I agree there are limits unique to each person. Some of those limits are self-imposed; some are not.
Funny, this subject just came up in a meeting I just came out of....transportation, weather conditions, etc.
I'm not getting on a high horse either, just being practical.
It seems that those who propose "people" bike/walk to work/stores etc are those that are (a) working at jobs where suits/professional attire are not necessary, or if they are, have access to showers etc where they are going. (b) are under a certain age, generally under let's say 27, maybe 30.
Through my office window, I see some computer software guys that sometimes bike to work. They arrive wearing their bike attire, sweating like pigs. There are no showers in my office building, but I suppose they clean up as well as they can in the mens room. However, I notice they change into clean close that are equally casual; jeans t-shirts, maybe a polo shirt...no big deal if they are wrinkled. Other business here require jackets and ties, professional dress for women, business shoes, and so forth.
How is that supposed to be transported over an hour bike ride?
What are these people supposed to do when they have to go out to meetings, run errands, either personal or business? There are many times when I, for instance, have to jump in my car to go to one of our locations, I have no notice. Also, if I wanted to go out to eat, even though I work in a business park, there is nothing that doesn't involve crossing at least 2 busy highways. Without access to a personal car, I would be literally trapped all day.
Also, not to say that obesity, lack of exercise isn't a problem in america, but do you really think it's practical to expect everyone, even those in shape, bike around everywhere? Look around you, not everyone is 27 or younger, has a work enviroment or location conducive to spending a couple of house a day to get barely the basic needs of transportation accomplished.
I would not like to see anyone who's over a certain age walking in the heat we have here.
A co-worker went to Paris last week. She said almost everything she and her friend went to were within 10 minutes walk.
If you live in Manhatten, to get to where you are going, or to a means of transport, is a 10 minute walk.
Within a 10 minute walk of my house is a couple of restaurants, an office supply store, a window tinting place, a body shop, an exterminator, a grade school, and a bunch a random strange little places that sell antique doorknobs, decorative meat grinders, and a lingerie shop.
The nearest grocery store, Whole Foods, is a 45 minute walk away. That would take 15 minutes by bus, or 5 minutes in my car.
What makes the most sense?
This walking/biking is a noble idea, but not doable for many people.