Morning Report: San Diego Still Struggles With Access to Public Restrooms | Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: San Diego Still Struggles With Access to Public Restrooms

Porta potties near Plaza de Panama at Balboa Park
Porta potties near Plaza de Panama at Balboa Park on Nov. 1, 2021. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Having access to public restrooms is an issue San Diego’s homeless population grapples with every day, and it’s an issue that city leaders have long struggled to address. 

In a new story, contributing writer Bella Ross reports on the state of the city’s public restrooms

The verdict? It’s not good. 

Access to public restrooms is lacking, and it’s contributing to public health threats, Ross reports. 

Think back to 2017 and 2018 when an outbreak of Hepatitis A swept through the city sickening 582 people and killing 20. The city’s homeless population was most affected. The city recently installed portable restrooms in central San Diego in response to a recent outbreak of shigella, another preventable disease linked to contact with human feces. 

There are some 26 permanent and portable restrooms downtown, but most are closed at night — a restriction lifted during the Hepatitis outbreak, but one that returned during COVID-19. 

The city has tried several things to address the issue, still it spends nearly $1 million a year cleaning human feces and other biohazards off the street, according to an NBC7 investigation. 

And although it’s largely seen as an issue that affects the city’s homeless population, advocates and researchers argue the city’s public restroom shortage impacts other residents, too. 

“The public restroom for the pedestrian is just as important as the public rest stop on an interstate highway, and we need to think about them that way,” said Kathryn Anthony, a distinguished professor at the University of Illinois’ School of Architecture. 

Click here to read the full story here. 

SDSU Stadium Gets New Name 

Snapdragon, a brand of semiconductors used to power smart phones and a division of Qualcomm, will hold the naming rights to San Diego State University’s new football stadium, VenuesNow reports.

SDSU has not announced the deal, but VenuesNow reports an image circulating locally shows a rendering with Snapdragon Stadium branding on the facility’s exterior wall.

Related: In an op-ed, local freelance writer Mike Stetz argues that it’s time to change the name of Qualcomm Way in Mission Valley. The stadium the stretch of road is named after has been reduced to rubble, Stetz writes. And the road certainly doesn’t lead to the Fortune 500 company, Qualcomm.

Stetz provides many alternatives including, “Boo Chargers Circle” and “Go to Hell NFL Avenue.”

Read his argument here.

Talk to Us About Housing

We’re working on a podcast episode about why it’s so expensive to live in San Diego and the San Diego 101 team wants to hear how the region’s housing crisis has impacted you.

Were you forced out of your neighborhood? What trade-offs have you had to make to be able to pay your rent or mortgage? We want to hear about how the high cost of housing in San Diego has impacted you and your family.

Record a voice memo on your phone and send it to nate@vosd.org. Include your full name, where you’re from, and all the details about your story you want to share. Or you can write your story out and we’ll contact you to help record it.

Listen to the San Diego 101 Podcast here.

In Other News

  • Carol Kim was chosen by the board of the Building and Construction Trades Council to lead that coalition of unions as its business manager. She succeeds Tom Lemmon.
  • Service on the extended UCSD Blue Line trolley started Sunday, but access to it remains an issue. (KPBS)
  • Several UC campuses have resorted to housing students in hotel rooms amid a shortage of student housing. Some universities will subsidize or pay the entire cost of hotel rooms, but UC San Diego students have to pay their own way. (CalMatters)
  • About 344,000 San Diego County residents have gotten a COVID-19 booster shot and roughly six out of every 10 of them are 60 or older. (Union-Tribune)
  • Remember Footnote 15? The city is now seeking to dismiss a defamation case filed by NBC 7 producer Dorian Hargrove. In a recent sworn statement, Hargrove said the truth about the footnote will emerge if his lawsuit is permitted to move forward. (Union-Tribune)
  • Flooded northbound lanes on Interstate 5 in downtown remained closed Monday evening. The city tweeted at 7 p.m. that water had been restored to customers in the area following work to repair a broken water main and that repairs were still underway on a second break near Balboa Park.

This Morning Report was written by Maya Srikrishnan and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. It was edited by Megan Wood.

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