8th Ave S Redevelopment/The Artery

8th Avenue S Between Excelsior Blvd & Mainstreet

Downtown Hopkins is a vibrant and evolving city-center rich in historic character. The city has long since had a desire to make this “hidden gem” more visible from Excelsior Boulevard and other major roadways.

With the expansion of the Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) line, there exists enormous potential for growth, re-development, and the ability to make a stronger connection to downtown for residents and visitors. 

The future Downtown Hopkins station will be located at 8th Avenue and Excelsior Boulevard, just two blocks from Hopkins Mainstreet. The vision for 8th Avenue is to create a vibrant, interactive and “pedestrian seductive multimodal” artery into downtown Hopkins that announces to all those passing by on Excelsior Boulevard and the future LRT that this is a special place and to invite them to come and explore. 

The anticipated construction of the Artery will take place in 2017. The City is will be completing final design and engineering of the project throughout the next year. A series of focus groups are planned in the fall and winter of 2015-2016 to assist with incorporating art and placemaking into the design.

Artery drawing

Artery layout

Artery Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Artery?

The Artery is the reconstruction of Eighth Avenue between Excelsior Boulevard and Mainstreet into a pedestrian seductive, art-infused, interactive corridor. The project, as proposed, includes the following:

  • converting Eighth Avenue into a one-way road from north of 1st street south to Mainstreet
  • building a two-way cycle track that connects the Minnetonka Regional Trail with the Cedar Lake Regional Trail
  • enlarging the pedestrian space
  • adding landscaping and storm water treatment
  • creating places for people to gather and experience art in its various forms 

Why are we doing this?

Downtown Hopkins has long been considered a hidden gem within the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Historically there has been a feeling that we need a stronger visual connection to downtown Hopkins from Excelsior Boulevard; something that would announce the arrival at a special place. 

The Southwest light rail Green Line Extension will include an LRT stop at the SE corner of Eighth Avenue and Excelsior Boulevard.  With ridership projected at 26,000 riders per day, there is an opportunity to expand Mainstreet’s market area if those riders can be connected to downtown. Eighth Avenue is the logical place to build a strong visual and physical connection.  The goal is to draw people into downtown Hopkins, as well as provide Hopkins’ residents with an easy walk to the LRT station.  

How much will it cost to build?

The projected cost of implementing the Artery on Eighth Avenue is $2.8 million. To date, the City has secured $700,000 from Hennepin County and $1.325 million from the Metropolitan Council in grant funds towards the project. A previously awarded Metropolitan Council grant in the amount of $125,000 is paying for the preliminary design and engineering of the project. In addition, Three Rivers Park District will be a project partner in the design and construction of the cycle track. Any remaining cost not covered by outside agencies will be paid for by the City of Hopkins, primarily through its utility funds.  Artistic elements will be supported through individual and corporate sponsorships, grant writing, and other sources

What is the timeline for the project?

The City anticipates constructing the Artery in 2017 so that it will be complete prior to opening day of the Southwest light rail in 2020.

Will property owners along Eighth Avenue be assessed for the cost?

No. The City of Hopkins is not planning on assessing property owners for the construction cost of the Artery.

How can I get involved in the planning process?

If you are interested in providing feedback on the Artery designs, or want to be involved as the design of the Artery becomes more detailed, please contact Meg Beekman, Community Development Coordinator, at mbeekman@hopkinsmn.com or 952-548-6343. The City will be organizing a review of the project with area artists to gather feedback on how the Artery might be used by artists doing work in various mediums.

What is the Artery Experiment?

The Artery Experiment, a test run of the Artery, took place on July 11, 2015. The temporary installation of the Eighth Avenue Artery allowed Hopkins residents and others to experience the layout and functionality of the initial design and provide comments and guidance that will inform final design and construction plans. More information....

What about the Downtown Station Plaza? Is that included in the Artery Project?

While the reconstruction of Eighth Avenue and the Downtown Station Plaza (located on the south side of Excelsior at Eighth Avenue) are integrally linked and will need to work together to comfortably and safely move people between the light rail and downtown Hopkins, the two are considered separate projects, both in their funding and timing. The City is developing a concept design for the Downtown Station Plaza, which will be handed over to the Southwest Project Office (SPO) to complete design and engineering.  The plaza will be constructed in conjunction with the light rail and will not be completed until closer to the light rail opening in 2019.



  • Director of Economic Development & Planning