San Francisco Rolls Out Portable Bathroom Program In Tenderloin To Curtail Human Waste On Streets


SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — In an effort to reduce the amount of human and animal excrement on the city’s streets, the San Francisco’s Department of Public Works will be begin a six-month pilot program on Tuesday that provide three portable bathrooms in the Tenderloin.

Last month, the city received nearly 1000 complaints about people defecating on the streets—more than a half of those were reported in the Tenderloin, which has large number of the city’s homeless and the nonprofits that provides services for them.

San Francisco Rolls Out Portable Bathroom Program In Tenderloin To Curtail Human Waste On Streets

The Tenderloin Pit Stop program will provide portable toilets and sinks, used needle receptacles and dog waste stations at three locations in the neighborhood. All are mounted on flat-bed trailer than easily be transported.

“This is a pilot we’re going to try for six months to see how it works and we are hoping to see a number in a decline in calls that we get and that people have a place to go at that critical time,” Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru said. “We picked some really nice bathrooms that actually have a place where you can wash your hands—a very, nice decent facility.”

The program is being run in partnership with the nonprofit SF Clean City, which will staff the locations with attendants to keep the facilities safe and secure—something that Supervisor Jane Kim, who represents the area and has been pursuing a public toilet program for two years, said was a key issue.

“We knew that just putting a toilet in the neighborhood alone wouldn’t solve the problem so we worked out a project where it would be fully staffed and also it would get rolled out every night and get fully cleaned,” she said.

The portable bathroom stations will operate from 2 to 9 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays and will be located at Golden Gate Avenue between Jones and Taylor streets, Ellis Street between Jones and Taylor and on Hyde Street between Turk and Eddy streets.


Locations for Tenderloin Pit Stop pilot program (San Francisco Department of Public Works)

This is not the first time San Francisco has tried to tackle issue of human waste on the streets. In the mid-1990s, the city installed self-cleaning public toilets in various places, such as the Civic Center Plaza, but they quickly became locations for drug sales, drug use, and prostitution.

With attendant present, however, Kim said the illegal activity will be prevented.

“At the end of the day, people don’t have places to go to the bathroom and that’s the unfortunate story but we also didn’t want people to use bathrooms for other illegal behavior. We want them to use it just to go to the bathroom and we want to be clean”

The program will run through Jan. 16, 2015 and after, the DPW will assess the program’s effectiveness and consider expanding the program to other high-need neighborhoods.

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