Excessive turdage clogs BART escalator!
PoopReport residents of the San Francisco Bay area might be familiar with the Market Street Civic Center Station of the Bay Area Rapid Transit [BART]. City Hall, the War Memorial, San Francisco’s Opera House, and the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library can all be found within walking distance of this station. And according to one of today’s leading stories from the San Francisco Chronicle, it is also within walking distance of an inordinate amount of hobo poo, enough to clog an elevator. This rather large and smelly issue has been confronted by many a morning commuter in the most intimate way, as he or she discovers a second too late that it might be a good idea to watch one’s step.
San Francisco has a large population of homeless, possibly drawn from other areas of the country because of its mild weather. The homeless like to stay in out of the weather and have been using the facilities of BART for nighttime snoozing. This causes problems when nature calls in the middle of the night because bathrooms are few and far between. When ya' gotta, go ya' gotta go, and lately the nighttime residents have been pinching loaves on the escalators..
Last month an inoperative escalator at the Civic Center Station was broken open for repair and found to be so clogged with hobo crap that a hazardous-materials team had to be called in for de-pooping. BART spokesman Jim Allison stated that five of the nine elevators in the station were not working, and while there are many reasons an elevator can break down, the late-night damage done to them is one of the main causes. (The original article referred to this particular cause as “biological excretions,” but we Poopreporters don’t need no stinking formalities.)
And there is a great deal of biological excretion going on, apparently: No matter how frequently San Francisco and BART police officers patrol the high-activity areas, they cannot contain the issue. Nor is the Civic Center Station the only location battling the problem. The BART station at the 16th Street Mission Station, home to the two century-old San Francisco de asis Mission, also known as the Mission Delores, is, according to the BART website, “host to an eclectic mix of restaurants, markets, performance spaces, shops, and nightspots.” It is also host to more hobo poo at most every turn, nook, and cranny in the stairwells that lead up to ground level, because this location is one of the more favored by the homeless for overnight camping.
Police can not make an arrest or issue a citation unless they witness the log being extruded in an inappropriate place. While one would think that anyplace rather than a commode should qualify as inappropriate, a deeper issue remains; the police forces can tell the homeless to move along to another area, but they are not able to solve the main problem, which is at the end of the day these people have nowhere to go. Literally.
BART and city officials are taking the elevator mishap as a sign that it’s time to address the problem together and not in an isolated fashion. Considerable expense is already being incurred by these cleanups. so it seems reasonable to place a porta-potty or several dozen porta-potties in strategic locations frequented by the homeless at night. What do you think, PoopReport? Would porta-potties cost the city more money than elevator repairs? What steps can be taken to alleviate the issue?