The pleasant choice is usually form over function. Why? Because it looks nice. Sometimes it’s difficult to pick the more practical and useful option because it isn’t quite as beautiful. Unfortunately this can be an ignorant and expensive decision.
I’ve never been a fan of decorative sidewalks, particularly the ones that are made from different shapes of flat stone that are pieced together like a puzzle. When walking, I found it difficult to move along what often felt like an uneven surface.
Over the last few years, the sidewalks in Waikiki have been redone. Originally they were made from square tiles, aligned in rows. It made for smooth rolling in my wheelchair. However the new sidewalks are the crazy patterned stones that would be better as walls than as a walking surface.
They’re bumpy such that my wheelchair feels like it’s rolling on gravel. If it was a road, it would be completely unacceptable if it made cars rumble like my chair does.
I wrote a few years back to the Waikiki neighborhood board to speak my peace but unfortunately the new sidewalk is replacing all the old sidewalks throughout the area.
And now, even only just a few years after the first stretches were installed, pieces can be seen crumbling. They’re dirtier. Honestly, I can’t see how replacing broken pieces of stone in these “puzzles” can be very easy. Therefore it’s likely they’ll be more costly to maintain.
Secretly I hope it is expensive to maintain and that they go back to plain sidewalks next time around. But likely by then there’ll be some other fancy looking sidewalk that still makes no sense.