Toronto transit officials say it will now be “next to impossible” for motorists to mistakenly find their way in the Queen’s Quay streetcar tunnel following the installation of two drop-down barriers.
The gates were finally put into full-time operation on Friday after months of design and testing to prevent drivers from entering the tunnel and causing transit delays.
“We had to install transponders on all of the streetcars, had to remind our drivers and operators how to approach these things to use them safely,” TTC senior communication specialist Stuart Green said.
“Our hope is that this is one more thing that will indicate to people you should not be driving into that tunnel.”
The tunnel, which services the 509 and 510 downtown streetcars, already has signals and signs installed indicating to drivers that the route is off-limits to motorists.
Earlier this year, two incidents of vehicles getting stuck inside the tunnel during the same week prompted the local transit authority to think of a more impenetrable solution.
“Since 2014, we’ve had about 26 cars enter this tunnel and that’s despite flashing lights, the rumble strips, the bollards back at the intersection,” Green said.
“All of these things that we’ve put in over time to indicate that you should not be driving in that tunnel, those other things have not stopped cars.”
Transit officials say these occurrences have a major impact on the TTC’s operations and they hope this latest approach will finally keep vehicles out for good.
“Hopefully this is just one more deterrent,” Green said.
“We never say never when it comes to stopping all of the cars from going in there. But certainly, if you’re approaching this gate, it doesn’t go up, you’re going to think twice about proceeding.”