Dolores Park Open-Air Urinal Takes Aim At San Francisco’s Public Urination Problem

Dolores Park in San Francisco, California, has debuted its first open-air urinal. The new toilet is the latest attempt to tackle the city’s ongoing public urination problem.

Offering some privacy, the outdoor urinal near the park’s Mission District sits on a concrete base and is partially surrounded by a screen and plants. Prior to recent improvements, the park had just three toilets, forcing many visitors to use the bushes and the sides of buildings for relief.

Dolores Park debuts new open-air urinal.
The new outdoor urinal in San Francisco’s Dolores Park. [Photo by Jeff Chiu/AP]

“Honestly, we were ready to go pee anywhere,” said San Francisco resident Aaron Cutler. “So any facility is better than none.”

As reported by Fox News, the city spent over $20 million on renovations inside Dolores Park, which included 26 new toilets and the open-air urinal. San Francisco Recreation and Park Department spokeswoman Sarah Madland noted the public urinal may be the first one in the U.S.

In 2002, the City by the Bay increased the fine for public urination to $500, yet the penalty did little to discourage the act. The city later painted 30 walls with urine resistant paint that makes the pee reflect back onto the offender.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, New York City recently reduced the penalty for public urination to $25. Anyone caught peeing in public within the city will not face jail time, but instead will be given a ticket by the police.

Public urination is such a problem in San Francisco that mobile, solar-powered toilets patrol the city streets several times a week. City crews regularly inspect over 10,000 light posts to make sure they don’t fall over from pee-related erosion. The inspections were initiated after a light post stretching three stories corroded by a mix of human and dog urine collapsed.

“Dolores Park has seen an exponential increase in the number of visitors. On a sunny Saturday, it can host between 7,000 and 10,000 people,” Madland said. “One of the goals of the renovation was to address the littering and public urination issues that were rampant at the park.”

San Francisco supervisor Scott Wiener agrees with the installation of the open-air urinal. He says the more options available for visitors to relieve themselves, the better it is for everyone.

Another 10 public toilets will be continually maintained by attendants. As an added incentive for park-goers to use the public restroom, the staff will consistently clean and restock supplies while keeping the area clear of anyone using drugs or sleeping nearby.

Using funds approved through the Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond passed in 2008, the city has been working on various improvements to Delores Park over the past two years. In addition to the public urinal, visitors attending a reopening celebration of the southern portion of the park Wednesday night were greeted with a pristine lawn, elevated paved pathways, off-leash dog areas, and an overlook with benches that offer a skyline view of the city.

For the party, electric candles within white paper bags lined pathways leading visitors to various areas of the refurbished park. Thousands of individuals were in attendance equipped with flashlights, wearing glow-in-the-dark clothing, and carrying other illuminated items like balloons and floating jellyfish.

Both the north side and the south side of Delores Park were revamped. The north side of the park was finished and opened eight months ago with new amenities, including lighted tennis and basketball courts, new bathrooms, and improved irrigation underneath the fresh sod.

The 13.7-acre south side of Delores Park was originally supposed to open January 14, but it was postponed by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department due to inclement weather. A series of storms struck the city that week, and park officials feared the combination of the crowds in attendance with heavy rains would destroy the new grass.

Dolores Park officials open a new open-air urinal for visitors to use.
San Francisco’s iconic Dolores Park is now home to the city’s first open-air urinal. [Photo by Jeff Chiu/AP]

The new public urinal in Delores Park is located away from any playgrounds, and so far, the city has not received any complaints from parents.

“I think they’ll be going to the bathroom and moving on,” San Francisco-resident Kristine Hallet said.

The simple open-air urinal is quite common in Europe, especially in cities like Copenhagen, Denmark. The public toilet in Delores Park is something new to San Francisco as well as the rest of the U.S. and seems to be a welcome addition for park visitors.

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

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