You design it: The new Rosemont-Van Horne overpass

The overpass linking the Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie borough to Mile End is to be rebuilt. CBC hit the streets around the overpass to see what people who use it would like the new bridge to look like.

Decaying overpass linking Mile End to Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie to be rebuilt at cost of $90-$100M

The overpass linking Van Horne Avenue in Mile End to Rosemont Boulevard will be rebuilt, with an eye to creating better access for pedestrians and cyclists. (Rebecca Ugolini/CBC)

There's a big makeover coming to the area that connects the Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie borough to Mile End. 

The City of Montreal has announced plans to rebuild the Rosemont-Van Horne overpass, at a cost of $90 to $100 million. It's launched a design contest. A key goal is to come up with a design that integrates pedestrians, cyclists and green space into the rebuild. 

The winning design will be announced in 2018.

CBC's Daybreak asked Montrealers who use the overpass now, what would you like to see?

Bigger, better sidewalks

McGill student Victoria Sayko lives in Mile End and uses the bridge to get to Rosemont Metro. She'd like to see wider sidewalks. (Rebecca Ugolini/CBC)

Victoria Sayko is a McGill University student who lives in Mile End and uses the overpass to get to Rosemont Metro station. 

"Sometimes, at night, it's kind of scary to get home," she said. "There's not a lot of people, not a lot of traffic.  Sometimes you can't see the cars like you want to."

Victoria's solution: wider sidewalks.

"I already got splashed a few times, when it's raining. Especially if I'm going to school and can't go back to change, it's not fun."

Safer crossings for pedestrians

Radwan Moumneh and Heidi Daehler both live and work on the Mile End side of the overpass. They'd like to see safer pedestrian access to the bridge. (Rebecca Ugolini/CBC)

Radwan Moumneh and Heidi Daehler are two friends who work and live in Mile End. They both say it's dangerous for pedestrians to access the bridge by crossing St-Urbain Street. 

Radwan: "Sad to say that it's a typical Montreal bad design for roads. Nobody can cross from this side of the street … without risk[ing] getting killed by a car coming around."

Heidi: "I notice a lot of people cross the tracks because there are so few places for pedestrians to cross."

Radwan and Heidi's solution: improve pedestrian access to the bridge, including traffic lights and better lighting

A touch of style — and greenery 

New York City's Highline has turned an unused raised railway into a public space with greenery, space to relax and occasional art exhibits. (Iwan Baan)

Could Montreal get inspired by New York City's Highline, a raised railway turned public green space? 

Catherine Dea, who is 21 and lives in Little Italy, thinks so. 

"They used an old railroad to make a park for the people, and they have a lot of art installations and green spaces, and it's a really nice place."

"If they do that with this here, it would be nice, but what would they do with the cars?"

Buffers between cars and people

Lhasa de Sela Park is a popular spot for children in the area. It's also right next to the overpass and high traffic areas, leading to concerns for some parents. (Rebecca Ugolini/CBC)

Many parents take their children to Lhasa de Sela Park, wedged between St-Urbain and Clark streets, just at the foot of the overpass.

But some, like Sarah Turner, won't use the overpass to get to the park. 

"It's scary. It's fast and high, and there are cars, and there's not a good separation between the stroller and where you'd be pushing it."

Sara's solution: "Certainly, a good buffer between the pedestrians and the cars. And also, a buffer between cyclists and cars is nice, too."