Mary Elbech

APBP Board of Directors Candidate Statement

Mary Elbech
Integrated Mobility Consultant

Mary Elbech Headshot

Please briefly describe your current position and how your work relates to the bicycle/pedestrian field:  
I am an integrated mobility consultant for Mobycon, with a working background in bicycle and pedestrian planning from Denmark and the Netherlands. While our work is most directly aimed at improving bicycling and walking, it is with a safe systems approach to transportation where bicyclist and pedestrian facilities are an integral part of the roadway. My role is to provide support for communities who want to take a leap forward in becoming more bike/ped friendly. I do this, together with my colleagues at Mobycon, through safe systems coaching, workshops, consulting, and research. As Mobyon’s US lead, I also share insights and lessons learned from the Netherlands, and help translate ideas and inspiration from a European context to help benefit communities in the States. I am currently working on the NCHRP Guidebook for Urban and Suburban Roadway Reallocation, researching the impacts on traffic safety, social and economic factors, and the environment, when space is shifted from one mode to another. I am also a recurring guest lecturer for the University of North Carolina’s Complete Streets Course – a class I am so glad they have now for planning students and only wish they had while I was there!

Why do you want to be a Board member? What do you hope to gain over the term of your Board membership? 
Every APBP conference, webinar, or thread seems to be infused with bright people who are enthusiastic about improving cycling and walking for people of all ages and abilities. As a board member, I would be excited for the opportunity to work with the people behind the organization that cultivates great discussion and ideas. I come away from APBP events inspired and full of new knowledge and I would look forward to gaining even more of that over the 3-year term.

Please describe your goals for APBP and how your leadership on the Board will benefit the association. 
What would I bring to the table? I think my active transportation background from Denmark and the Netherlands, combined with a drive to make our communities safer for people walking and cycling – sooner rather than later – would be a good fit for the APBP board. I would enjoy being an active participant in steering the APBP organization and members in achieving our shared goals. At Mobycon, we share the goal of working to reduce dependence on the car. I like leaning into the details of how we further specify and achieve this goal. For example, one of the ways of achieving independence from cars is broadening our active transportation choices to include e-bikes and cargo bikes. I have supported projects like CycleLogistics, which supplies cargo bikes to organizations and individuals to replace motor vehicle trips. I like to think my hands-on approach and knack for creating programs that directly achieve goals would be a benefit to APBP. My goals for APBP would be to set actions in motion and make collaborative decisions that directly support the strategic plan and existing goals.

Past volunteer/leadership positions with APBP:
Mentor for the APBP Mentor Program

Past volunteer/leadership positions with other organizations: 
- Bike Durham board member (2 years)
- Bike Durham network plan: lead/volunteer for developing a network plan for the City of Durham, NC
- Point4Health: co-lead for using tactical urbanism to create a safe walking route for older low-income Durham residents to their nearest grocery; resulted in a permanent installation of a safe crossing. Included engagement and event planning, tactical urbanism materials and implementation, and coordination across at least 5 departments at the City of Durham
- Tactical Urbanism Street Design Series: developer of tactical urbanism workshops. A month-long series, residents were asked to sketch their concepts for making their streets safer and more inviting, illustrations were displayed at a pop-up gallery, voted on, and the winning concept was then implemented by the Town (of Chapel Hill).
- Volunteer lead on transforming an un-safe intersection in a vulnerable Durham neighborhood into a temporary traffic-calmed intersection.