After years of delays that made Beacon Hill the city’s lone holdout in complying with federal disability laws, Mayor Martin J. Walsh appeared before vociferous residents Thursday night and told them the city will not wait any longer.
The first 13 of more than 250 ramps designed to make it easier for the disabled to navigate the neighborhood will be installed on Beacon Street, between Charles and Park streets, in coming weeks, city officials told more than 125 people who gathered at Suffolk University.
Residents of the historic neighborhood had resisted city efforts to cut ramps into sidewalks and to install tactile warning strips on curbs to help the disabled, arguing the modifications would mar the neighborhood’s Colonial character.
“We’re talking accessibility for folks in Boston,” Walsh said in an interview Thursday night. “If we want to be an inclusive city, we need to make sure people have the opportunity to be inclusive in every neighborhood by getting around.”
The audience presented a series of complaints and solutions regarding an issue that has bedeviled Beacon Hill for years. In some cases, they saw the arrival of ramps as a harbinger of other changes, such as the removal of cherished brick sidewalks.
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