17th Avenue Improvements



Frequently Asked Questions

The proposed bicycle and pedestrian improvements will provide a direct connection between regional trails, the new Shady Oak Transit Station on the Green Line Extension (GLE) light rail line, as well as improve safety for all transportation modes. The City of Hopkins is a bicycle-friendly community and is always looking for opportunities to improve connectivity for bikers and pedestrians throughout the City.
As part of the GLE Project, 17th Avenue is being extended south from Excelsior Boulevard to the new Shady Oak Station on the light rail line. As part of the new roadway, a two-way separated bike lane (also known as a cycle track) is being constructed along the west side between Excelsior Boulevard and 5th Street South. Unlike most other local north/south roads in Hopkins, the existing stretch of 17th Avenue provides a continuous connection between Excelsior Boulevard, the Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail, and Highway 7. The continuity that 17th Avenue provides makes it the preferred route.
The bicycle facility is proposed on the west side of the road to provide continuity with future cycle tracks and trails proposed north and south of the corridor, such as the GLE Project cycle track that will be along the west side of the 17th Avenue extension (see question 2). Additionally, during previous discussions with the City of Minnetonka, staff learned that a future project is planned to extend a bicycle/pedestrian facility along the west side of Hopkins Crossroad north of Highway 7 to Minnetonka Boulevard. In addition to these future projects, staff reviewed impacts along the corridor, analyzed driveway and street crossings, completed an on-street parking count, and determined that the impacts were fairly equal whether the bicycle facility was constructed on either side of 17th Avenue. Given the benefits of connecting to future infrastructure, the bicycle facility is proposed along the west side of 17th Avenue.
The current two-way separated bike lane concept proposes a 1-foot buffer between the cycle track and the sidewalk on the west side of the roadway. The buffer consists of visual and detectable markings delineating the boundary. During the development of concepts, a boulevard was considered between the sidewalk and cycle track, with the cycle track being located against the back of the roadway curb. This was deemed problematic for winter maintenance by city staff, and also would require street lighting to be located closer to homes. As the project progresses, refinements may be made to further increase the buffer between the sidewalk and the cycle track where it is helpful to reduce project impacts and retains an ability to facilitate proper winter maintenance.
While specific results vary, research has shown that properties with good access to bicycle facilities generally see increased value than similar properties not in proximity. Furthermore, there is evidence that expanded bicycle and pedestrian networks have a positive effect on property values throughout a community.
Residents will not be required to clear snow from a bicycle facility. All winter maintenance for bicycle facilities is proposed to be completed by Hopkins Public Works.
Assessments may be influenced by whether outside funding is received, which is currently unknown, and therefore this question is challenging to answer. For context however, on typical City projects individual residential single-family homes are assessed at the city’s assessment cap, which would be between $112.61 (2026) and $123.05 (2029) per front foot of property, plus half the actual cost to replace sanitary sewer and water service lines to individual homes. Costs related to construction of a bicycle facility would not be proposed to be assessed.
All concepts are proposed within the existing right-of-way of 17th Avenue and no acquisition from residential properties is anticipated at this time. At the intersection of Mainstreet and 17th Avenue there is potential for a minor amount of easement to be needed at the northwest and southwest corners, though this will be analyzed during final design and efforts will be made to minimize permanent easement needs.
Each concept proposes to utilize the full width of right-of-way along 17th Avenue. Construction impacts are equal across all concepts.
There will need to be tree removal completed as a part of the project. As the project progresses, details will become available surrounding each impact and measures will be taken to save as many trees as possible. Hopkins Public Works annually removes ash trees, diseased trees, and trees that pose a hazard as part of their annual maintenance program. This is completed across the community each year, and any trees currently marked for removal on 17th Avenue are being removed under this program, not due to future street improvements.
There will be clear sightlines and adequate gaps in traffic to allow for vehicle maneuvering in and out of driveways across the bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Bicycle and pedestrian facilities similar to the concepts presented have been gaining popularity around the Twin Cities area and have been constructed through residential areas without causing property access and safety issues.
Each concept involves narrowing the street and drive lanes, which has been proven to help calm traffic speeds and deter large vehicle traffic.
While the proposed roadway section is narrower than the existing, it still provides adequate width for emergency vehicles and school bus access with no negative impacts anticipated.
Generally a significant reduction in traffic volume is only seen when the number of drive lanes is reduced. However, it’s anticipated that the addition of bicycle and pedestrian facilities along 17th Avenue could eventually lead to some reduction in vehicle traffic and an increase in those modes, especially to the future light rail
The cities of Hopkins and Minnetonka jointly completed a plan to guide land use and development around the Shady Oak Station. The Station Area Plan can be found on the City of Hopkins website.
During the planning stage for the GLE Project, the Met Council completed traffic forecasting around the station areas. The results of the forecasting were that most vehicular traffic to the Shady Oak Station will access the area via Excelsior Boulevard, Shady Oak Road, K-Tel Drive and 5th Street South. While there will definitely be some traffic accessing the station area via 17th Avenue from the north, it’s not anticipated to be a substantial increase to the roadway.
During previous discussions with the City of Minnetonka, staff learned that they have a future project planned to extend a bicycle/pedestrian facility along the west side of Hopkins Crossroad north of Highway 7 to Minnetonka Boulevard. A schedule for the project has not yet been established.

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Bolton & Menk, Inc.

Nate Stanley, PE
Senior Project Manager

Mike Waltman, PE
Principal Engineer

City of Hopkins

Eric Klingbeil, PE
City Engineer

Kurt Howard