_6217 IMG_6216 IMG_6215

Power & communication concerns

  • turn on and off by itself – idle and wake up after a certain amount of time
  • trigger each time the dial is turned and reads tampon levels
  • OR do a reading once when dispenser is refilled, count every time you turn dial
  • wifi might be the right route
    • less energy hungry
    • problem: concrete bathrooms (cell signals are usually bad w/ concrete walls b/c there is metal inside them)
  • cellular will drain power faster
  • base station – wifi or cell, plug it in
  • solar? phone could serve as communication & power harvesting
  • stuck w/ cellular if can’t get access to power
  • radio  – no towers to receive it
  • use dumb phone
    • with big car battery?
  • steal power off lights?

Feminine Hygiene Product Dispenser Disassembly

On May 4, 2015 from 3:05 – 3:59, Sarah and I opened up the feminine hygiene dispenser that we had bought from eBay.

dispenser_open keysdispenser_closed IMG_2066 IMG_2078 IMG_2116 IMG_2094 IMG_2105 IMG_2109 IMG_2108 IMG_2130 IMG_2134 IMG_2135 IMG_2137   IMG_2151 IMG_2153 IMG_2146 IMG_2145 IMG_2154 IMG_2155 IMG_2192 IMG_2196 IMG_2198 IMG_2199 IMG_2203 IMG_2212

Below are my (Kiley’s) listed notes as we unlocked the dispenser and examined the mechanisms inside:

– Sarah takes pics of outside

– Use key to unlock it

– The directions on the inside are in English AND Spanish. This seems interesting/pertinent but ultimately not surprising.

– The second set of directions on the inside of the dispenser aren’t very good because there aren’t any pictures.

– There is a crunched up yellow something at the bottom.

– We got it out (it was taped accidentally down there so it took a while), and it seems to be the same instructions as the set of directions on the inside but with pictures.

– We unlocked the coin compartment and there were 4 screws. We think that they are for hanging up the dispenser.

– We thought that there was only one set of the weights, but both of them were just on one side. The pictures on the door of the directions make it clear which went where.

– Nevermind, the directions did not make it clear which went where because I tried to put it in opposite. I feel stupid now because it’s obvious that one is wider than the other and one column is wider than the other!

– Figured out how to spin the red lever things all the way around, clockwise. I didn’t know why they would need to go down all the way, but Sarah pointed out that it’s because it’s how the tampons and pads are dispensed. That makes sense now.

– The pins are kind of difficult to spin and hurt our fingers while we were spinning them.

– We simulated a non-empty and empty dispenser to see what happens with the weight and when you try to turn the lever. As expected, the weight gets in the way of the lever so it’s unable to turn when the dispenser is empty.

– We are missing the levers for spinning (after you put the coins) from the outside and the red flags that say empty. This is the coin mechanism that the instructions on the inside and the crumpled up yellow sheet of paper are about.

– I think there are a couple ways of going about alerting when the dispenser is empty or close to empty. I assume we’d want to alert when it’s close to empty AND when it’s completely empty. Actually, we will want to say exactly how many are left in it.

– Since there is a standardized size for the machine and a standard set of tampons and pads that go into it, we can either:

(1) build a sensor that can sense how high up the products are and then does some math to say how many there are in it.

(2) build a machine that counts how many times the coin mechanism is turned with coins in it.

(3) build a machine that counts how much money has been put into it and senses which product was chosen.

– Besides the fact that we don’t have the coin mechanisms anyway, Sarah pointed out that (1) would probably be the best because it wouldn’t require any resetting by the person who refills the machines and so their jobs wouldn’t be changed.

Green Lake

Green Lake

Day: Monday

Time: 10:40 AM

Weather: Cloudy, drizzly, mid 50s

Location: Green Lake Playground & Community Center Bathrooms

Sarah’s Notes:

s we drove up, I was shocked at the number of people at the playground near the parking lot. I remarked that it was such a difference from the other parks we’d been to where there were only a few people we encountered the whole time. Here, there what I would guess was about 40 kids and their parents playing. It seemed to be an attraction for people, but didn’t seem to be any more beautiful than lush Ravenna. I thought might have something to do with the surrounding neighborhoods, but this was just a brief speculation (I have a general understanding of GL as an expensive neighborhood with lots of resources). Kiley predicted that she’d have a hard time parking due to the crowdedness and I offered to get out and start the observation in an interest of time. She dropped me off close to the restroom at the side of the community center and continued looking for a spot.

