Public urination continues to be a problem in many cities all around the world.
San Francisco’s Crumbling Light Poles
In early August, a three-story-tall light pole in San Francisco broke and landed on a nearby car, nearly crushing the driver. Experts from the city’s Public Utilities Commission believe that many years of getting targeted by public urinators (both human and canine) had caused its base to corrode and snap. Officials are worried that the city’s 25,000 aging light poles may soon suffer the same fate and they’re urging swift action. So far, 100 of the city’s most dilapidated poles have been replaced and residents can download an app onto their phones to report others that look like they’re about to collapse. The commission is also trying to encourage people (and dogs) to use restrooms or take aim at sturdier targets. “Our fire hydrants are stronger and made out of cast iron,” quipped PUC Spokesman Tyrnoe Jue.
New York City’s Problematic Pee Policy
In the Big Apple, public urination is a criminal offense that can lead to a stiff fine or even jail time. The hardline policy dates to the early ‘90s as part of a series of strict regulations that helped clean up the city’s famously crime-ridden streets. Now, officials are thinking of softening their stance on public peeing. Community activists argue that treating public pee-ers severely can have unintended negative consequences, such as criminal records that will prevent them from getting into college or landing a new job. Others argue that the regulations should stay in place since this continues to be a huge problem in the city. Last year, 28,609 people were cited for whizzing in public. A controversial July cover story in The New York Post that featured a homeless man relieving himself in the middle of traffic on Broadway may help convince city officials to keep these regulations in place.