SF Dolores Park's infamous open-air urinal may be subject to lawsuit
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - While many people enjoyed the wide open spaces of newly renovated Dolores Park Friday, there is one wide open space some people want shut down— San Francisco’s first and only open-air, outdoor urinal.
It is basically a drain surrounded by a screen shaped in a semi-circle. One side is completely open.
"There's no way they would put urinals in public parks in Chicago," said one out-of-towner.
A handful of civic organizations don't think San Francisco should have them either. They say it is a violation of privacy laws and poses a health hazard.
"We don't want to see people urinating in public day in and day out. It represents a major regression in our society, said Frank Lee of the Pacific Justice Institute.
The institute points out that Muni passengers, including children, have a full view of the urination facility at 20th and Church Streets.
The institute has written a letter to the city giving it 20 days to remove it or face a lawsuit.
"We feel we need to stop it here or it will be coming to a neighborhood near you," said Kevin Snider, an attorney for the Pacific Justice Institute.
Sarah Madland, A spokeswoman for the city's Recreation and Parks Department, called it an "alternative to peeing in the bushes and people's front yards, which was all too common at the old Dolores Park."
Many park neighbors concurred.
"I've lived in this neighborhood since 1982 and I’ve seen a lot of behavior I would rather have not have seen. But this isn't one of them," said Melanie Mandich.
The city planted vines around the screen. When they grow taller they should provide more coverage.
But in a city that prides itself on being transparent, some say this is just a little too transparent.