‘Enough is enough’: TTC to install gates after yet another vehicle drives into streetcar tunnel
Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Saturday, March 17, 2018 2:16PM EDT
The TTC says it will move to install gates at the entrance to a busy streetcar tunnel after yet another motorist strayed into the tunnel and got stuck, holding up two major streetcar routes for hours.
“It’s incredibly frustrating,” TTC Spokesman Brad Ross told CP24 Saturday. “It’s incredibly frustrating for our customers because what this means is that two significant streetcar routes – the 509 and 510 are having to divert because somebody was unable to pay attention to rumble strips, to bollards, to signs, to lights, to the raised track that is down at the bottom of that tunnel.
“So enough is enough and we will be installing a gate mechanism there.”
At around 5:30 a.m. Saturday, the TTC had to divert service on the 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadina routes because a vehicle drove down the streetcar portal at Queens Quay and Bay Street and got stuck.
According to Toronto police, a man in his 20s was found in the tunnel, with his foot still on the pedal of his stuck vehicle.
The man was arrested for impaired driving.
However it took crews several hours to remove his vehicle from the tunnel. Regular streetcar service finally resumed shortly after 10 a.m.
This is the second time in as many weeks that streetcar service has been stalled because of a vehicle driving into a tunnel. Last Sunday, the same thing happened overnight, delaying streetcar service.
The move has become such a common occurrence that it recently gave rise to a fake event on Facebook, inviting people to “drive your car in the Queens Quay Streetcar tunnel.”
Calling it “the activity Torontonians just can't get enough of!” the poster invited people to “take a scenic drive through historic Queen’s Quay Streetcar tunnel on a lovely spring day!” but quickly added “In case it wasn't obvious enough. Your car will be destroyed and you will be fined.”
Ross said the TTC has avoided adding a gate to the tunnel until now out of fears that it could cause delays if it fails. However Ross said the latest occurrence is the last straw.
“We have avoided a gate because as we’ve said the problem with gates is that they are mechanical and they can fail,” Ross said. “When they fail, they fail safe, but that also means that streetcars then can’t get in and out of the tunnel like they’re supposed to be able to do.”
Mayor John Tory also weighed in Saturday, saying he supports the gate installation, but that it’s unfortunate that it’s necessary.
“Thanks to all the first responders who worked to fix this ridiculous & frustrating situation (yet again),” Tory said in a tweet. “Glad the TTC is taking action to install a gate but disappointed bollards, signs, rumble strips, flashing lights & raised track aren’t already enough to stop some drivers.”
Ross said the TTC will keep the public posted about the timeline for the gate installation.
Despite bollards, signs, rumble strips, flashing lights and raised track, some still manage to drive their cars down the Queens Quay streetcar portal, though mostly on weekends and in the middle of the night. Enough. The TTC will now be installing a gate mechanism.— Brad Ross (@bradTTC) March 17, 2018