San Francisco's ‘Painted Lady' pit stops debut on World Toilet Day

SAN FRANCISCO (Nicolette Stewart/KTVU) —  In honor of World Toilet Day, the new “Painted Lady” portable toilet made its first appearance this afternoon, on the corner of Haight Street and Buena Vista Avenue.

The newest addition to the Pit Stop public toilet program, run by the SF Public Works, is 1 out of 17 public toilets located in neighborhoods around the city. 

“We are testing innovative designs that are inviting and encourage people to use them. We will continue to do everything we can to improve your experience on San Francisco's streets," said Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru.

The Pit Stop not only provides a toilet, but also on-site staffing to ensure the space is kept clean and safe, so they can remain in use by the thousands of people who need to use the facilities throughout the day. 

"At the end of the day, the Pit Stops bring relief and dignity to people in need of a bathroom and improve neighborhood livability."

Along with a toilet, each Pit Stop offers safe needle disposal boxes and free dog waste bags.

Public Works began the Pit Stop in 2014, with three locations in the Tenderloin to help the issue of people using sidewalks and doorways as toilets and all of their toilets are flushed more than 300,000 times a year. 

The Painted Lady design was a collaboration between Public Works and Tiny Potties, a company owned by San Francisco entrepreneur Nick Bovis. 

"If you give someone a little dignity you can remove a little humiliation from their life. By creating a real-house bathroom and bringing it to people who don't have a home, you bring them a little dignity," Bovis said. 

The portable Painted Lady will be rotated among the existing Pit Stop sites to temporarily replace more normal-looking toilet trailers. 

World Toilet Day, a United Nations initiative is celebrated every November. The purpose of the day is to inform and inspire people to take action in the global sanitation crisis. 

According to Public Works, an estimated 2.4 billion people worldwide are living without a toilet. 

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