Muni trying to prevent drivers from getting stuck in SF light rail tunnel

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San Francisco Muni is trying to come up with a new way to keep cars out of its Sunset Light Rail Tunnel. (KGO-TV/Kelly Groth)

San Francisco Muni is trying to come up with a new way to keep cars out of its light rail only Sunset Tunnel. Four times in just the past month, cars have gotten stuck in there, causing detours and delays.

It's not like the tunnel isn't marked. There are plain signs, lighted signs and even speed bumps - all telling drivers do not enter. But neighbors say they do anyway.

"I've stopped a couple of people and said no, no you can't go here. You have to go back," neighbor Greg Scanlon said.

One car drove into the tunnel last weekend and got stuck, the fourth time in a month. Another had to be towed out in January 2015 and another in January of 2012.

Our media partners at Hoodline looked into it and reported that it has happened 24 times since 2010.

"Their cars get stuck on the rail and so we have to tow the car out before we can start service," Muni spokesperson Paul Rose said. He said in the meantime, they have to temporarily use shuttle buses to keep the N Judah running while they check the tunnel for damage.

So why do drivers keep doing it?

"It appears that alcohol has been a contributing factor in the majority of cases," Rose said.

While Muni can't make people stop drinking and driving, they are taking new steps to detour motorists. This week they re-striped the tunnel entrance and, "we're planning to add more speed bumps later this week and we're going to do a full assessment to see what else we can do. Whether that's more signage, more lighting," he said.

One person recommended a gate, like at railroad crossings, to keep cars out and light rail moving. Neighbors are hoping for a solution before someone gets hurt.

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trafficmunicardrivingwarningtrainsSan Francisco
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