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Another car got stuck in the Queens Quay streetcar tunnel

Posted on 04 January 2018 by admin

The Sunday morning incident blocked streetcars from entering the tunnel from 4 a.m. until about 1 p.m. Since 2014, there have been more than 20 similar incidents.

Another driver has landed in hot water after getting stuck in the Queens’ Quay streetcar tunnel early Sunday morning.

Police were called to the scene around 4 a.m. and found a grey Ford SUV abandoned near the end of the streetcar platform.

The licence plates of the vehicle had been removed and all personal effects had been cleaned out of the car, said Toronto police spokesperson Rob Reid.

But the police were confident they could find the driver using other methods, such as video footage from the scene or a vehicle identification number.

The tunnel was still blocked at noon Sunday, causing the 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadina streetcar routes to turn around at Queens Quay and Spadina Ave.

The TTC had shuttle buses operating. Meanwhile, the temperature in Toronto hovered below -20 C.

Reid said police had to wait on equipment to remove the car from the tunnel.

“The front axel is broken,” Reid said, “so it’s not going to roll out.”

This isn’t the first time a vehicle has been stuck in the Queens’ Quay tunnel.

Since 2014, there have been more than 20 similar incidents, motivating the TTC to install lower lights, extra signs and deep rumble strips at the entrance of the tunnel in April to deter confused drivers from entering.

The extra precautions were implemented two months after police were once again called to extricate a vehicle from the tunnel using a crane in February. The driver, who claimed he was just following his GPS, was charged $425.

On Sunday around 12:30 p.m., a swing loader arrived on the scene and the extrication of the car began.

The delay finally cleared around 1 p.m.

“It’s a mystery to us as to how this happens, given all the lights, signage and rumble strips,” said Brad Ross, TTC director of communications. “If that doesn’t stop them, driving on the raised tracks, the noise, the sparks, should be an indication that something is not right.”

Ross is unsure whether alcohol played a factor in Sunday’s incident, saying that was a matter for the police, but added, “at 4 in the morning, something was going on with the driver, because they did flee as well.”

Ross said cars have made it all the way down the tunnel to Union Station in the past, and the TTC will continue to explore ways to stop vehicles from entering, including possibly installing mechanical arms that will only let streetcars pass.

Installing the mechanisms would open the door to other problems though, Ross said, because they would operate regularly and could fail due to technological issues, the cold or other weather factors, also causing delays.

“We will continue to look at what other avenues we have to make it patently obvious that we can’t drive down there,” he said.

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