Highlights from Hopkins

In case you missed it, streets.mn Events Committee organized a bus trip from Uptown to Hopkins last month. About ten people came out for the trip, and a good time was had by all.

Hopkins 5

On the 612 with Mde Mka Ska in the background.

Hopkins 4

612 down Excelsior Boulevard.

Hopkins 3

Catching the bus in Uptown.

We caught the 612 bus on a Saturday afternoon. The 612 (named after the zip code area code, of course) goes down Excelsior Boulevard through St. Louis Park on its way to Hopkins, the apartment, walkability, bike trail, and affordable housing bastion of the western suburbs. It actually does not take that long once you get out of Uptown, and on the bus, after chatting with a few Christian evangelists and a chatty Hopkins resident named Tony, we speculated about what it would have been like if the SWLRT had simply gone down Excelsior.

Hopkins 6

At-grade rail crossing on Excelsior Boulevard.

Hopkins 12

The wide wide road with the bus stop in the foreground.

“It’s a lot like University Avenue,” one of the crew commented, and if you look at all the density and land use along Excelsior, it would seem like a good place for a transit investment. The SLP new urbanist area alone would seem to justify the route.

(Instead, of course, it’s going along an existing rail corridor with very little mixed-use density. Re-litigating the tragic SWLRT route choice was one of the fun pastimes of the trip.)

Hopkins 10

Hopkins wayfinding.

Hopkins 9

New curb-separated bike lane crossing.

Hopkins 8

The Moline apartments.

Hopkins 7

Future SWLRT station.

We hopped off in Hopkins and went to walk around the new station. A few folks met us in Hopkins and gave us a guided local tour of the planned station area as well as the new improvements to 8th Street, anchored by some new housing right on the corner.

From there we went into downtown Hopkins proper, examined the missed opportunities of the recent Mainstreet reconstruction proejct, and hung out at the LTD Brewing, where there was a crew watching the MN United game. (They lost.)

We got back on the 612 and went back to Uptown and that’s that! Stay tuned for the next trip. Thanks to Jeb Rach, Jenny Werness, Eric Anondson, and everyone who came on the trip to Hopkins. It’s probably the Twin Cities’ most unique suburb and well worth a visit.

Hopkins 2

Holding up scarves despite losing.

Hopkins 1

The Mainstreet Hopkins bus shelter.

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11 Responses to Highlights from Hopkins

  1. Heidi Schallberg
    Heidi Schallberg April 17, 2019 at 1:30 pm #

    Before and after pics of 8th Ave at Excelsior going north to Mainstreet are striking. https://www.google.com/maps/@44.9216486,-93.4102962,3a,75y,330.97h,92.5t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sXz8IceWmud84kIpmjnzgOQ!2e0!5s20071001T000000!7i3328!8i1664

    • Eric Anondson
      Eric Anondson April 17, 2019 at 6:42 pm #

      I’m really proud of the way Hopkins redid 8th. Unfortunately Mainstreet wasn’t rebuilt with nearly the care and attention to details.

      I wasn’t able to convince the city council that Blake Road didn’t carry enough traffic to warrant reconstruction as a 5/4 lane road. (The council’s argument was that the lengthy trains and lengthy stop lights at Highway 7 warranted extra lanes to queue up waiting drivers or else there’d be diverting into the residential neighborhoods. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ) But I believe the Blake Roads project will still be as dramatic of a before/after when it finishes this summer.

      • Lou Miranda April 18, 2019 at 7:59 am #

        There’s going to be a separated, protected bikeway along Blake Rd from Excelsior to Hwy 7, right? That, combined with the (eventual) tunnel for Cedar Lake Trail users is a win-win for bikes & pedestrians.

        Even so, as you say, it still accommodates too many cars, at too high a speed.

        A perfect example of great transit, bike, & ped infrastructure without narrowing the scope of car infrastructure, so people will still likely drive.

        We’re getting there, but we’re not there yet.

        • Eric Anondson
          Eric Anondson April 18, 2019 at 8:34 am #

          There will be a curb-protected multi use trail on both sides of Blake.

          The regional trail underpass is piggybacking with SWLRT. So that completes in maybe 3 more years.

          Too many cars is totally it. The current speeds will be brought down by many design changes though. Many things, but especially the lane narrowing from 12’+ to 10’6”.

      • J N April 18, 2019 at 9:03 am #

        Yeah I really like what the city did with 8th ave.

        I agree that rebuilding of main street to replace the sewer and water lines was a bit of a wasted opportunity. But it is walkable, and the parallel streets directly north and south of it are pretty bike-able, they did add a bunch of bike hitching posts so all in all it isn’t bad.

        Blake should be a lot better after the construction is finished, it needed a little TLC.

  2. Lou Miranda April 17, 2019 at 1:41 pm #

    I hesitate to call Hopkins a suburb, in that it was a real town with a real downtown, as you know. But then we could discuss for hours what the definition of suburb is. 🙂

    The nice thing for Hopkins is that it would’ve gotten revitalized even if SWLRT went down Excelsior Blvd., as the paths cross there. Win-win for Hopkins.

    There already has been plenty of dense development along the LRT corridor in SLP & Hopkins, so I think the path is fine as is. The only real problem is where it goes in Mpls, which is… interesting, if not useful. Good thing the B Line aBRT along Lake St. will take people to more interesting & useful places, and will be open before SWLRT opens (2022 & 2023).

    • Bill Lindeke
      Bill Lindeke April 17, 2019 at 2:58 pm #

      It’s a suburb.

      • Lou Miranda April 18, 2019 at 8:15 am #

        Ha ha. I thought about calling it a hybrid—a hyburb?!

  3. Korh April 18, 2019 at 7:29 pm #

    Was an overall decent event (aside from it being a bit cold)

    Sorry again that we couldn’t get inside the Moline museum, the receptionists at the front desk usually just unlocks the door when they see you walk in (think they where busy or something)

    Might be worth going to Hopkins again for an event, maybe a bike ride visiting some of the other stations sites during the summer or something

  4. Randy Cross April 19, 2019 at 6:47 am #

    I find it interesting that you publish an article telling us how few people use this route on a busy Saturday afternoon. Your facts are that there were 10 people on this bus. And it is a standard route, not an event bus. Do you actually expect us to believe that once a couple of billion dollars are spent on light rail down this exact corridor, that this will change? It seems to me, by the information provided, that there is a lot of taxpayer dollars here being wasted.

  5. Eric Anondson
    Eric Anondson April 19, 2019 at 7:17 am #

    Uptown transit center to Hopkins happens to not be the “exact corridor” as Downtown Minneapolis to Hopkins.

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