Should the restrooms at the foot of Brighton Avenue in Ocean Beach be locked up at night? The city has given itself a time extension to decide, and some members of the public are none too pleased about it.
The restrooms, which opened amid much fanfare last July, had been open 24 hours a day until mid-April, when a private security company began locking it up from midnight to 6:30 a.m. A 30-day trial period ended May 15, but now the city says that time frame was too early in the year to get a realistic idea of how the shortened hours could impact the community.
District 2 city councilman Kevin Faulconer and the city's Park and Recreation Department have agreed to extend the trial period another 30 days, until mid-June. A time period closer to summer that includes the Memorial Day weekend could allow the city to get better data on potential impacts such as public urination and vandalism, according to Faulconer staffers.
The extension came as an unpleasant surprise to some board members on May 22 at the monthly meeting of the Ocean Beach Town Council, who want the restrooms closed at night permanently — now.
“There was no discussion about a secondary trial period if there was no major damage,” board member Jim Musgrove said. “I don't think this is acceptable.”
During the first 30-day period, there was evidence of public urination and a defecation in the area outside the building during closed hours, but no vandalism, Faulconer aide John Ly said.
Park and Recreation favors the restrooms being open 24-7, Ly said, as is the case at the public restrooms at the lifeguard tower south of the Brighton Avenue restrooms. But people relieving themselves outside the building “should be a police issue, not a Park and Rec issue,” Musgrove said.
Town council president Dave Martin agreed. “What didn't happen [during the trial period] was no one was sleeping, no one was attacked, and no equipment was damaged. That's why this organization is adamant that we want it locked for the safety and security of our residents,” he said.