Pallet plan could incorporate walking path

A proposal from Pallet Wine owner Linda Donovan is worth considering, especially if it could be combined with a pedestrian/bicycle path from Fourth Street to Jackson.

Pallet Wine, a custom crush operation serving the valley’s burgeoning wine industry, occupies the Cooley-Neff building at 340 N. Fir St. Pallett already has opened a tasting room to showcase wines made there, and Donovan wants to add a food-truck court between the Pallet building and the railroad tracks, perhaps with outdoor seating. Details are sketchy until after tonight’s City Council meeting.

Nearby property owners have submitted letters of support, and the city’s Public Works Department and the Medford Urban Renewal Agency are in favor as well.

One note of caution comes from Planning Commissioner Dave McFadden, who warns that if the city gives up its right of way along the railroad tracks, it might never get it back, which could block a potential extension of Evergreen Way from Fourth to Jackson streets. Evergreen Way was built from 10th Street to Fourth as part of MURA’s projects to revitalize downtown. The street now accommodates vehicle traffic and provides parking.

There is something to be said, however, for a downtown project that doesn’t involve streets and parking. One possibility, included in the city’s City Center 2050 Plan, is a pedestrian path connecting Evergreen Way to Jackson Street.

If the city does intend eventually to extend Evergreen Way to Jackson as a city street for motor vehicles, a food court might get in the way. But there is no reason why that end of Evergreen couldn’t be a bicycle/pedestrian corridor instead, and a food truck court adjacent to Pallet Wine could be a part of that.

City councilors should keep those options in mind as they consider Pallet’s request.

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