Sarah McKenzie, Mayor Bill Trohanis and Lee Davis, from left, preside over a Walden town hall meeting. Officials addressed concerns about traffic during a similar meeting last month. (Staff photo by Myron Madden)

Walden is looking to the county for aid in its ongoing efforts to curb speeding.

During a recent town hall meeting, Mayor Bill Trohanis said he's been speaking with officials from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office to explore the possibility of getting a patrol officer solely dedicated to clocking speeds and writing tickets at different locations for six to eight hours a week.

If such a position were granted, the deputy would likely be stationed at some of the high-crash areas identified in a recent HCSO study of accident reports from the last two years. Some of those areas include the strip of Anderson Pike leading down to the W Road; the intersection of Fairmount Pike and Key Hulse Road; and the intersection of Taft Highway and Anderson Pike — all of which saw at least five car wrecks over the study period.

Town officials also listed additional problem areas that would benefit from the dedicated patrol, such as Chestnut Avenue, Wilson Avenue and East Brow Road.

Despite the conversation about speeding, town officials and residents alike said they've seen a notable increase in police presence recently, a welcome change from earlier this year, when residents voiced concerns about what they called dwindling coverage.

Still, one local said the additional police visibility has not eliminated the issue entirely.

"I've noticed an increase in police presence, and that has seemed to make a difference — when they're there," said Walden resident Kristen Allen. "When they change shifts or [move], then you see everyone go back to speeding and not really paying attention to people who are biking and walking."

Community members speculated possible causes for the speeding, listing factors like visitors driving to nearby recreational trails and teens just learning the rules of the road.

"I don't know what the solution is," Allen said. "We've just noticed that this keeps getting worse and worse and worse, and I'd rather take the proactive approach now before somebody gets hurt."

Trohanis said the electric sign the town purchased last year has been effective in decreasing speeding. The sign records and displays drivers' speed, giving them a chance to decelerate in troublesome areas.

Since moving the sign from Anderson Pike to Key Hulse Road in response to a residential complaint about light pollution, Trohanis said speeding on Key Hulse has "dropped dramatically," while two cars have crashed into the stone walls along Anderson Pike.

Trohanis said he believes the additional patrol officer could also be a solution to the problem.

"Hopefully we'll see some great results if we can secure that," he said.

Trohanis said a representative from the Sheriff's Office will be meeting with town officials to further advise them about the possibility in December or early January.