San Francisco Is Creating Anti-Pee Walls To Combat Public Urination

San Francisco is tackling public urination with a novel approach: They’re painting certain problem walls with a superhydrophobic paint that will make urine splash back at the urinator, rather than soaking into the wall.

Department of Public Works representative Mohammed Nuru points out that this isn’t just a slightliness (odorliness?) issue, it’s an issue of resources. When someone urinates or defecates in public, a DPW employee has to come and clean it, costing labor that could be better spent, and costing water that California desperately needs to conserve.

Critics say that the program unfairly targets the homeless, and although Nuru points out that there are public restrooms available on San Francisco’s streets, it’s notable that those restrooms aren’t open 24 hours a day. San Francisco’s homeless population is rising sharply because of a housing crisis resulting from the tech boom, too, despite the fact that nationwide, homelessness is declining.

However, beyond the subject of homelessness, Dave Lee from the BBC had this to say about urinating in public:

“Many people urinate in public out of what they see as a necessity. A 30-minute train journey could spell disaster for a bladder, far better to pee outside than on the train, they argue.”

This prompts a series of questions:

  • Really? Are people arguing that? Who is arguing that? Who are these people?
  • Do they have just incredibly, abnormally undersized bladders?
  • Because seriously, is 30 minutes really that long to hold it?
  • If really you had to pee that badly, couldn’t you just get off at a closer train stop, find a public restroom, and then get back on the train?
  • Can I place a bet on these people being people who have penises and who were socialized as men? (#NotAllMen, I know.)

I feel like when you live in a packed urban area, and you have the privilege of housing and a job and the ability to afford public transportation easily, you enter into a certain set of covenants that keeps living in tight proximity to other people manageable. One of those covenants is that you don’t find dumb excuses (“OMG the train ride is sooooooo looooooong”) to urinate in shared spaces.

And also, maybe, if you’re a person (public urinator or no) in the Bay Area who can afford housing and plumbing and public transportation, consider donating to the Homeless Youth Alliance.





[Image via Shutterstock]
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