It was a chilly Santa Clara Saturday with dark clouds, intermittent rain showers and, at the moment, an interlude of sunshine. Tyler White was sitting on the damp grass of a gentle hillside in Central Park with a book in his lap that he had just checked out of the library.
White was on page one of Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time by Jeff Speck.
“I like my neighborhood,” said White, who moved to Santa Clara after graduating from the University of San Francisco in June of 2018 with a Master’s Degree in Data Science. “I can walk or bike around to do most of my stuff.”
White’s “stuff” includes errands and biking 15 minutes — even on rainy days — three miles one way to his job as a software engineer at Applied Materials in Santa Clara.
He bikes to work along San Tomas Aquinas Trail, calling it “super awesome because you don’t have to intermingle with two-ton cars.” He calculates that he bikes about 40 miles a week.
When it rains really hard, White Ubers to work. He takes Caltrain to San Francisco to visit friends.
“I like walking or biking way more than driving a car,” said White, who grew up in a Chicago suburb. “It’s good exercise, and it’s significantly better for the environment.”
His interest in city development began when he was an undergraduate at Elmhurst College in Illinois.
“I like looking at how to design cities and improve walkability. It’s a great way to reduce traffic,” he said.
Even White’s choice of computer games reflects his interest in city development. His favorite game is “Cities: Skylines,” a city-building simulation game in which players engage in urban planning.
“Cities are a complex system and understanding how they develop is an interesting problem,” said White, who walks around town in size nine, leather, Red Wing walking boots that he’s had since college.
A bit of Americana: The Red Wing Shoe Company began making working boots in Red Wing, MN, in 1905. It is well-known in the Midwest for its durable, American-made footwear.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor is a column where we casually interview people we meet in Santa Clara. The column hopes to highlight what makes Santa Clara special — the people who live, work and play here.