Friday, July 8, 2016

Antigua, Guatemala: Cobblestone Repair

Cobblestone maintenance Antigua, Guatemala. April 2016.

An historic city doesn't maintain its quaint beauty all by itself. Those cobblestones need regular attention just like any other pavement.

Cobblestone maintenance Antigua, Guatemala. April 2016.

Let's not kid ourselves that such street repair has anything to do with pedestrian or cycling safety, however.  Ho, ho, ho! No. Cobblestones are to walking safety as stilettos are to orthotic footwear. Cobblestones look pretty, they are better for vehicles and people than dust and mud, and they create a pleasing percussion when horses trot on them. More seriously, and in their favor as a matter of practical concerns, they are a permeable surface, meaning that rainwater passes through the cobblestone streets, mitigating storm run-off and street flooding.

Some thoughts on cobblestone streets 

When I was in Ethiopia for two months in 2010, there was a countrywide jobs creation/beautification project in progress, installing stone pavers on pedestrian walkways. Here's a 2014 article about that very project. While in Harar, I met a German expat involved in this program.

So getting back to Antigua's cobblestones. They're pretty. And sometimes you just have to sacrifice sensibleness for beauty.

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