I took a photo of the exterior and walked up a level to the door. I noticed a sign advertising a free dinner. As I continued inside I saw three stalls to my right that featured receptacles in all but the last stall. I continued down a short hall and on the wall found a condom dispenser with two types for sale. I kept walking and saw a large trash can to the left and a vanity with a series of three sinks. Above the sinks were corresponding soap dispensers. At this point, I heard steps outside and got nervous to be in the restroom taking pictures. I soon saw that it was Kiley at the door looking at the free dinner sign. I walked her through the restroom and she seemed a bit outraged by the presence of a condom dispenser, but lack of feminine hygiene products. I noted that there were receptacles in the stalls and we looked a them together. She noted that there were no bags lining them and she held open a lid so I could photograph it.

As we walked back to the car, we noticed that there were a large number of trash and recycling cans (4 of each) and a dumpster. Kiley said she thought it was because of the community center, but it still seemed like a lot to me (my apartment building has about that many for instance).

Kiley’s Notes:

We drove from Cowen Park to Greenlake, and I told Sarah about how I knew where the Greenlake bathrooms were. I know there is one at the community center, one on the trail, and then one near the stadium area. I decided we should go to the one near the playground first since I knew there would be a potential parking spot in the parking lot there.

It was extremely crowded and there wasn’t a parking spot, so Sarah got out with her camera and I pointed to where the restroom was. While I made a loop around the lot, someone pulled out of a spot so I got their spot.

I walked up to the door, and I noticed that there was a sign about free dinner (OC: on Sundays? at a church? Sarah got a picture of it.) (OC: so even though Greenlake, especially this area where the playground is, doesn’t seem a place where homeless people are, they are still reaching out to people of low SES or homeless. I know I’ve seen people who are homeless along the trail on my runs.)

I walked inside and Sarah told me there was only a condom dispenser. I was in disbelief, although not total disbelief because I had read the Cal article about condom dispensers being in women’s restrooms a while ago. There were more amenities in this bathroom because they had dispensers (OC: I forgot to note if there were mirrors and paper towels. I’m thinking there were paper towels and a trashcan inside. This might be a law, since it’s an indoor bathroom?). Two of the stalls had mini-trashcans in them; the third one didn’t for some reason. The two trash bins didn’t have any liner or paper bag inside, but there was nothing inside. Sarah and I went out of the bathroom and counted the trashcans— there were a lot. Four trashcans farther away, closer to the kayak rental area, and four recycling bins and a dumpster near the bathroom. We noticed a police car parked really close to the lake, not in an area that I think cars are usually able to go. Sarah and I left and didn’t go to any more restrooms because I had to get back on campus for my 11:30 meeting.

GreenLake_01 GreenLake_02 GreenLake_03 GreenLake_05 GreenLake_04 GreenLake_06



Day: Monday

Time: 10 AM

Weather: Cloudy, Drizzly, mid 50s

Locations: Ravenna Park, East; Ravenna Park, Mid-Park; Cowen Park

Location: Ravenna Park, East


We arrived at the park on its East end at about 10am. From the parking lot we could see a woman (mid-30s white) with a small child playing in a large sand pit. To the left of them was a free standing brick building with a small metal sign that said ‘Women’. As we came closer we notice also a brass (?) water fountain with two tiers (presumably catering to both adults and children). Just beyond the water fountains, to the left against the wall of the building was a man with several bags seated near a white painted sign that read ‘Men’. He was swaying back and forth.

We entered the women’s restroom and noticed immediately that there were no tampon dispensers or waste receptacles to be found. As I pulled back, I also took note of the grimy subway tiles that covered the walls and the non-mirror above the sink. There was a hand dryer, but no soap pumps. It seemed clear to me from the state of the tiles that not much attention was spent on maintaining the facilities.

No one entered the restroom while we were inside.


