Say you’re out and about in Philadelphia when the urge to go strikes.
You really, really, really have to go.
But you’re down in the subway, and there’s just no other place to empty your bladder. So you go, right there on the walkway, right there against the wall.
From now on, you might want to hold it unless you want to wear that pee home on your clothes or shoes.
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Taking a cue from San Francisco, the City of Brotherly Love is about to crack down on public urination in a very colorful way.
This fall the Southern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority will try out a pee-resistant paint that repels urine and splashes it back on the depositor.
According to the Billy Penn news site, it’s unclear where the paint will be used in the transit system, but it could be tested inside elevators, on walls or walkways.
“Could our days of encountering sad, smelly puddles on the way to the sub be numbered?” wrote the website. “Probably not, but SEPTA is exploring a new public urination prevention approach.”
Science is the secret to the paint. The nanotechnology in the Ultra-Ever Dry paint creates a shield of air on surfaces that causes liquid — water, urine, whatever — to bounce off instead of run straight down.
The transportation authority plans to try out the paint within the next few weeks.
Like San Francisco and many large cities, the City of Brotherly love has had it with public urination — and the accompanying eau de toilet.
Even after San Francisco banned public urination and instituted fines of $50 to $100, the problem persisted.
So public works crews in San Francisco painted walls around the city with the special pee-proof paint last year as part of a campaign to cut down on public peeing.
Right after plans were announced a light pole corroded by urine fell on a car.
San Francisco’s public works director, Mohammed Nuru, was inspired by Hamburg, Germany, which painted walls in its busy nightclub district with the pee-proof paint, CNN reported last year.
According to the Daily Mail, local Hamburg businesses banded together to install the specially painted “pee wall” to discourage “wildpinklers” - that’s German for “free pee-ers.”
As one merchant said: “It’s pee-back time.”
Not everyone likes the revenge aspect of pee-proof paint. Some people think using the paint in places frequented by homeless people — as in public transit systems — is cruel.
“Ostensibly, the majority of subway urinators are homeless people who don’t have access to restrooms,” a columnist for Gizmodo writes about Philadelphia’s plan.
“San Francisco officials chose to not explicitly state walls coated with Ultra-Ever Dry splash back; instead, the signage reads, ‘Hold it! This wall is not a public restroom. Please respect San Francisco and seek relief in an appropriate place.’
“This doesn’t account for the people who don’t have access to ‘an appropriate place.’
“Hopefully, SEPTA will put up clear signage warning people the paint is there, so a homeless person wouldn’t have to endure the added humiliation of accidentally urinating on themselves.”