Pit Stop Goes Victorian With “Painted Ladies” Toilets

The rollout coincides with World Toilet Day and adds to the portable toilet program.

(Photo courtesy of San Francisco Department of Public Works)

The Painted Ladies are going on tour — in the form of portable toilets.

San Francisco Public Works added a new public toilet to its Pit Stop program, unveiling it Monday to coincide with Sunday’s World Toilet Day. The United Nations initiative draws attention to the estimated 4.5 billion people worldwide living without a safe toilet.

The Painted Ladies model comes with two toilets shaped as bright yellow and green Victorian houses that outshine other regular-looking portable toilets — and come equipped with safe needle-disposal boxes and free dog-waste bags. So if you’ve got a “full house” down there, you can empty it with dignity.

“We are testing innovative designs that are inviting and encourage people to use them,” says Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru in a statement. “At the end of the day, the Pit Stops bring relief and dignity to people in need of a bathroom and improve neighborhood livability.”

The Pit Stop program — which employs former state prisoners through the nonprofit Hunters Point Family — launched in 2014 and has 17 public toilets in eight neighborhoods. Public Works estimates the fleet accounts for more than 300,000 flushes a year.

 

The Painted Ladies toilets are solar-powered and came out of a collaboration with Tiny Potties and its owner Nick Bovis.

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

For more on Pit Stop locations, visit sfpublicworks.org/pitstop.

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