Daywatch: Chicago doesn’t provide nearly enough public bathrooms | Senators question Rahm Emanuel about Laquan McDonald shooting | Lagers at forefront of Chicago’s brewing scene

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Good morning, Chicago.

Today the Chicago Tribune published a special report I wrote on public restroom access in the city.

While bathroom talk is generally considered taboo in the U.S., having a safe and clean place to expel waste is a vital and basic need and an important element of public health. The United Nations considers access to sanitation a human right.

So where can you find Chicago’s public bathrooms? And have enough of them been provided to meet the public’s basic needs?

Through public records requests, open data and interviews, I created a searchable map of permanent, barrier-free public restrooms throughout Chicago, which revealed that entire swaths of the city have few or none. Many of the public restrooms close during the winter months and most are locked at night.

The lack of consistently accessible restrooms can leave anyone in a vulnerable position, but it’s worse for people who are experiencing homelessness and those with medical conditions that require immediate bathroom access. One sign of the need: Since 2016, police have issued more than 29,000 tickets for public urination and defecation, which also can create public health hazards.

I hope you’ll take the time to read the story and explore and share the public restroom map. You can reach me with tips on any topic at ehoerner@chicagotribune.com.

— Emily Hoerner, reporter

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Everybody needs access to bathrooms. Chicago doesn’t provide nearly enough of them.

Having access to a safe and clean bathroom is among the most basic and vital human needs. Yet Chicago’s government has failed to provide the public with easy, consistent access to free toilets, and scant information is available about many that do exist.

Through public records requests and interviews, the Tribune mapped as many of the publicly maintained bathrooms in Chicago as possible and found swaths of the city contain few or none.

In Senate hearing, Rahm Emanuel both defends and expresses regret over handling of Laquan McDonald shooting. ‘I’m responsible.’

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel faced questions from senators about his handling of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald during a confirmation hearing Wednesday on his nomination as U.S. ambassador to Japan.

On the seventh anniversary of McDonald’s murder at the hands of a Chicago police officer, Emanuel said he should have better recognized the lack of trust citizens held for the Chicago Police Department and pushed for stronger reforms more quickly.

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