Is it considered OK to wire one side of the track direct and have a switch for the other? Seems to me it would work, but I'm worried there might be some reason not to do that.
Not 100% sure what you are trying to do with wiring one side direct, Unless its a one-way track. And also I know nothing about DCC. But this is how I wire tracks in DC using DPDT( Double Pole,Double Throw)switches.
RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.
ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.