The City of Hopkins has long realized the need to improve the connection between Excelsior Blvd and Mainstreet for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
The plan for a Southwest LRT Green Line Extention station at 8th Avenue South and Excelsior Blvd has underlined that need and identified an important goal of attracting transit riders to Downtown Hopkins.
Because 8th Avenue South is the intersection of the future LRT Station, is a signaled intersection, and is already designated as the bicycle connection between the Cedar Lake LRT trail and the Lake Minnetonka LRT trail, it makes sense to focus on 8th Avenue South as the main north-south connection between Excelsior Blvd and Mainstreet.
Furthermore, the west side of 8th Avenue South offers some significant redevelopment opportunities. The first redevelopment along this corridor was the Gallery Flats Apartments, on the former Park Nicollet medical clinic site.
The City of Hopkins desires to create a plan and design for a vibrant, interactive, "pedestrian seductive," 8th Avenue between the proposed Downtown Hopkins LRT station and historic Mainstreet.
It is envisioned that the process to get us there will include an art summit to create the vision for integrating public art into the experience of the corridor—helping tell the story of new transit linking to historic Mainstreet while meeting the underlying goal of encouraging pedestrian movement.
The process and resulting plan will then inform the technical design of the corridor.
Local Implementation Capacity grant funds will be used to hire a consultant to design and facilitate engagement between the community, artists, City staff, and technical experts and to create an optimal plan for using art to connect the Hopkins LRT station to downtown Hopkins via the 8th Avenue corridor – The Artery.
The consultant worked with The Artery committee to design a community art summit. The goal of the summit is to gather everyone with an interest in transforming 8th Avenue into a pedestrian-seductive, art-infused corridor, brainstorm how art can be used to draw future LRT riders (and others) from Excelsior Boulevard to our historic downtown, and develop consensus around mediums, messages, and placement of art to inform the development of concept plans.
Based on the input gathered during the summit, the consultant will develop a series of concept plans. The concept plans will not detail specific art pieces but will identify elements such as:
The final design plan will use narrative and illustration to detail all the elements important to implement the vision. The final design plan will also include a rendering of how the street would look if the plan was realized, from a vantage point of Excelsior Boulevard and 8th Avenue South.
The City of Hopkins does not have the funds necessary to fully implement the plan, and will be seeking outside dollars through grants, donations, and fundraising. The consultant will be asked to identify resources and provide an estimate of the cost of each of the art elements called for in the plan.
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:
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.
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
The City anticipates constructing the Artery in 2016 so that it will be complete prior to opening day of the Southwest light rail in 2019.
No. The City of Hopkins is not planning on assessing property owners for the construction cost of the Artery.
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 email@example.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. In addition, there are opportunities to participate through several committee appointments that will provide direct feedback to the Southwest Project Office (SPO) related to the design of the station areas, public art, and final design and engineering of the light rail project.
Plans are being made to temporarily install the design elements of the Artery on July 10-13, 2015. Think of it as a test run. The temporary installation of the Eighth Avenue Artery will allow 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.
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.