San Francisco Pit Stop public restroom program extended, supervisor calls for more
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - The city of San Francisco will continue the 24-hour staffing of three "Pit Stop" restrooms and call for the addition of seven more after what it calls a successful three-month pilot program, according to the mayor's office. However, one city supervisor is already asking for more.
The need is so great that Supervisor Matt Haney held a rally on Monday advocating for more 24 hour Pit Stops like the one near Boeddeker Park.
The restrooms opened in August and Mayor London Breed's office said 25 percent of all flushes occurred during the nighttime hours, showing the demand for a nighttime restroom is there.
"This is not complicated -- when people have access to a clean, safe restroom, they will use it," Breed said in a statement. "We have seen
what happens on our streets when people don't have a place to go, which is why I fought to include funding in the budget for seven new Pit Stops, and well as expanded hours at existing locations."
The current 24-hour, staffed restrooms are located at Sixth and Jessie streets in the South of Market, Market and Castro streets in the Castro District, and Eddy and Jones streets in the Tenderloin. The pilot program at these facilities is being extended through June, 2020.
Tenderloin regulars said crews spraying down the streets is a twice a day ritual, partly to get rid of any human waste that has accumulated. However, city officials said during the initial pilot, the volume of steam cleaning requests in the surrounding quarter-mile area of the three restrooms has decreased.
The continuation of the program is also intended to help city officials evaluate the potential to continue or expand the program in future city budgets. The mayor's office said it will be looking for funds to keep the Pit Stops open as long as they're needed.
Haney said he wants the city to spend about $2 million to open more Pit Stops and said the money could be partially offset by a decrease in the number of steam cleanings.
It's an ongoing concern for those in the neighborhood including the Curry Senior Center.
"You come to a place like this, which is incredible, Curry Senior Center, it's a safe place for people to come to engage, to socialize," said Alana Knego from Curry Senior Center. "But, you might have to walk through human excrement to get there. Is that going to stop you from getting there? It might."
"Let's open them all," Haney said. "For a couple million dollars we can address this issue of filthy, dirty streets, which we know is an embarrassment. It's getting worse and you know we can also provide access to what should be a basic human right."
KTVU's Christien Kafton contributed to this report.