Residents are likely rejoicing after the TTC installed what appear to be barriers outside the Queens Quay streetcar tunnel on Sunday.
Six bright yellow bollards have been placed along the streetcar tracks near the intersection of Queens Quay West and York Street.
The move comes in response to several incidents of cars driving down the tunnel and getting stuck — forcing crews to drag them out with massive swing cranes and causing delays to streetcar services.
“These tunnels aren’t all over the city, it’s not a common scenario for drivers to see this type of road configuration” said TTC Spokesperson Jessica Kosmack. “It’s obviously confusing and we are trying to reduce that confusion”
After the two most recent incidents in March, the TTC said a gate mechanism would be installed in addition to the signs, rumble strips, flashing lights and raised track already in place to warn drivers not to enter the tunnel.
According to the TTC, each time a car drives into a streetcar tunnel, it costs thousands of dollars to fix.
Staff has to be paid overtime, delays have to be dealt with, detours have to be set up and alternate modes of transport have to be mobilized. In addition,expensive heavy machinery needs to be brought in to remove the cars.
TTC spokesman Brad Ross tweeted that the bollards are meant to make it obvious that “streetcar tracks are a no-go zone” for cars, adding that a mechanical gate closer to the tunnel will also be installed in the coming weeks.
Despite the recent incidents of cars in the tunnel, the TTC says the number of incidents has, in fact, gone down.
“Since 2014, we’ve had around 25, maybe a couple more but the numbers have actually been going down” explained Kosmack.
“That’s a good sign but obviously even one car going in is too many”
Their goal now is to reduce that number to zero.