New toilets coming to Fort Funston

Fort Funston fans might not have to hold their collective breath any more now that antiquated and odorous portable toilets there are being replaced with permanent facilities.

Since the 1970s, the only bathrooms available to serve the 560,000 annual visitors to the 141-acre park have been three portable toilets in the parking lot. Now the Golden Gate National Park Service wants to dump them, said NPS spokesman Rich Weideman.

Steve Rodrigues of the Fellow Feathers Hang Gliding Club said he’s been using the portable facilities for about 15 years and, like everyone else, he tries to avoid them. But sometimes it’s inevitable.

“Sometimes nature calls and you don’t have much choice,” Rodrigues said. “They get a lot of use and occasionally, there’s a severe storm that will actually blow them over.”

The NPS is still ironing out the details of the new facilities, and will submit the plan for public comment with the intention of starting construction by the end of next year.

So far the plan is to build a 540-square-foot structure with flushable toilets and waterless urinals in the northeast corner of the parking lot — opposite from where the portable toilets are now.

The NPS is examining three options for wastewater treatment: to tie into The City’s sewer system, to expand a leach field used to remove the hazards from the waste, or to reuse water through a compostable toilet system — which Weideman calls the “greenest.”

This is not the first time the park service has entertained the idea of upgrading the restrooms.

The initial plan for toilet facilities was proposed in 2003 but was shot down because the park was not as popular back then, Weideman said.

“Now there’s more foot traffic and a really strong user group out there — hang gliders, dog walkers — we just decided it would be better to have a bathroom,’’ he said.

Chris Cornbill, a hang gliding instructor at Fort Funston, welcomes the idea of a more permanent bathroom facility at the park.

“Sometimes I have to warn people beforehand,” Cornbill said of the portable toilets. “People have been using those Porta Potties for a long time.”

Fort Funston isn’t the only park where bathroom upgrades are planned. Stinson Beach is also in line for permanent restrooms, but that construction won’t start until after ground is broken at Fort Funston, Wiedeman said.

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

 

Fort Funston by the numbers

1900: Year the land was acquired by the federal government and called the Lake Merced Military Reservation; it was to be used in defense of the Bay

1917: Year the fort was named for Major General Frederick Funston

1963: Year the fort was inactivated

200+: Height in feet of some of the dunes at the park

Source: The California State Military Museum and the National Parks Service

Bay Area NewsFort FunstonLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

People exercise along the closed Great Highway on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Could the Great Highway become a great city park?

Permanent closure would require extensive public outreach, safety and traffic management plans

The City requires the recycling or reuse of debris material removed from a construction project site. <ins>(Emma Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
<ins></ins>
Permits proposed for haulers of construction debris to achieve zero-waste

San Francisco plans to tighten regulations on the disposal of construction and… Continue reading

Flames and smoke overtake a tree as the LNU Lightning Complex fire spreads in Fairfield, California on August 19, 2020. (JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
Many wildfires near full containment, but officials fear continuing hot weather

By Molly Burke The Sacramento Bee Thousands of firefighters continue to battle… Continue reading

False information on Twitter and other platforms can be manipulative and destructive.<ins> (Courtesy photo)</ins>
Social media can turn us against each other

Only empathy can alleviate the hate spread by misinformation

School district officials hope a new assignment system will make the student body at schools more diverse, as well as offer more predictability for parents.<ins></ins>
School assignment system set for major overhaul

SFUSD board weighing proposal that would limit choices, offer increased predictability

Most Read