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letters | sidewalks of Beacon Hill

Ought to be some wiggle room here

As a wheelchair user who reluctantly moved from Beacon Hill after repeated accidents, I know that ramps are a lifeline (“Beacon Hill: Preserving inaccessibility,” Editorial, Feb. 26). However, the Beacon Hill Architectural Commission’s actions do not suggest that it is resisting ramps.

In December commissioners rejected the materials the city proposed. They asked for alternatives, recognizing that the city has used granite strips on the waterfront and tailored, site-specific solutions in other historic districts. Why hasn’t the city produced more nuanced ideas in the past 10 weeks? It offers an off-the-shelf solution for Boston’s most tourist-traveled historic district, and you portray those who ask for a more sensitive approach as “preservation absolutists.”

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Why can’t the city entertain multiple solutions and recognize that some marginal extra expense is a sound investment? Instead of creating false polarization along the lines of Washington gridlock, why can’t the commission, city, and citizens, including Beacon Hill’s many disabled residents, have a dialogue? They could draw on the broad variety of federally approved materials and solutions developed on other sites in Boston and in cities such as Philadelphia and Portland, Maine, and provide Beacon Hill with the ramps that so many of its residents want.

Catharine Reynolds

Cambridge

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