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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

San Francisco Has Its Own Human Poop Map

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 4:16 PM

click to enlarge JENNIFER WONG
  • Jennifer Wong
The dirtiest alley in San Francisco lies at the periphery of North Beach and the Financial District, flanked by upscale cigar bars, a paella restaurant, a cosmetology school and the Academy of Art college — an incongruous display of wealth right next to the most fetid elements of the city.

St. George Alley can harbor up to 30 piles of poop per week, Department of Public Works employee Steve Mahoney told SFist. That's exceptional. But it also illustrates a seemingly intractable problem in a city with limited public restrooms, constricted homeless services, and a line of filthy JCDecaux bunker toilets that often sit unused. 

Many San Francisco residents might be left wondering how to avoid the ominous piles that are left unattended. Now, thanks to a wonderful bit of service journalism from civil engineer and front-end web developer Jennifer Wong, there's a data map for that.

Wong's graphical heat map, (Human) Wasteland, tracks poop reports made to 311 and breaks them down by neighborhood. Using data amalgamated from January to June 2013, it shows that the Excelsior, SOMA, and the Outer Sunset are among San Francisco's poopiest neighborhoods. While it's hard to draw conclusions from a six-month sample, it seems the best way to avoid the poop problem is to hang out in suburban Crocker-Amazon, on the Daly City border. Per Wong's findings, much of our excrement is concentrated downtown, right in the prime retail and tourist areas.

Well, that's shitty.

On the bright side, (Human) Wasteland was a winner of Zillow's SF office Fall 2014 Hack Week, suggesting that at least one prominent real estate site sees the poop problem as a matter of public interest.

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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.

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