The sudden appearance of a Smart in our neighborhood got us thinking: perhaps this parking solution will bring an end to our car-free lifestyle. We conducted a quick feasibility study in our neighborhood, with the following discouraging results:

Number of Smart-friendly sub-9' parking spaces: 5

Number of these not already occupied by a 13' car: 0

Undaunted, we stopped by SmartCenterSanFrancisco, in the Mercedes dealership at 8th and Bryant (running words together seems to be part of the SmartCarMarketingPlan). During our brief stay, a steady stream of people best described as "Americans" arrived in small boisterous groups with the apparent intention of mocking the innocuous FourTwos (that's the model name) on the showroom floor -- their incisive commentary included such gems as "it's a glorified golf cart!" and "that's retarded!" The long-suffering and apparently very, very patient sales staff offered to make appointments for test drives.