San Francisco's Mission District, traditionally a neighborhood with a high volume of requests for the city to remove human waste, is the newest neighborhood to benefit from staffed public toilets.
San Francisco Public Works opened its fifth staffed public toilet location, as part of its Pit Stop program, at 16th and Mission streets Wednesday. Instead of the portable pit stops that have been rolled out in the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods, the one in the Mission uses the existing JCDecaux public bathroom structures.
The bathrooms are now staffed with attendants who, according to Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru, make sure the facilities are kept clean and safe and are used for their intended purpose.
"We have seen with our Pit Stops that having staff on site is the No. 1 reason the program works," Nuru said in a statement Wednesday. All five Pit Stop public toilet stations are located in areas with a high volume of requests for Public Works to steam clean the sidewalks in order to remove human waste.
Nuru said the pit stops not only keep the sidewalks clean, but also allow people to "find relief with dignity."
The city's first three Pit Stops opened in the Tenderloin in July 2014 and the fourth location opened in the South of Market neighborhood in April. In those neighborhoods, portable toilets are set up each weekday following overnight servicing and are staffed as part of a job-training program through the nonprofit organization, San Francisco Clean City Coalition, according to public works officials.
The bathroom attendants will be stationed at the Mission District site Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to public works officials.
In addition to a toilet and sink, each Pit Stop location offers a used needle receptacle as well as a dog waste station with bags and a trash can.
As a result of the Pit Stops, requests for Public Works' steam cleaning services related to human waste on the sidewalks has dropped as the number of people using the staffed toilets has gone up, public works officials said.
If the hybrid model works at the JCDecaux location, it may be expanded to other JCDecaux toilets in San Francisco where on-site staffing could be beneficial, public works officials said. JCDecaux is under a contract with the city to operate and maintain 25 self-cleaning public toilets in San Francisco in exchange for advertising rights.