Peter Rogers joined the BikeSpace team in December 2017 as a UI/UX Designer and worked on the design team by creating graphics and branding work.
How did you get involved with BikeSpace?
A colleague I volunteer with at Cycle Toronto was already attending Civic Tech hacknights as part of Cycle Toronto’s Bike Parking Working Group and he encouraged (maybe nagged) me to go to a meeting.
Why is bike parking an important issue for you?
I don’t own a car and I cycle all year round. I do all of my shopping by bike, I commute by bike, I get to the pool for a swim by bike and get to the gym by bike. Bike parking is part of the last mile of truly great bike infrastructure. I don’t think we can expect the kind of robotic automated bike parking seen in Japan or the massive bike garages like in Rotterdam, having acceptable bike parking near or in apartment or condo buildings, near shops, or at office spaces not only validates biking as crucial to life in the city but it is one less thing for a cyclist to worry about. I’ve had a bike stolen in Toronto and I remember Igor Kenk and if that level of auto theft occurred in the city, it would have been screamed as a “crisis”, but not so with bikes that represent the same level of importance in a person’s life. The more people we can get on bikes, the fewer people will be in cars and the more seats there will be for those who depend on the TTC. As we get more people in the saddle, we need to provide reliable, secure parking. I’ve seen too many people who lock their bikes to gas lines and trees out of necessity, which makes every cyclist look bad.
How would you describe your role with BikeSpace?
I hope I’ve been a bit of a Swiss Army knife. I can’t code, but I can give some advice in the design of the app as well as the look and feel of both the app and promotion of it. Few people realize that a lot of Hollywood movies spend more on promoting a film than making it. Similarly, I think the design and marking of the app are just as important as the app itself. I gain a lot of satisfaction from helping to create the print and digital artifacts that make promoting the project easier. When you create a logo and an identity and show how those things can be used on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or as business cards and postcards suddenly it makes an ethereal thing like an idea or a piece software seem “real”.
Describe a winning moment with the BikeSpace?
Undeniably, I think the most winning moment was creating the logo. SoYoung Lee had started to create a logo and her illustration of a bike within an infinity loop was great, but she was unable to take the concept further due to other commitments, so I took her concept work and tweaked it into what has become a useful set of graphics. That sort of thing where one person starts something and someone else can pick it up and carry on feels like the very epitome of the Civic Tech Toronto community. It also proves my favourite saying that “design” isn’t a democracy, but it is a collaboration.
What makes BikeSpace unique?
Fast-paced and iterative work is sort of an accepted practice in the software industry, but rarely do you see such a confluence of personalities, abilities and people from all walks of life working on something to completion, in their spare time nonetheless. People working on BikeSpace are makers and that’s a fun group to be around. Also a lot of corporate offices in technology can be mostly white male dominated but the people working on BikeSpace really do reflect like what Toronto looks like, so that’s been pretty refreshing.
What keeps you busy when you’re not working on BikeSpace?
I’m a captain of our Cycle Toronto Ward Advocacy Group and that takes a lot of time outside of work. There’s a lot of letter-writing to politicians, communicating things happening in our neighbourhood, facilitating groups that should work together and a lot of public consultations to attend. The labyrinth of Toronto municipal politics can sometimes be grueling and daunting. When I’m not on my bike or advocating for others to get on a bike, I like to take in a swim (my neighbourhood has the awesome Regent Park Aquatic Centre) and lately, because my office is on the Waterfront I’ve been getting out on the water in a kayak. Not enough people in Toronto take advantage of living on one of the Great Lakes and until recently I was one of them.