Residents of the national capital(e) are indeed fortunate beneficiaries of tax dollars collected from the good folks of Ecum Secum and Lower Shubenacadie who provide us with wonderful paths and benches to sit on.
I am not sure how much thinking goes into the details of bench location, though. Take the above pic, which shows the most typical installation of a bench right on the edge of the travelled portion of the path. Slouch down and you risk getting your toenails clipped by passing cyclists. If you stopped because your kid was squirming in the stroller or bike trailer, and needs to run around for a minute … or if your yappy little dog wanders extends the leash a bit too far … WHAP. Roadkill.
Sitting on the bench to talk to someone is not as pleasurable as it should be. Cyclists whiz by. Sitting, you almost feel like you’re blocking the path.
A much better arrangement puts the bench slightly off the path, on an eyebrow-shaped side spot. Now there is room for the kid to squirm, the dog to sniffle, grannies to talk and wave hands.
The side path is cheap, too. Just stonedust, to keep the feet out of the mud.