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Crossing Riverside in heels no easy feat

My Rotary club meets regularly at the Inn at the Commons in Medford. And parking can be problematic when there are other events at the Inn. When I park across the street at the new buildings, I have noticed you have to play dodge-the-car to cross to the Inn. Any chance they have a walkway planned, as the lights at either end of the block are a bit far to walk in heels?

— Livia G., Talent

Some people might think that walking even a few paces in heels is a bit too far, Livia. Braving Riverside Avenue in heels either shows gumption or insanity.

We have to admit that crossing Riverside at Fifth Street next to the new Lithia headquarters is something of a sport for one of our senior Since You Asked employees, who makes a habit of walking the downtown area. However, he wears walking shoes, not heels, so it’s a bit easier to sprint across Riverside.

We decided to delve deeper into your question with city officials because we’d hate for you to break a heel crossing such a busy roadway next to the new Lithia Motors headquarters.

“As much as we would like to recommend alternative footwear, a pedestrian crossing already exists at every intersection,” said Cory Crebbin, the city’s public works director.

Under Oregon law, motorists are required to stop for anyone crossing a street at an intersection, even if the walkway is not clearly marked, as is the case at this intersection. We know what you’re thinking, Livia: Motorists don’t seem to like stopping if they don’t absolutely have to — but the good news is that if one of these motorists hits you in an intersection, it’s the motorist’s fault. (OK, so maybe "good news" is a poor choice of words to use in connection with being struck by a vehicle.)

Crebbin said there are no current plans in the works to paint stripes or make some other designation to alert motorists to the fact that the T-intersection at Fifth and Riverside is actually an intersection.

As you noted, Livia, designated pedestrian walkways are currently located at Sixth Street and at Fourth Street.

Now, we don’t want to see you struggling to hoof it around Medford in heels, so we looked into your question even further.

The city of Medford is gearing up to build a large parking lot just to the south of the Inn at the Commons. Once built, you can park there for your Rotary meetings, which will mean you no longer have to cross Riverside.

Lynette O’Neal, assistant to the deputy city manager, said the city is in the process of designing the parking lot, which should have about 175 spaces. The city anticipates the parking lot should be completed by next summer.

In the meantime, Livia, we would just encourage you to play it safe when crossing Riverside. And maybe to wear tennis shoes.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.