Economies Andrew - if you paved every diagonal in the world there'd be no grass left... Anyoath you install has to meet a standard, be 1.2m wide and be correctly installed. If you installed a path between thos two trees, you'd be going a long way to killing them (as you have to excavate down, compact the ground, which would damage the trees roots doen one side and also render the ground too hard to roots to get into again)You probably wouldn't be surpised at how little thought and how formulaic the design of footpaths is. The responsibility largely falls to Civil Engineers, who unfortunately don't have terribly creative fibres in them. Not that LA's are free of blame, but council Engineers are an autocratic bunch (just try and get them to change their attitudes!).m!key
Pave every diagonal? Not so, they need to look at projected traffic.In this case, majority traffic would go between the trees from the railway station and not the beach road that only have houses. You are quite correct about damaging trees, but thin asphalt does not have the impact of concrete.I can only guess about civil engineers, but I suspect what you say is quite correct.
Whenever I wish I was young again, I am sobered by memories of algebra.