We drove up to the east end of Ravenna, after getting re-routed by Google Maps at least once. We parked on the side of the playground, where the ground was sandy/gravel-y. We got out and walked toward the bathroom. The women’s sign above the door was faded. There were a couple adult women there with children- one closer to us with a child and another pushing a kid on the swings. There was a man sitting on the bench in between the men’s and women’s bathrooms, in a bright blue rain jacket with some stuff next to him on the bench, rocking back and forth. I don’t think he was with any children, and by the nature of his rocking and the way he was staring at me, I assumed he was homeless. I drank from the water fountain as to appear to have a purpose for going out there. The water fountain worked.

Inside the bathroom, there were no dispensers or trashcans (outside or in the stalls) (OC: After I looked it up, and nothing is required in an outside bathroom that has to do with feminine hygiene. There have to be electric dryers though. At zoos, they have to have disposal trashcans in the stalls.) There was a trashcan outside the restroom though. Inside, there was a blurry mirror.




Location: Mid-Park, Ravenna Bridge


There weren’t dedicated parking spots (from what we could tell) around the second Ravenna bathroom spot. Instead, we parked on the nearest neighborhood street next to what appeared to be a running and walking trail recessed below street level through the park. There was a crew of Seattle Public Utitlity workers nearby mowing the lawn and picking up debris. They didn’t seem to acknowledge us when we walked by. I told Kiley that I was glad that the parks in Seattle are so scenic because I didn’t feel as conspicuous walking around with my medium to large camera (Canon Rebel).

We first crossed a pedestrian bridge to the other side of the dipped trail, but turned around when we realized we were haeded away from where the restroom was marked to be. We crossed again to the other side and took a gravel trail that led to the recessed trail area. The trail was very wooded and looked more like a national/state reserve than a neighborhood park. After looking at the map, we realized again that we were headed in the wrong direction. Instead of continue down to see whether the trail would led to the bottom, we opted to go back up part of the way and take a second choice in an earlier fork. This was a much steeper path and quickly led to a multi-tiered area under the bridge we’d crossed before. There we found a rolled up sleeping bag and several other bags of what appeared to be mostly clothes. One bag was resting from a very high ledge just under the bridge. It was unclear how someone might have put it there or how they might get it down.

At this point, I opted to take photos of the surroundings and Kiley slide down the steep tiers to look at the trail level. She climbed back up a few minutes and told me she couldn’t find the restroom. She speculated that it might be elsewhere on the trail, but didn’t see any indication of where that might be.  As she was telling me this, I noticed a middle-aged white man walking by with large two dogs on leashes. A few moments later, another man ran by (perhaps latino, early 30s) on the trail. We made our way back up the trail to where we’d parked. Along the way, near the bridge, we say a late 20s white couple walking with backpacking gear on. I also took note of a woman (late-30s white) with three children (12/13, 5/6, >1) crossing the street to the bridge. I guessed the children might be home schooled since they were all out in the middle of a school day.


We drove to the next place on the map, which was a little disorienting because it seemed like we had to drive the wrong way down a one way street. There were a couple of construction workers. We were in a location where there was a bridge (Ravenna bridge, I think) and we could look down and see lots of beautiful forrest. I thought there was definitely not a bathroom here. We walked across the bridge, realized that we had gotten too far past the point on the map, and went back. At this point, it felt like we were on a hunt, confusedly searching for this bathroom.

We decided to try to go down to the valley of the park to see if there was the public stall that the restroom map referred to. It was beautiful with wild flowers. As we were walking, I noticed on my Maps app, that our location was getting farther from where the bathroom map said the stall was. So we turned back to see if we could go down another path. We saw a towel on the path.

We went down a different path, but it wasn’t actually a designated trail. There was a staircase made from the hill and trees and we walked down, beneath the bridge. Under the bridge was stuff (a sleeping bag, I think and a bag.. some other things. Sarah took pictures)— first on a larger ledge that was the same level as us, and then another thing on a higher ledge that looked difficult to reach.

I joked that we could yell down to a person walking by with dogs to ask if he saw any bathrooms. Since we still couldn’t see any possible restrooms, I climbed down the big “staircase” under the bridge (which was tiered cement and dirt) and got to the higher trail. There were people running and walking dogs on the lower trail. I still couldn’t see anything. I guessed that maybe on the lower trail that was thicker where the people were running, there might be a restroom along it, but we didn’t have time to keep looking and I was alone down there. So I climbed back up to the top to, so we could go to another restroom.






