Hopkins is giving a one-day peek into the future with a "living street" event showcasing temporary changes in downtown traffic patterns that it hopes will become permanent.
On Saturday, July 11, the city will unveil the Artery Experiment along 8th Avenue S. The event will demonstrate the city's plans to create a gateway connecting downtown to the planned light-rail station on Excelsior Boulevard.
For one day, traffic on 8th Avenue will be one-way into downtown. Sidewalks will be wider, flanked by a protected bikeway. There will be music, food and art — all features the city hopes to make permanent in two to three years, as the Southwest light-rail line nears completion.
"For a long time, there's been the sense that downtown Hopkins is this hidden gem," said Meg Beekman, the city's community development coordinator. "We appreciate that sentiment, but it shouldn't be hidden. …
"So part of that is creating a gateway from Excelsior Boulevard. With the light rail and the downtown Hopkins station [planned for] 8th and Excelsior, it was natural that this would be where that gateway is."
The city's name for that gateway is "the Artery." And since you can't say "artery" without "art," some creative installations will be part of the mix. Beekman said the art will have "a postindustrial theme" with concrete, steel and other metals — a nod to the city's history as a rail center and farm implement manufacturer.
"We think it's going to be a real showpiece in the Twin Cities," Beekman said. "The Artery Experiment is a little festivity to test it out."