Digital Advocacy: Rockville's Pike Plan
B.F. Saul Company
B. F. Saul sought to transform its 17-acre strip center site into a mixed-use transit oriented development adjacent to the Twinbrook Metro station in Rockville, MD. The first step in the process was to ensure that the City’s Master Plan allowed for the redevelopment. At the same time, Rockville City officials proposed widening Rockville Pike in the Twinbrook area to a whopping 252-foot width sacrificing green space in the company’s redevelopment plans, creating safety issues for pedestrians and adding a terrible choke-point to already congested Pike traffic. Chesapeake was retained to build public interest and community support for the redevelopment and a more reasonable widening of Rockville Pike.
Chesapeake created a strong online presence by developing a website and Facebook page, which quickly garnered more than 800 “likes.” Leveraging these tools, Chesapeake launched an online petition drive to support a more reasonable width on Rockville Pike, which we promoted through social media advertising. We also organized a series of community meetings and smaller get-togethers with neighboring residents to discuss both the redevelopment and the proposed widening of the Pike.
Our outreach efforts resulted in a significant presence of our supporters at the City’s public hearing. And within one week, 270 City residents signed the petition, causing the Mayor and Council to reverse their initial positions and approve a significant reduction in the proposed widening of the Pike.