Location: Cowen Park


On the way over, Kiley thought we might be going to a bathroom she’d been to before. She said it was near a baseball field and that she’d gone while running once. She remembered it being dirty, but also feeling desperate. As we made our way there though, she said this wasn’t the spot she remembered. We parked right next to a park welcome sign on a nearby street (free street parking, no lot from what we saw). You could see the restroom from the street and as we walked closer it was clear it was in disrepair. There were parts of the exterior wall that were boarded up and mirrored panels that featured scratched graffiti.

We walked to the side of the freestanding building to find bars on the door of the women’s restroom. When we peeked inside we could see a sign read, “Closed for the winter season.” There were sinks and a a baby changing table parallel to the door. To the right, were a couple of bathroom stalls. I could tell through the bars whether there were trash receptacles in the stalls or next to the sink (it didn’t seem like it), but there were a number of trash cans outside of the building.

We walked around the building to the ‘Men’ side and the layout seemed to mirror the women’s restroom (bars, closed sign, baby changing table). We walked up a flight of stairs and checked out a portable toilet at the top level near the street. Kiley looked inside first and said that it was ‘disgusting’ with feces in the urinal. I also looked inside and took photos for documentation. It was indeed quite dirty with trash covering the floor and feces in the urinal and on the toilet paper holder. I closed the door a we took note of the large amount of trash cans around. It seemed odd to me that there would be so many trash cans and so few other facilities. I wondered who emptied the trash cans into a dumper (where was the dumpster).


We drove to Cowen Park, but there wasn’t any parking lot there. We parked on the side of the road, and as we were walking, I thought/said, “I KNOW THERE’S ANOTHER BATHROOM” because once I went on a run when I was staying with Trevor (it must have been July 2013 when Sarah and I were looking for a place to live) around Ravenna and I had to go to the bathroom really badly on my run, and I found a restroom. I think it was next to a baseball field and it was definitely not the one that we saw at Cowen Park. It’s possible that it’s closer to Trevor’s apartment, on the East end.

We walked up to the playground area and there was a blonde women with a small child with curly blonde hair, being very cute. The bathroom looked pretty run-down— painted white but with black on it and the windows all fogged up or something. There were a lot of trashcans (2 trashcans and a recycling bin on one side of the playground and bathroom; 1 next to the playground on the other side and next to the bathroom on the other side). There was a water fountain near the women’s restroom but it didn’t work. The bathrooms were locked but you could still see inside. It looked like the restroom at Cal Anderson, with the baby changing table, no mirrors. There was a sign that the restrooms were closed. I walked up the stairs to a large overlooking area where I saw there was a Honey Bucket. There was a lock on the door but it didn’t lock it shut because it wasn’t hooped around both of the rings. I opened the door, and it was disgusting inside. No toilet paper, toilet seat was up, there was cardboard on the ground, and there was an empty toilet paper roll with feces on it in the urinal. Sarah came up and I held the door open while she took pictures. We noticed that there were two more trashcans on the overlook area.










Cowen_10          Cowen_13  Cowen_11

Volunteer Park

Volunteer Park

Day: Friday

Time: 10:15 AM

Weather: Cloudy, mid-50s

Locations: Volunteer Park, amphitheater; Volunteer Park, conservatory; Near Interlaken Park

We were not using the Seattle public bathroom map for this observation.

Location: Volunteer Park, amphitheater


We walked along Broadway from Cal Anderson to Volunteer park at around 10:15 or so. If I remember correctly we turned right on Harrison and then walked up 11th to hit the lower west side of the park. Inside of the park, we travel along the west side of the reservoir until we encountered a set of bathrooms. We saw what appeared to be a freestanding brick building with a large white painted sign on the side reading ‘WOMEN’. As we walked closer it became clear that there were a set of bars across the door to the restrooms and piece of paper declaring that they were only open during special events.

We continued walking around the left side of the building where we found the men’s restroom with the same sign. Still curving around we realized that the restrooms were on the backside of the amphitheater, which was surprising to us because we’d both been to this part of the park before (Kiley for an event that made use of the stage). We took a few photos and I suggested we continue on to the Conservatory where I thought there might be more restrooms.


