The Great Mystery

Thoreau locates a walker in Southern California:

My wife has found a job, and we have found a nice and reasonably priced apartment (by local standards–$1095 for a large 1 bedroom with lots of closets and shelves) 1.5 miles away, which in good weather is walking distance. In bad weather (be it heat or rain) there’s the bus. Which means that we will be able to pull off the 1 car thing, a feat without precedent for a couple with 2 jobs in southern California.

This reminds me of the Great Shame of American urban planning. What does and doesn't constitute "walking distance" is highly weather-dependent. The best weather in the nation, meanwhile, is in Southern California, a region that would be one of the best places in the world to walk except for the fact that it's . . . horribly unfriendly to walking. Meanwhile, your Northeastern cities are all quite walkable in urban planning terms, but climactic conditions make long walks unpleasant on a large number of days. It should be all the other way 'round. Cold, damp Boston would be an excellent location for a car-dependent city and LA would be a great place to put Manhattan.