San Francisco on Monday will begin a months-long test of the effectiveness of having three public toilets open 24-hours, seven days a week.
The pilot program, which will cost $300,000, is the result of pressure from city officials, residents and community groups calling for the increased service to combat feces and urine on downtown streets.
“Three of our Pit Stops will provide 24-hour service (as part of a pilot program) beginning Monday, Aug. 12,” Public Works spokesperson Jennifer Blot said in an email to the San Francisco Examiner Tuesday.
The pilot is expected to last “through the end of November,” Blot said.
Pit Stop is a Public Works public toilet program that began in 2014 at three locations in the Tenderloin. It has grown to 25 locations in 13 neighborhoods. The toilets are staffed by attendants provided under city contract by the nonprofit Hunters Point Families.
Currently, most of the toilets close by early evening.
The new 24-hour service will begin Monday at a stationary toilet in the Tenderloin near Boedecker Park at Eddy and Jones Streets, at a mobile toilet stationed at Sixth and Jessie streets in SoMa and at a stationary toilet at Castro and Market streets, according to Blot.
Supervisor Matt Haney, who had pledged to open 24-hour toilets, successfully advocated for funding in this year’s city budget to make it a reality. He worked with Public Works to choose the locations for the pilot in the Tenderloin and SoMa neighborhoods, which he represents.
The Castro and Market location was selected with feedback from Supervisor Rafael Mandelman.
“Public Works selected the Castro location for the pilot program with the support of Supervisor Mandelman’s office, Castro Merchants and the Castro [community benefit district],” Blot said.
Public Works head Mohammed Nuru had previously told the San Francisco Examiner in June he intended to launch one pilot location at Hyde and Golden Gate in the Tenderloin.
But after the budget process and further discussions, the number has increased to three and Golden Gate and Hyde is no longer included.
“We chose these sites based on the level of use, the central convenient locations and the desire to test location and types in both the Tenderloin and SoMa,” Haney said. “The one at Boedekker Park has twice as much use as the other bathrooms in the Tenderloin. The Sixth and Jessie location is the most heavily used one in SoMa and already open until 10 pm.”
The Sixth and Jessie location is the only location that stays open that late.
“We hope to demonstrate that there is a need for 24-hour restrooms throughout the Tenderloin, SoMa, and Civic Center 365 days a year,” Haney said. “This is an issue of basic human rights and human dignity, and will keep our streets cleaner and safer.”
“I’ll be fighting to make sure this pilot is a success and that we expand beyond these sites and this time frame,” he continued.
Update Aug. 7, 2019: Tom Temprano, Supervisor Rafael Mandelman’s legislative aide, issued the following statement: “Our office has been working with neighborhood leaders and city departments, including Public Works, to bring additional resources and services to the Castro. This pilot is an investment in the neighborhood that will provide a safe, clean space for those who need a bathroom to use while improving street conditions.”