Will your walk to work this summer become like a fun video game in which you have to side-step and hop over piles of poop and puddles of urine? The city of S.F. is a little worried that sidewalk power-washing could become a fine-able offense under new, drought-related water restrictions that are set to be approved this week.
Some SFist commenters already pointed out this potential pee problem last week when we covered the State Water Resources Control Board's impending restrictions, which could include the washing of hard surfaces like sidewalks, and watering of lawns to the point of runoff.
The board is meeting Tuesday to likely approve those restrictions, and now the city's Department of Public Works is getting concerned that it would face the same $500 fines as any water users caught in the act of hosing their driveway. The difference, though, is that there is kind of a public-safety hazard with fecal matter dotting our sidewalks, and that's something the DPW takes pretty seriously.
As SFist quantified for you back in May, there are quite a lot of complaints about feces and urine on S.F.'s city streets. DPW's Steve Mahoney said then that they get about 8,500 special requests for steam cleaning of sidewalks, most of them feces- and urine-related, and today DPW spokesperson Rachel Gordon tells the Chron that there are almost twice as many total reports of streets and sidewalks in need of cleaning, with 16,164 last year — a great many of those related to human waste.
What in holy poop-covered hell will St. George Alley look like if the department is forbidden from heading there to clean up the 30 piles of shit it claims to find on a weekly basis it is basically a block-long toilet, earning it the moniker "San Francisco's filthiest Alley."
Per the Chron, "City officials say they've already reduced the amount of water used in their street-cleaning trucks in light of the drought, and they don't spray the sidewalks unless necessary." But, obviously, some spraying is going to continue to be necessary.
Because, like, come on.