Say what you will about BART, they’re never ones to shy away from an outside-the-box solution to a problem. (For better or worse.)
It was creative problem solving (of a kind) when they closed restrooms in the underground stations in 2001 for fear of a terrorist attack. The rationale was that a quick trip to the restroom could theoretically be a handy opportunity to ready a bomb.
Some riders (and some BART directors) would argue that the everyday problem of dozens of station with no available facilities has since become more pressing than terror worries, particularly since it's clear at first sniff that a few folks are in the habit of using the elevators as pinch hit urinals.
Now there’s a potential creative solution to that too: Last week, BART installed a "bacteria-eating enzyme misting system" in the Civic Center Station elevator shafts. Once an hour, automated puffers blast a cloud of anti-bacterial fume (that smells like lavender) down the elevator shaft, gobbling up unfortunate microorganisms.
Yes, this is a lot more work than just reopening the bathrooms. But the elevators were notably stinky places even before the restroom woes, so the occasional cloud of enzyme mist might not be a bad idea anyway.
Civic Center also recently installed a system to pump out the base of the elevator shaft, an infamously swampy zone known as "the pit." And all elevators will soon have "Polyurea epoxy" floors that keep water out, to the tune of $2 million.
The bacteria-eating spritzer is just a prototype, so we’ll see how it stands up to eau de Civic Center after the first week or two.
- Elevator upgrade schedule [BART]
- BART Remembers Passengers Pee [San Francisco Magazine]
- BART Spending $2 Million Combating Urine [KRON]
- SF Has Crazy Plan To Fight Pee Stink [The Verge]