The first of 25-brand new "self-cleaning" public toilets in San Francisco had to be shut down briefly due to "technical issues" after being open for just three days.
The Daily Caller reported Monday that the first of the 25 planned public stainless-steel restroom "pods" was installed and opened to the public last Wednesday in the city's Embarcadero Plaza but had to close for around two hours over the weekend due to technical difficulties.
The "pods" are part of a contract with JCDecaux, a Paris, France, based street furniture company that sells advertising space on the city street fixtures like kiosks, toilets, bus shelters, and signage it designs and makes, according to the company.
The city board of supervisors unanimously approved a 20-year contract with the company in July 2019 to design, install, and maintain 114 three-sided marketing kiosks that include two panels for ads and one for public service, as well as the 25 free public toilets for the city at no cost, according to the company.
Once the installations are completed during the next year or so, 11 of the 25 toilets will have attendants during their 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. hours of operation.
"Twenty-three years after the launch of our advertising street furniture concept in the U.S. in San Francisco, we are very pleased to continue and enhance the collaboration with the City of San Francisco, the world's tech capital," Jean-François Decaux, chairman of the executive board and co-CEO of JCDecaux, said in a press release announcing the contract. "This strategic partnership reflects both the sustainability of our business model as well as our capacity to develop new products and services that help cities deliver much needed infrastructures to their constituents in a fiscally responsible manner."
The new, futuristic, design is concrete with a metallic paint to reflect the surrounding lights without acting as a mirror, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Nov. 23.
"The idea is to make it as indestructible as possible," Tyler Krehlik of SmithGroup, the architect, told the news outlet. "We spent a lot of (design) time coming up with something to look at that would also be simple and durable from a technical standpoint."
The new units will replace the green 1990s-era toilets around the city.
"Some of our architects just walk by the ones now there. They never noticed they existed," Krehlik said, because the Parisian-styled toilets from the first time around are so discreet. "We felt we needed to bring [the replacements] a little more to the front."
According to the report, the metallic design also makes it easier to preserve and clean, lessening the impact of vandalism, drug use, or prostitution.
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