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For Echo Park’s homeless, a welcome pit stop

Echo Park Pit Stop portable restrooms on Alvarado Street

Echo Park  —  A pair of plastic portable toilets, a handwashing station and a container to throw away used needles and syringes. Welcome to the Echo Park Pit Stop — the city’s latest effort to deal with its chronic homeless problem.

The Pit Stop, which sit on an empty lot next to the northbound Hollywood Freeway exit at Alvarado Street, is one of 11 such mobile restroom stops across the city. About 30 people a day have been using the pit stop since it opened in March, according to city stats. The pit stops are open 12 hours a day, seven days week.

The mobile restrooms are a few steps away from the tents, mattresses and shopping carts that line both sides of Alvarado where it passes under the freeway. It’s a homeless encampment that is frequently cleared out only to reappear a few days later.

But, according to the two men who work as attendants at the site, the homeless who live in the underpass are not the only ones who have taken advantage of the portable toilets. Pedestrians, bus riders and even some truckers who have come off the freeway have used the facilities, they said.

After a six-month trial run, the City Council in August voted to extend the service for a year and add three Mobile Pit Stops  at a cost of more than $2 million for the entire program. The stops are staffed by workers from Hunters Point Family, a nonprofit that also maintains mobile restrooms in San Francisco.

In addition to providing a place to use a restroom and wash up, the Echo Park Pit Stop also serves as a place to safely dispose of needles and syringes. In a recent month, more than 1,800 syringes were collected.

Echo Park Pit Stop portable restrooms on Alvarado Street

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9 comments

  1. So the city doesn’t do almost anything to address homelessness nor the big developers pushing people out of their homes for luxury condos (as our homeless population balloons to the largest in America)…

    BUT… they have managed to spend TWO MILLION OF OUR TAX DOLLARS on putting out some port-o-potties. Fantastic! Great work Garcetti and team! At this rate LA will become a third world country and Garcetti will still be patting himself on the back for putting out a scooter charging station in the wastelands that remain… what a joke

    • Agree with TheRealMonty. I usually would pay attention to this type of information, but I sure don’t remember seeing anything about these Pit Stops. Rolled out on the quiet?

    • Jeezus… $2 million for six port-a-potties and a couple of maintenance guys in a truck to drive around and clean these once or twice a day. I’m in the wrong line of work 😉

      • Hello. We changed the sentence to make it clear that the $2 million applies to run all the pit stops for a year.

        • Not that that makes it any better. Deploying port-a-potties all year with a few dudes sitting around for $2 mil? Insane. A perfect example of our cities’ complete inability to solve any problem without hemorrhaging impossibly large amounts of tax dollars. Embarrassing.

        • Noted, thanks for clarifying.

  2. thanks! good or bad. peace.

  3. Not a permanent solution of course, but one step to help a little. The only thing that kind of bothers me is why are people who are not homeless using them ? Isn’t that similar to handicap parking spot cheaters?

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