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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.

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On the 612 with Mde Mka Ska in the background.

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612 down Excelsior Boulevard.

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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.

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At-grade rail crossing on Excelsior Boulevard.

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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.)

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Hopkins wayfinding.

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New curb-separated bike lane crossing.

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The Moline apartments.

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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.

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Holding up scarves despite losing.

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The Mainstreet Hopkins bus shelter.

Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.

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