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No plans for cycle-walk path to link Jacksonville to Medford

I would like to know if there are any plans to build a bike-pedestrian path from Jacksonville to Medford and/or Central Point. It seems like an obvious benefit to commerce, tourism and a healthier lifestyle for all three towns.

— G. Mikkelsen, Jacksonville

Not as far as we or any county officials know, G.

"I'm not aware of any project like that," said J Domis, deputy director for the Jackson County Roads & Parks Department.

However, Domis added, there has been talk of such a project in years past with Jacksonville administrative officials.

"There was (just) never any budget for it," he said.

The Bear Creek Greenway still holds the title as the main multiuse path connecting multiple Rogue Valley cities, with new plans calling for expanding it and tying into the Rogue River Greenway farther to the north. That would create a pedestrian-bike path stretching from Ashland to Grants Pass.

Of course, Jacksonville cyclists are not entirely without a space to ride. You can already take the Donald L. Stathos Bikeway, named for former state Rep. Donald Stathos in 1979. The four-mile stretch extends between Jacksonville and Medford along Highway 238 and West Main Street.

The Stathos bikeway is believed to be the first official bike pathway in the U.S. Stathos introduced pushed through legislation that set aside 1 percent of all state highway funds for construction and maintenance of bike and pedestrian paths.

We bet Rep. Don, who died in 2005, would love to see his bikeway turned into a bike and pedestrian path. The idea just needs a champion, G. Got any plans for the next few years?

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com.