by D. Hanousek

As I switched on the gas to run down to Safeway (three short, but steep blocks away) to buy the required Italian-flavored breadcrumbs to make Cauliflower a la Basso's, I realized that I have a confession to make. I drive everywhere.

Day care? Yes. Preschool? Yes. Grocery shopping? As stated above, yes. Playground? Most of the time. Work? Yes. But they give me a parking spot downtown for cheap. How can I be chastised for that?

I do feel guilty, but what is a San Francisco parent to do? The likelihood of being able to afford a hybrid car big enough for my family is on par with the likelihood that Blue Bottle Coffee will ever be available in pre-packaged K-Cup® form. It just seems like driving less is an impossible aspiration. Sure, I see those parents biking around with their little ones belted in front or following behind in a primary-colored cart. I applaud those parents and smile whenever they cross my path. But then I cringe, thinking of other drivers less observant than myself, crashing into said bikes and then I don't understand why parents would take the risk.

Every year, San Francisco is named one of the most walkable cities in America. Really? Where are these people walking? Not west of Twin Peaks. Or north of Twin Peaks, for that matter. For those parents who walk their children to school in the city, where do you live? The Marina? The Mission? The Sunset?

I would love to walk my kids to school just as I walked to school when I was a wee young thing, but in this city, it just doesn't seem feasible. This will especially be true by the time my son gets into Kindergarten. Our local school (which we probably won't even get into!) is one mile away. This may not seem too bad but it's straight uphill. Our second-choice school is 2.7 miles away. Oy vey.

I know that driving everywhere is a sin in this day and age. I do care about the planet, but I also care about helping to make this a city where the middle class doesn't run scared to Mill Valley or Montclair when they pop out their firstborn and realize it's gonna be a tough run having a family in SF. Can this sin be forgiven? Prius nerd-herder (minivan), where are you already?