Friday Funny: Park Pissoir Prompts Lawsuit

Dolores Park—located between San Francisco’s colorful Castro and Mission neighborhoods—ranks number 1 on Yelp among the city’s best nude parks. For years, the popular 16-acre destination has been known for its counter culture, immodest sunbathers, pot brownie vendors, spectacular city views, and famously irreverent “Hunky Jesus” contest sponsored annually by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

San Francisco

It’s also drawing attention — and some ire — for its unique new restroom “facility.”

A civil suit was served on the City and County of San Francisco last week which seeks the removal of a “pissoir” (pronounced piss-WAH) installed at Dolores Park in February. Neighborhood residents successfully advocated to build the facility, which has been described as an open-air urination hole, to stop people from urinating on local walls, bushes, and sidewalks. The pissoir is located adjacent to the Muni rail line, which runs along the park’s western edge, an area park officials identified as being popular for public peeing. Its construction was part of a $20 million renovation plan that also put more than two dozen toilets in the park.

Scott Wiener, a Democrat on the city’s Board of Supervisors, told the San Francisco Chronicle that “at least 50 community meetings” were held before officials agreed to install the urinal with the goal of expanding restroom options within the park.

Plaintiffs behind the lawsuit allege that the pissoir is an illegal public nuisance because it is “indecent,” “offensive to the senses,” “grossly unseemly,” and “offensive to manners and morals.” They also argue that it is not sufficiently accessible because it was installed for the exclusive use of males and thereby infringes on California law and public policy requiring equal facilities for both sexes. The complaint also alleges that the lack of a sink with running water “is inconsistent with public health policy in relation to hygiene,” and that the pissoir violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office will defend the litigation.

“If I had to predict the top 100 things in Dolores Park likely to offend these plaintiffs, I wouldn’t have guessed that this would make the cut,” said City Attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey in a statement.

This is not the city’s first attempt to thwart what seems to be a rampant public peeing problem: As we reported last summer, San Francisco painted nearly 30 walls with a repellant paint that makes urine spray back on the offender.