Judge: Open-Air ‘Pissoir’ in San Francisco is Constitutional

Dolores Park pissoir urinal (@rajbot / Twitter)
@rajbot / Twitter

A San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled last week that visitors to the city’s Dolores Park may relieve themselves using an open-air urinal that was deemed constitutional, despite legal action attempted against it that argued otherwise.

“The installation and maintenance of the pissoir does not contravene any of the constitutional provisions, statutes or common law rules cited by plaintiffs nor, even if it did, would there be any basis to issue the requested injunctive relief,” San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn wrote in his ruling this week. He struck down arguments presented by the San Francisco Chinese Christian Union, which had filed a lawsuit in April alleging the open-air pissoir was a nuisance and unfair to women and people with disabilities.

“They’re just against it because of homophobia and they’re worried about perverts,” Doug Mackinnon, 70, told the San Francisco Chronicle, dismissing the pissoir’s opponents.

The open-air pissoir consists of a concrete drain built into the ground, and is half-surrounded by a fence and tarp. The area around it is surrounded by flowers.

The Chronicle notes that people who support the open-air urinal say it helps cut down congested lines in the men’s bathroom, and was a better option than having to deal with urination in alleyways or on trees.

Opponents disagree.

“It’s disgusting. There are bathrooms right down there at the playground and over there,” Tess Robertson, 22, told the Chronicle.

San Francisco has had a public urination and defecation problem for quite some time.

Public urination, and more, recently turned a celebrated, mural-festooned alleyway in San Francisco’s Mission District that was named one of “the most beautiful spots” in the city into an outdoor toilet.

In an attempt to deter public pissing, even of San Francisco’s most urine-prone walls were painted with pee-repellant paint that sprays urine right back onto the shoes and pants of individuals committing the unsavory act. The paint, known as Ultra-Ever Dry, appears to be working so far.

As for Dolores Park’s open-air pissoir, Oakland resident Joshue Echevarria, 26, told the Chronicle that he supports the idea because “it’s so fun peeing next to someone and enjoying the nice view.”

 Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter and Periscope @AdelleNaz