Kim calls to expand ‘pit stops’ citywide

San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim Tuesday asked the City Controller to look for ways to expand a program providing clean, staffed public restrooms in downtown neighborhoods citywide.

The Pit Stop Program, which began as a pilot program with three locations in the Tenderloin last summer, has grown to include locations in the South of Market area, Civic Center, the Castro District and the Mission District, according to the Department of Public Works.

The program uses portable toilets in some areas and existing JCDecaux public bathrooms in others, but the key to the program’s popularity is the staffing and regular maintenance provided by public works through a partnership with the nonprofit San Francisco Clean City Coalition, a job training program.

Kim said today that use of the Pit Stops has grown in recent months as residents become more comfortable with them and confident that they will be safe and clean.

DPW officials have said that the Pit Stops, located in areas with a high volume of requests to steam clean the sidewalks, have reduced such requests. Kim today said steam-cleaning requests are down by 60 percent, saving more than 2400 gallons of water per month in her district.

While the toilets clearly benefit those without regular access to private restrooms, Kim also noted the benefits to residents of cleaner sidewalks.

“No one can stop going to the bathroom, that is just not a bodily function that we can control, and no one should be blamed for having to urinate or defecate on the streets,” Kim said. “But we deserve to live and work in a city where we can walk down the streets without stepping over feces or smelling urine.”