September 26, 2016

The Visible People: The Walking Philosopher

Utah Stories introduces you to some of downtown’s most visible, vibrant characters.

Salt Lake City has a population of over 1 million people now. But most are invisible. Here is your chance to meet some of the people who are challenging the norm and are maybe living lives quite different from yours.

The Walking Philosopher

Walking around downtown Salt Lake City there are many great sites to see: the City and County Building, the Downtown Library, the Cathedral of the Madeleine, and of course the Temple. But it’s also a nice sight to see people who obviously enjoy walking. On a few occasions I’ve seen David Keller and I’ve always wondered, “who is this guy who likes walking around downtown so much?”

walking philosopher

David Keller is Salt Lake's walking philosopher

David Keller is a recent suburbanite to urbanite convert. “I used to live in the Olympus Cove, and we were forced to move… We thought it would only be temporary, but it turned out we enjoyed living downtown so much we made it permanent.”

Keller said that he drives his car almost exclusively to commute to his job teaching philosophy at UVSC. He says he has come to love walking in the urban environment of downtown Salt Lake City and has transitioned from doing mostly trails in the canyons to the walks around Salt Lake City. “I’m a walker. I probably walk 20 miles a week.” Keller said that his favorite routes include walking North on Main Street through Temple Square the East on South Temple to 1300 South to Perry Ave to the University of Utah. Another of his common routes is beginning at Main Street walking east up 300 South all the way to the Moran Eye Center above the University. Keller returns back home by taking Trax.

Keller lives in a high-rise building in downtown and he said that one of his neighbors is a young Japanese couple from Tokyo who are choosing to raise their son in a downtown condominium. It’s a lifestyle that is common outside of the United States but very uncommon in the U.S., especially in the West. But Keller does believe this is changing. “I found that it’s nice to not have to worry about a yard. And I really don’t miss living in a house.”

In the past four years since Keller moved to downtown he has noticed that the city has gradually become more energetic, “Trax is a resounding success.” The only problem Keller has noticed is that he is approached regularly by pan handlers. He makes it his policy to never give them money, but he has noticed how they have become more aggressive, “One guy the other day said, ‘give me a dollar or I’m going to launch you.’” Keller said that he quickly walked away, but it was one of the rare occasions when he did feel threatened on the streets of Salt Lake. Keller is excited to see how the City Creek Center will affect the dynamics of Salt Lake, “My only issue with Salt Lake is the lack in separation of church and state.”