SF Examiner file photo

Mayor Breed signs order to expand 24-hour bathroom access

Program shows increased overnight public toilet access helps keep streets clean

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.

The restrooms opened in August after Supervisor Matt Haney lobbied for funding to be included in the budget for a pilot program.

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 continuation of the program is also intended to help city officials evaluate the potential to continue or expand the program in future city budgets.

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.

Haney, who represents hte Tenderloin and South of Market areas, where complaints about feces on the sidewalk are high, said the pilot’s success showed that three 24-hour bathrooms are not enough.

“Our pilot showed that 24 hour bathrooms have been getting a lot of use, especially at night when people don’t have any other options. Literally thousands of people have been using them at night,” he said in a statement. “Extending only three bathrooms to 24 hours is a start, but is just a bandaid on the major public health crisis the city is facing.”

“There is an urgent need for more public bathrooms. We see it everyday in the Tenderloin and throughout District 6, with the thousands of people living on our streets,” Haney said. “Having access to a bathroom meets a very basic human need, and is absolutely necessary. If we want to see our streets cleaner, we’re going to have to open up a lot more bathrooms permanently.”

Examiner staff contributed to this report

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