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PRESS RELEASE - Public Works Rolls Out New 'Painted Lady' Public Toilet - 11/20/2017

For immediate release: Nov. 20, 2017

Contact: Rachel Gordon, 415-554-6045



Imaginative Portable Bathroom Added to the Successful Pit Stop Program

San Francisco, CA – San Francisco Public Works is marking World Toilet Day 2017 with the rollout of its new “Painted Lady” portable toilet. The colorful loo is the newest addition to the Pit Stop public toilet program, which provides on-site staffing to ensure the facilities are kept clean and safe and used for their intended purpose.

“We are testing innovative designs that are inviting and encourage people to use them. We will continue to do everything we can to improve your experience on San Francisco’s streets,” said Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru. “At the end of the day, the Pit Stops bring relief and dignity to people in need of a bathroom and improve neighborhood livability.”

World Toilet Day, a United Nations initiative celebrated annually in November, aims to inspire people to tackle the global sanitation crisis. An estimated 2.4 billion people worldwide are living without a toilet.

Public Works began the Pit Stop in 2014 with three locations in the Tenderloin to help address the problem of people inappropriately using sidewalks and doorways as toilets. The program now operates at 17 locations in eight neighborhoods.

Collectively, they account for more than 300,000 flushes a year. Each Pit Stop also offers safe needle disposal boxes and free dog waste bags.

The portable Painted Lady Pit Stop, which will be unveiled at noon today at the corner of Haight Street and Buena Vista Avenue West, will be rotated among the existing Pit Stop sites, temporarily replacing the more standard-looking toilet trailers.

A nod to the City’s Victorians, the custom-made, solar-powered portable toilet was a design and manufacturing collaboration between Public Works and Tiny Potties, an enterprise owned by San Francisco entrepreneur Nick Bovis.

“If you give someone a little dignity you can remove a little humiliation from their life. By creating a real-house bathroom and bringing it to people who don’t have a home, you bring them a little dignity,” Bovis said.

The Pit Stop program also has a workforce development component. The toilets are staffed through a partnership with Hunters Point Family, a local nonprofit organization that provides job opportunities for people who have faced barriers to employment. The Pit Stop employs former state prisoners.

“Hunters Point Family is proud and excited to partner with Public Works to transform the way we approach and address some of the most complex and challenging issues facing our urban centers,” said Lena Miller, executive director of development for Hunters Point Family. “The Pit Stop program represents the next level of social innovation by providing much-needed employment opportunities for former ‘lifers.’ They transform their communities, while they transform their own lives.”

The Pit Stop utilizes a mix of portable toilets and semi-permanent JCDecaux public toilet facilities. The program also staffs one park bathroom in the South of Market neighborhood. The portable Pit Stops are transported to and from their locations on their scheduled days of operation, and secured overnight off site.

In addition to the Painted Lady model, Public Works recently upgraded the Pit Stop portable toilet fleet with new units that meet today’s ADA standards and offer a more comfortable and welcoming experience for users.

The Pit Stop concept has been picked up by other cities, including Miami, Sacramento and Denver, and last year won a Bright Ideas in Government Award from the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School.

More information on the Pit Stop program can be found

Also, check out the newest episode of Public Works TV, which features the Pit Stop:


Press Releases
Release Date
Monday, November 20, 2017