TTC to install gate after car gets stuck in Queens Quay tunnel again

The TTC says it will look at installing a gate at its Queen Quay tunnel after a car got stuck in for the second time in a week.

Transit agency says it's the 2nd time in a week a driver drove a vehicle into the streetcar tunnel

This car was pulled out of the Queen Quay streetcar tunnel on Saturday morning. The TTC says it will look at installing a gate outside the tunnel after the incident. (James Morrison-Collalto/CBC)

The TTC says it will look at installing a gate at its Queens Quay tunnel after a car got stuck in the transit passageway for the second time in a week.

A man, 24, has been charged with impaired driving in the incident, Toronto police said Saturday.

Brad Ross, TTC's executive director of corporate and customer communications, said enough is enough. It's about the 26th time that a vehicle has gotten stuck in the streetcar tunnel since 2014.

"Despite the fact that we have rumble strips, we have bollards, we have painted lines on the roadway, we have flashing red lights, all sorts of signage, cars still can't seem to navigate that portion of the roadway and do make their way into the tunnel," Ross said.

"We're having to extract these vehicles. We're having to send special crews down to pull the cars out. It's an incredible inconvenience for everybody." 
A man, 24, has been charged with impaired driving after he allegedly drove down this tunnel early Saturday. (CBC)

Ross said a "gate mechanism," operated remotely by streetcar drivers, would act as a physical barrier to prevent vehicles from entering the tunnel. 

The cost of a gate or a timeline for installation has not been worked out yet, he added. 

"It will be as soon as possible," he said. 

The TTC decided a gate was necessary after an incident last weekend that involved a car with Quebec licence plates, Ross said.

Driver located with foot still on gas pedal

In the latest incident, police were called to the scene at Queens Quay and Bay Street at about 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, according to Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service.

Officers located the man still in his vehicle and deep in the tunnel, with his foot still on the gas pedal.

Douglas-Cook said the car had come to a rest. 
Toronto police were called to the scene at 4:30 a.m. (CBC)

The man was not injured, but he was arrested and charged. His car was damaged.

The TTC said the 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadina streetcars had to turn back at Queens Quay and Spadina Avenue for hours because of the incident, but regular service has resumed.

Ross said the transit agency also plans to work with the GPS traffic and navigation app, Waze, to ensure drivers are told to avoid driving into the TTC transit tunnel. A "geofence" around the tunnel could be created, he said.

And the transit agency could always add more signs. 

"As I say, we have plenty down right now. Clearly, it's not enough. From the TTC's perspective, we need a physical barrier at this point," he said.