New Ocean Beach restroom to close at night?

Extended trial period rankles some residents

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.

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When was some one attacked using the beach's bathroom at night? I never heard anything about this? I've been to the beach at night often during grunion runs, for walks when I can't sleep or sometimes with my boyfriend for a quiet romantic evening. I've never felt any fear while using the bathroom at night. Is the town council trying to implement rules based on their own ideas and prejudice and not on the reality of what is happening? As far as I'm concerned, there is no need to lock the bathrooms up at night for my safety and security. On the contrary, I need the bathrooms to be kept open so when I am at the beach at night, there is a place to take care of my biological needs. If I am not mistaken, our tax dollars paid for these bathrooms; the rules guiding them should be what the public needs... not what the town council wants.

I agree it should be based on what the public needs. Closing them from midnight to 6:30 am seems to serve the majority of the public. The bathrooms at the lifeguard tower are open 24/7. Maybe four or five months ago I heard screaming coming from the bathrooms from as far away as the lifeguard station, when I entered to see what was going on I saw four bums drinking & "singing". Keep the bathrooms closed at night.

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