Since its opening in July of 2014, San Francisco's SoMa West Skatepark has gotten mixed reviews: While skaters seem to love the place, neighbors have complained about noise and graffiti, and both area residents and park users have decried the park's lack of restrooms as making for a, uh, pissy situation.
Just days after the park's opening, folks like former skateboarder and 20-year Stevenson Street resident Gregory Hutchison told the Chron that since the park opened, "The place we keep our trash bins, people are using for their bathroom."
The city is to blame, another neighbor said at the time, noting that "People are organizing to travel to this skate park. If they are spending hours there, they obviously need to use the restroom. It's unacceptable."
A skater who reviewed the park for Mission Mission also decried the lack of facilities, saying "Need to piss? There aren’t any public port-0-johns in the area, but people are asking the City for them. Try Cash N’ Carry on Van Ness, Zeitgeist, or Rice Paper Scissors at Brick and Mortar Music Hall (make sure to order a banh mi!)."
People asked, perhaps, but they did not receive. As skate park user Travis Knapp-Prasek tells SFist, here we are nearly two years later and the park is still full of "a bunch of puddles of pee that have been festering for months." Though Knapp-Prasek says he's reported the piss "using the 311 system, sending emails and leaving voice mails," DPW has been idle on the urinary issue. So, he took matters in to his own hands:
"It's overwhelming" Knapp-Prasek says as he cleans up the mess. "There's flies everywhere, and caked dirt, piss, shit, trash, throw-up, whatever else...toxic shit, that's where kids play."
According to DPW spokesperson Rachel Gordon, "There was discussion with neighborhood groups about a bathroom...But there was a concern the restrooms would attract nuisances" so the facilities was removed from the table.
According to the Chron, "Paying for and maintaining the bathrooms" for the park, which according to the DPW's website cost $2,258,300, "under limited city budgets were concerns as well."
Back in 2014, Gordon told the Chron that "the city is considering mobile bathrooms," but that a pair of that type of toilets would "cost about $100,000 a year." It appears that that $100K was too much for the city to handle, as here we are years later with a pee-covered park.
So, for now, Knapp-Prasek will be out there, climbing the fence with his trusty bucket and his "QUIT PISSING IN THE SKATEPARK!" signs. "If you see someone attempting to pee inside of the skatepark, call them out!" he urges, as since "the city has not responded to requests to clean up the pee...it just sits there."