Salt Lake City considers traveling toilet program

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Salt Lake City is considering spending over $100,000 next year to follow the lead of San Francisco and buy a portable trailer with a pair of toilets that can be moved around where needed to prevent public urination and defecation.

The problem of people relieving themselves in public spaces has become especially prevalent in downtown Salt Lake City, where there is a high concentration of people, said Councilwoman Lisa Adams, who is pushing for the city to launch a trial program similar to the one in California.

“We had to take out landscaping that was on 5th West because it was being used for bathrooms,” Adams said on Monday. “People just urinating on the rocks.”

The program in California called Pit Stop has been running for about two years and consists of a fleet of trailers in San Francisco that are each strapped with toilets and monitored by an attendant, according to the city’s Public Works website.

Salt Lake City councilmembers began considering launching such a program after visiting San Francisco a few weeks ago.

Salt Lake City would likely start with a one-year pilot program that consists of a single trailer, Adams said. But she hopes it would expand after that first year.

A single trailer would cost about $136,000 per year, according to the council. Each trailer would likely run for seven hours every weekday and come with an attendant to make sure the facility is used appropriately.

The attendant would likely be responsible for regularly cleaning the facility and tracking when someone goes in and comes out of the bathroom, Adams said. The data would help officials determine what areas of the city need the bathrooms the most.

The Salt Lake City mayor’s office has questioned whether there is room in the budget to pay for such a program.

“We have an incredibly tight budget this year, in fact probably one of the tightest budgets we’ve had in some time,” said the mayor’s spokesman, Matthew Rojas. “So every project needs to be scrutinized very closely to make sure we’re making the most impact.”

The Salt Lake Tribune reported Sunday that while Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall said she supports such a program, she is concerned that the city may not have the funds for such expensive toilets.

The city must decide on next year’s budget by June 22.

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