For Albion Road resident Jeremy Logan and his elderly dog, Lucas, the months when the W Road was closed earlier this year were a kind of respite.
It meant that traffic on narrow, residential Miles Road – a popular shortcut for Signal Mountain drivers traveling between Taft Highway and the W – was lighter than usual, and walking alongside the roadway considerably safer.
The daily consequences of hundreds of commuters passing through their neighborhood are obvious, Mr. Logan said: empty beer bottles and cans and other debris littering the area and – worst of all – speeders.
He and Lucas often travel Miles during their daily walks, Mr. Logan noted, and “we’ve had to jump in the ditch several times.”
Consequently, when residents of the area turned in a petition to Walden officials early this summer asking the town to install speed bumps at dangerous spots such as the intersection of Albion and Miles, Mr. Logan’s name was one of the 26 signed at the bottom of the document.
“We wanted to try to get something done before the W reopened,” he recalled.
Although the posted speed limit on Miles is 25 mph, the petition noted, “Many vehicles travel this road at dangerous speeds exceeding 40 miles per hour, subjecting both children and adults to possible injury or death. There have been many close calls and near accidents while residents attempt access from driveways and residential roads onto Miles . . . Albion is one of the residential roads mentioned (and) intersects Miles Road at a blind spot . . . Since the speed limit on Miles Road has never been enforced, the residents of Walden are requesting speed bumps be installed to slow traffic down to a safe speed.”
Walden and Hamilton County officials responded, trying to determine whether the complaints were valid.
From May 14-20, a county speed trailer was parked in the 200 block of Miles to monitor traffic.
According to a report later presented to town council members, 1,289 vehicles passed by the trailer on Miles during those seven days. Of those, about 69 percent were traveling at speeds higher than the 25-mph limit.
However, the report continued, about 75 percent of the speeders were going less than 10 mph over the limit – and half of those less than 5 mph over.
Another 207 vehicles, about 16 percent of the total, “were at a speed up to 15 miles per hour over the posted limit,” the report noted, and 27 vehicles – about 2 percent – were over the limit by 16 mph or more.
After consulting with a state traffic engineer who had studied the problem, Walden spent about $500 installing two stop signs – one for each direction – and other markers at the intersection of Gardenhire and Miles.
Not much, according to Mr. Logan.
“It has definitely helped at the spot where the signs are,” he said, but at other locations – including the intersection of Albion and Miles, where petitioners had asked that something be done – nothing has changed.
“Everybody is pretty upset,” he said.
Still, he said, they’re holding out hope that once the county brings in its speed trailer again – this time, to measure traffic on the road now that the W has reopened – speed bumps or stop signs or something will be done about the hazard created by drivers speeding through the blind spot at Albion .
At Walden town hall, clerk Fern Lockhart said the county has promised that a second speed trailer survey will be done within the next couple of months.
In the meantime, she said, nothing regarding Miles Road is on the agenda of the Walden town council meeting set for this coming Tuesday although the issue could be raised by members of the public.