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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Thursday, December 7, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Judge Reinforces San Francisco Park Pissoir

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — An open-air urinal in a popular San Francisco park has withstood a legal challenge from a Christian group that called it offensive, indecent and unconstitutional.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn on Friday dismissed a lawsuit the San Francisco Chinese Christian Union and a park neighbor filed in April.

The plaintiffs call the facility a pissoir; the city calls it a pPod. It's a roughly 4-foot diameter concrete pad with a drain in the middle, surrounded on three sides by a 4-foot-high screen.

It was built during a renovation of Mission Dolores Park. The 16-acre park, with a playground, sports field, basketball and tennis courts, can draw more than 10,000 people on a sunny weekend day.

The plaintiffs claimed the pissoir/pPod violates the constitutional right to privacy, discriminates against women and the disabled, violates the plumbing code and creates a nuisance.

"Persons urinate into the hole in public view," they said in the lawsuit. It is "at a busy street corner, between a sidewalk and a train stop. There is no signage, accessibility for persons with disabilities, and no place to wash hands."

Judge Kahn found all eight of their claims without merit.

"The installation and maintenance of the pissoir does not contravene any of the constitutional provisions, statutes or common law rules cited by plaintiffs nor, even if it did, would there be any basis to issue the requested injunctive relief," he wrote.

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