Discussion related to commuter rail and transit operators in California past and present including Los Angeles Metrolink and Metro Subway and Light Rail, San Diego Coaster, Sprinter and MTS Trolley, Altamont Commuter Express (Stockton), Caltrain and MUNI (San Francisco), Sacramento RTD Light Rail, and others...

Moderator: lensovet

  by amtrakowitz
San Francisco Chronicle
When work crews pulled open a broken BART escalator at San Francisco's Civic Center Station last month, they found so much human excrement in its works they had to call a hazardous-materials team.

While the sheer volume of human waste was surprising, its presence was not. Once the stations close, the bottom of BART station stairwells in downtown San Francisco are often a prime location for homeless people to camp for the night or find a private place to relieve themselves.

All those biological excretions can gum up the wheels and gears of BART's escalators, shutting them down for long periods of extended repairs, increasing station cleaning costs and creating an unpleasant aroma for morning commuters. …
  by Tadman
Wow. Just what I wanted to hear, two days before my SFO trip... How'd you like to be the Otis elevator guy?
  by 3rdrail
If you're a tourist, chances are that you won't be using the Civic Center stop - that's the good news. Powell, the next stop, you most likely will be - it's worse there.
  by Tadman
I can confirm this story is totally true. There are quite a few escalators out of service on the Market Street strip... Everybody out here is having a good laugh at this one.
  by 3rdrail
Tadman wrote:I can confirm this story is totally true. There are quite a few escalators out of service on the Market Street strip... Everybody out here is having a good laugh at this one.
They're really not. What I'm hearing universally from the public to the cops is that they're pissed that the city has unofficially allowed the street people to take over these areas which are in the forefront of view by visitors and natives alike. I had occasion to walk with two SFPD officers out of the Central Division in the Tenderloin. Powell was within thirty feet of the police booth, there to assist the public there, but the mayor didn't want the image of inconveniencing the street people. The officers that I were with, the general public that I saw, and myself were disgusted with the conditions there, but it was a no-win situation to even think about displacing them to an intake.
PJ and Everyone: I spent some time in SF back in the Fall of 2000...

I learned that SF has the highest per-capita homeless population in the US and only
is exceeded by NYC which is many times larger...

Homeless people are attracted to SF mainly because of the moderate climate year-round
without extremes and how the SF Government generally tolerates them...

I also learned that SF is the most PC (politically correct) city in America that I have ever

SF is not cheap: It has one of the highest costs of living in the US rivaling other major cities
like NYC...

SF still was quite interesting and I enjoyed my time there for example using BART and MUNI
transit services...

  by Adams_Umass_Boston
We visited in 07 and there was a man taking a bathroom break on the escalator at the Powell street station. This was in the middle of the afternoon.

Would not compare to a hot 90 degree day stuck on a Red line car with no AC here in Boston. Where a homeless man promptly went on the floor.
  by Tadman
Paul, maybe I should temper my comments to include the fact that I was at a bar after a sports league game. That doesn't really reflect the general population, and everybody is well-lubed and enjoying a good joke or two. Poop is funny at a bar...

SF does have very homeless-friendly laws, which would drive me nuts. Homeless have squatters' rights out there. I don't totally understand that, but it sounds like they're allowed to sleep in my yard if they want to.
  by tommyboy6181
Maybe BART needs to look at building fully enclosed entrance structures for the underground stations that actually lock up at night at street level. This way, people can't sleep at the bottom of the escalators at night, and it would also reduce future capital costs with this type of situation.
  by neroden
Believe it or not, this sort of thing was one of the many reasons why free public restrooms were built and maintained back in the 19th century.

(Yes, they had homeless people then too.)

Anyway, it worked tolerably well then.
  by 3rdrail
It worked horribly then. Diseases like Tetanus and Diphtheria and a host of other bacteria born diseases were the result. Sometimes, the diseases would wipe out entire villages and cities in a swoop. I don't know if you've ever had the occasion to go to a third world country, but if you do, you will be required by the U.S. Department of Health to be inoculated with things that perhaps "were" unecessary in the U.S. That exclusion may be changing soon if we allow our cities to re-enter the 1800's.
  by neroden
3rdrail wrote:It worked horribly then.
You seem to be very confused. The construction of free public restrooms (with public sanitation workers maintaining them) was part of the public sanitation program which was designed to reduce the problem of contagious diseases. And it worked tolerably well.

Yes, of COURSE I've been to MANY third world countries, and have been inoculated against all manner of stuff. Those places DON'T have public restrooms. The US in the very late 19th and early 20th century started to build public restrooms to get people to stop defecating in the street. So did Russia under the Communists, though they're all pay restrooms there... very cheap though.

Later, the US started housing homeless people, reducing the issue, but the US stopped consistently doing that in the Reagan administration.

In fact, by NOT having public restrooms, we ARE going back to the 1800s.