Sarah and I walked from Cal Anderson park to Volunteer Park. (OC: It must have taken around 20 minutes? I’m not sure now.) We got to the restroom area on the lower part of the park, and the building had WOMEN engraved on the side of the brick building. We tried to go inside the restroom, but it said it was closed and is only open during public events.

We walked around to the front and we noticed that the restroom is attached to the stage at Volunteer Park. I had been there before, but I never realized that there were restrooms attached.





Location: Volunteer Park, Conservatory


Coming closer to the Conservatory we were audibly groaning when we saw the restrooms were under construction, with temporary fencing protecting them from the public. Beside the fence were two portable toilets (Honey Holes, to be precise). We walked to the front of the building to take a view photos. There were two men, presumably construction workers, sitting inside of the fenced in area on top of a picnic table. As we stood there, they moved inside one of the restrooms. Walking back to the side of the building, I looked inside the restroom where they were standing. From the looks of it, it seemed like there was substantial work being down — it appeared to be gutted with nothing on the walls.

We then walked out of the park toward a bus stop that Kiley said would get us to campus. She said it would be there soon, but that we if we walked quickly we could make it. After a couple of minutes, we got to talking about what we’d seen and I suppose got a bit distracted from the task of quick walking. We soon decided that we wouldn’t make the bus so we opted to call a car sharing service. At this point we encountered Interlaken Park, rather unexpectedly (we knew what it was because of a standard City park sign). There was an extremely steep incline with a highly wooded path leading into the park. We looked down and around and didn’t see a restroom (or any built thing)*.

We continued walking and into a surrounding neighborhood with low car traffic and no other pedestrians. The houses in this neighborhood were some of the biggest and most expensive looking I’ve seen in the city. It seemed to be a world of difference from the area around Cal Anderson where we’d started that day. As we were waiting there for the car, only a few cars drove by, but one in particular stood out to me. It was a black town car (Lincoln). I couldn’t see inside because the windows were tinted, but it was driving slower than the other cars that had driven by. It felt a bit odd to be, but I figured the driver was just waiting for someone in one of the nearby houses to come down (though honestly I think most people would just park in front and turn off the car to keep from wasting energy). He circled a roundabout and very slowly passed by us, briefly parked about two houses down, turned around in a street opposite the house, pulled up right next to us and paused for about a minute. Kiley was sitting on the ground and stood up at this point. We whispered to each other about how it felt strange that this car was creeping around us. After about a minute or two, it turned onto the street directly to our right and parked directly to our right. After about 6 or 7 minutes, the car share car arrived and I felt very relieved to be leaving. I’m sure this would have been much creepier if we didn’t have a way out. Though we were vulnerable on the street and open to being preyed upon, we knew that we had a relatively easy way out of a potentially bad situation because we had access to cell phones and enough disposable income to afford a car service. The experience became an opportunity to reflect on the multilayered privilege we possess.

*After looking at the Park website it seems there are no restrooms at all


Sarah mentioned that she knew that there would be restrooms closer to the VP Conservatory, so we walked toward that area. As we approached, I noticed that there was construction going on and there were fences around the bathrooms. There were two men working in between the men and women restrooms and there were at least 1 or 2 Honey Bucket stalls outside. We didn’t open these up.

We had to catch a bus to campus, and I said that we should try to catch the 43 instead of going back to broadway. We walked quickly, but I was concerned that we wouldn’t make it. We were going downhill, and we saw a sign for Interlaken Park. It was extremely beautiful and reminded me of Ravenna because how it went down into a ravine. At this point, we realized that we wouldn’t be able to catch the bus, so we parked ourselves on a corner and I called for an Uber to come get us.

I didn’t notice too much that people were staring at us as they passed, but Sarah brought it up— especially the black Lincoln that parked right next to us and then was right behind us. I guess that I was a little more oblivious because I thought we probably looked out of place and was more focused on getting to the meeting on time, but Sarah was pretty disturbed by the fact that he seemed to be waiting right there when we were around. (OC: Looking back later and at it now, it was weird and uncomfortable. We were basically in the middle of no where and there was a man in a car with dark windows and we basically had no chance to get anywhere. Luckily it was in the middle of the day.)

    VPC_1 VPC_2