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Tangent but:

I live in SoCal, and I can't get my head around the car culture mentality. Of all the places that should be walkable, one that is 80 degrees and sunny 90% of the entire year should rank very high on the list. But nooo.... the walkable cities are in places that get run over by a glacier every six months. Go figure.

Because it's large?

I'm all for public transportation and LA used to have the best in the world 80 years ago. But, a large city as large as LA is never really going to be completely walkable unless everyone always moves close to their job. That would mean moving away from friends and family because of a job change rather than just commuting a little further. I suspect most people would chose to stay near their friends and family rather than move closer to their job.

You can compare Tokyo which is large like LA but which has excellent mass transit and yet the average commute is 80 minutes each way. Why? People can't or won't uproot their families for new jobs. Also housing close to a job is probably also often either too expensive (downtown) or undesirable (industrial area).

Also, the popularization of two-income households complicates this quite a bit. How often do you see partners that work near each other?

New York is larger than LA and has very good transit.

Coastal areas are becoming more and more walkable... Minus the lack of density - Santa Monica is the prime example, ask people about walkability and everyone is excited, then talk about making it happen for more people and you get crucified.

In the valleys, walkability runs into the heat problems in the summer. Walking in 100F+ is no fun and can be dangerous to some.

Even in inland CA you have perfect walking weather for around 9 months a year. It's more of a cultural thing in my opnion.

I think you are right.

There definitely is a very strong desire still for wider spaces, bigger yards, etc. As the result, walking in most of inland sprawl take a lot more time and effort.

I grew up in South Texas. Ain't nobody got time for walkin' more than a block in 100+F heat and people end up spending more than their mortgage payment on electricity and A/C repair because the heat will literally kill you.

LA was built by people who were escaping the stressful dense urban life of the east coast. Not hard to understand why, when they arrived at empty land by the ocean with perfect weather, they didn't resolve to build a bunch of apartment towers.

This is a great point. Why do so many people in the US live on large lots with huge houses in the suburbs? Because we can.

Live in downtown Minneapolis, can confirm walk-ability and presence of seasonal glacier.

Because it is new. Maybe not new in age, but new in being a big city. Founded in 1800s, became second biggest city in 1980, third biggest in 1960, fourth in 1950: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/blog/historical-timeline-l...

Big cities on the east coast are older, so didn't develop in the age of the automobile and have to conform to its needs. Except cities in the SE, which again, grew due to modern appliances like the air conditioner.

A winter ice blanket makes driving less desirable. Pleasant weather makes walking more desirable.

This implies that walking has a hard limit on desirability, which is easily topped by driving, even with the worst traffic. You have to make driving worse to tip the preference toward walking, even if the conditions simultaneously make walking less desirable.

If driving 5 miles is likely to put your car in a ditch, you may opt for a 200m walk, which may only plant your ass on the concrete once or twice. If you have to shovel snow for 20 minutes to drive anywhere at all, you may prefer to just pull on some wellies and hoof it through the drifts. If every mile you drive is rusting away your vehicle's underbody due to road salt, you may prefer to wear away your boot soles instead.

If you could wave a magic wand to install a roof over ever road and highway, the residents would squeal with glee, toss out their tire chains, shovels, and boots, and get right back into their cars.

In places where there's actual winter people adjust to it. Snow in Atlanta is something people perceive as a PITA whereas in Augusta (Maine) it's perceived as no more inconvenient than rain.

In Maine, people bitch when it isn't cold and snowy enough. This winter was brutal for the ice fishers, snowmobilers, and skiers.

"In Maine, people bitch when it isn't cold and snowy enough."

That's Stockholm Syndrome, is what that is.

Never did I ever adjust enough to stop bitching about shoveling driveways or scraping windshields or hitting patches of black ice or having the plow throw snow back onto your driveway so you have to shovel it again. Snow always has been, and always will be, more inconvenient than rain.

Except freezing rain. That stuff is the worst.

SoCal was never walkable beyond a local neighborhood - if you look at population density and where the freeways are, they all parallel former lines of the Pacific Electric Interurban system. [1][2]

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Electric

[2] - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2e/Los_Ange...

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