New public toilets debut in San Francisco with a futuristic modern look

The sleek new replacements come with a $0 price tag for the city, but there are some strings attached.

Lyanne Melendez Image
Thursday, November 24, 2022
New public toilets debut in SF with a contemporary modern design
New public toilets have arrived in San Francisco, complete with a contemporary futuristic look that reminds you of the series "Star Trek."

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Those European-looking green public toilets in San Francisco will soon be removed from city streets and replaced with ones that will have a more modern look. The new replacements come with a $0 price tag for the city, but there are some strings attached.

The Parisian-inspired, forest green public toilets that San Francisco has grown accustomed to will soon say "au revoir" as the city will replace them with something more contemporary.

"I would say that this is an elegant modern design," explained Carla Short, interim director of the San Francisco Public Works Department.

The design firm SmithGroup won the competition among other participants.

MORE: SF is in need of public restrooms, but is $1.7M too much for a 150-square-foot facility?

"We were looking at the new Transbay, the new Bart portals along Market Street, the kiosks at Civic Center and tried to make a family of furniture, street furniture that fits in with that model," revealed Tyler Krehlik from SmithGroup.

The unusual texture also serves a purpose, to defend again the elements and graffiti.

"Live on the streets and they do get graffiti on them. It's stainless steel that is easily cleanable. The texture you are seeing on it's defense against stickers which is another type of graffiti," added Krehlik

Gaining entry is as easy as pushing a tab with your hand or foot.

"They are really unique that they have this self-cleaning mechanism and then certain bathrooms will be staffed to make sure they stay sort of feeling safe and comfortable," added Short.

MORE: BART unveils renovated bathrooms at SF's Powell Street Station

25 of them will be operational throughout the city in the next four to five years.

Media company JCDecaux has agreed to pay for the public toilets and maintain them in exchange for allowing them to install advertising kiosks in the downtown area.

"We finance it through an advertising model and the cost is in charge of the company so it does not cost anything to the city, explained Francois Nion of JCDecaux.

The old advertising kiosks will also be replaced to look more like the mother ship.

It kind of reminds you of the series "Star Trek." I wonder if it's able to send me to a target location. To ABC7! Beam me up, Scotty! Wow! Never underestimate the power of a few willing to change how we relieve ourselves.

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