Local News

San Francisco begins 24-hour public toilet service under pilot program

By August 12, 2019 No Comments
A new program will make some Pit Stop public toilets in San Francisco accessible 24 hours a day. (Photo courtesy San Francisco Public Works)

In an effort to provide access to bathrooms for San Francisco’s homeless residents and rid the city’s streets of feces, Supervisor Matt Haney announced the start of a pilot program that would keep some public toilets open for 24 hours.

Three public Pit Stop toilets will stay open 24 hours, seven days a week. Locations include Father Alfred E. Boeddeker Park, Sixth and Jessie streets, and Castro and Market streets.

According to Haney, the locations were chosen using data from the city’s Public Works Department, showing those were some of the locations that were used the most.

“These 24/7 bathrooms will have full time attendants ensuring that they are safe and clean,” Haney said. “The Pit Stop model has proven itself during the day — they are widely utilized by the public, have led to reductions in 311 calls, and have improved safety and cleanliness wherever they are implemented — it is long overdue to extend this model to the evening and nighttime.”

With most Pit Stop restrooms closing at 6 p.m., there are few places where most homeless people can use the restroom during the night, Haney said.

“Access to public restrooms should be a fundamental right in San Francisco. Public bathrooms, open and accessible, when people need them are an essential part of urban life. People’s need to use a toilet does not end at 6 p.m., and neither should bathroom access. This will make our streets cleaner and healthier for everyone,” he said.

“We deserve to be treated with dignity,” said Jesse Johnson, co-chair of the Tenderloin People’s Congress, which has been advocating for 24-hour public restrooms. “There is nothing worse than an empty wallet, a sour stomach, and a padlocked toilet.”

Haney has already secured $200,000 in funding, which is expected to pay for the pilot program for at least six months, Haney’s office said.

The Public Works Department has been running the city’s Pit Stop program since 2014 and currently has 25 locations throughout the city.