There’s almost no way Philly will have enough port-a-potties during the Eagles parade

“We’re not encouraging people to use their water bottle.”

Flickr Creative Commons / Steve Ives

The Eagles’ Super Bowl victory celebration is expected to be one of the biggest sports parades ever. The city is making all kinds of strategic moves to make sure it goes off with out a hitch, but one question remains unresolved:

Will there be enough bathrooms to accommodate the huge crowds?

According to event planning conventional wisdom, the answer is almost certainly no. The ideal ratio at any given event is about one toilet per 1,000 attendees, said Fred Stein, executive producer of The Creative Group, the company producing the Feb. 8 parade.

Current estimates are that Thursday’s spectacle will draw an estimated two million attendees — at the low end. By Stein’s math, that means the city needs at least 2,000 port-a-potties.

How many are currently lined up for the parade route? Just 850.

A city spokesperson said that’s how many Stein had recommended. Stein, for his part, told Billy Penn it was just what he had available at the time of the city’s announcement Tuesday morning. By the time the parade actually starts, he hopes to have secured “over a thousand,” he said.

Still, if two million people do show up, that unspecified larger number still doesn’t sound like it’ll cut it.

A multiday event like Pope Francis’s 2015 Philly visit isn’t exactly comparable to a one-day parade that lasts just a few hours. However, for that event the city set up 3,600 port-a-potties for an anticipated 800,000 attendees — and most of those “pilgrims” weren’t expected to be drinking any alcohol.

At the Parade of Sail in 1982 — an event that celebrated Philly’s 300th anniversary, which Stein also produced — 3.4 million people attended. For that one, Stein provided “thousands” of port-a-potties, he said, though he couldn’t remember an exact number.

One factor in the relatively low number of toilets for Thursday’s parade, Stein noted, is the lack of time to plan. The team won on Sunday night, leaving him just four days to secure as many available port-a-potties as he could, he said.

“We really couldn’t plan this,” Stein said. “There’s only a finite number that could be available.”

Ok, so…there’s not wanting to jinx the win by making preparations public for a championship parade — just look at the disaster that caused in 2005. But there really was no behind-the-scenes prep either?

Stein suggested that parade-goers could also use bathrooms in local businesses and restaurants. However, most restaurants usually reserve their bathrooms for paying customers only, especially during big events.

“The bottom line is, you’re going to have long lines no matter what,” Stein said. And waiting is preferable to the alternative, he added.

“We’re not encouraging people to use their water bottle.”


Thanks for reading another Billy Penn story

Seems you’re the kind of person who really digs in. Want more? Sign up for our morning update, the quick, easy, free way to stay on top of Philly news.

Thanks for reading Billy Penn

Like the story above, everything we publish is powered by our members. If you enjoy reading, throw us a bone! Just $5/month makes more difference than you’d think.

Thanks for reading! We need you.

Member donations power our newsroom. If Billy Penn helps you feel more connected to Philly, we’d love to count you in. Will you join us?

Lock in your support

Reader support powers our newsroom. A monthly membership helps lock it in.

Can we count on you as a Billy Penn sustainer?

Winning the local journalism game

Thank you: Your support as a member is powering our news gathering.

Know someone else who might like our work? Invite them to join.