This is a pissoir. Photograph by Diskostu [Flickr].

Where will the bathrooms go? How many will there be? What’s a pissoir?

Yesterday evening was a very special bathroom-obsessed meeting of the Dolores Park rehabilitation project’s steering committee.

The committee, led by landscape architect Steve Cancian, followed up on the results of the previous workshop. That meeting, and this one, were intended to identify community priorities for the park, so that the $7.9 million destined to be spent on the park’s renovation is spent on things that people actually want.

A nicer pissoir, in Berlin. Photograph by Loungerie (Flickr)

The people want bathrooms. “Do we want two bathrooms or one?” Cancian asked the committee.

“Why not three?” was the response

“Because maintaining three restrooms is a cost that will add up,” Cancian replied.

“I don’t want too many porta-potties,” said another member.

“We can include a pissoir,” said Cancian.

“What is a pissoir?” asked the audience.

It’s an open-air urinal where men can relieve their need to urinate behind a “modesty” wall, said Cancian. They’re common in Europe, uncommon in the United States. They could free up more space for women’s restrooms, Cancian said.

“The most important thing,” said Andrew Solow, another committee member, “is that the bathrooms are staffed when open to the public.”

Otherwise, said Solow, the new restrooms would attract people with knives, needles and guns, who would use them as a safe haven. “It would start World War Three,” he said.

In the end, no final bathroom verdict was reached. “The next workshop will be critical, as we will be making key decisions,” said Cancian. Also critical, he said: presenting the ideas discussed in a clear, accurate and articulate manner to the public. That meeting is intended to end with a viable diagram for the architects to start working on.

It is also expected to draw hundreds of people, and will finalize many of the elements that have only been discussed up to this point, like the orientation of the tennis courts, the presence (or lack of) picnic tables, and what will become of the soccer field.

Those who would like to attend the third and probably most important workshop should save the date: August 4 at 6:30 p.m., Everett School Cafeteria, 450 Church Street @ 17th. 

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Octavio Lopez Raygoza

Octavio Lopez Raygoza hails from Los Angeles. Lured by the nightlife, local eateries, and famous chilaquiles, Raygoza enjoys reporting in the Mission District. Although he settled in downtown San Francisco, he spends most of his time in the Mission.

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  1. Enough with the “afrancesamiento” of San Francisco; call it a meadero, not a pissoir.

  2. in business we call meetings with no outcome or actionable items coming out of them a ‘failure’