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.
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.
“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.)
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.