An outspoken board member of the Beacon Hill Civic Association has threatened top state officials that failure to replace newly installed handicap ramps near one of the nation’s busiest hospitals could result in “action to remove the ramps as violating the Beacon Hill Historic District guidelines.”
The demand was included in a volley of e-mails that board member Robert Whitney sent over the summer to Secretary Richard Davey of the state Department of Transportation, in which he urged the agency to rip up the new concrete ramps with plastic tactile strips in Charles Circle and replace them with “materials that are appropriate” to Beacon Hill.
“DOT should be using more historically appropriate materials,” he wrote.
Whitney’s missives came shortly before the civic association filed a lawsuit this month against the city for installing more than 250 similar handicap ramps throughout the neighborhood, claiming they failed to preserve the area’s Colonial charm.
But this time, with state officials refusing to replace the ramps that assist the blind and disabled and cost thousands of dollars, civic association officials are distancing themselves from their board member. The ramps are located about a block from Massachusetts General Hospital.
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