Sidewalk Ramp Court Case Set for Feb 14

By Dan Murphy

A judge will hear an argument against a summary judgment that could potentially allow the city to resume installing ADA-compliant ramps on Beacon Hill at the Suffolk County Courthouse in Boston’s Pemberton Square on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

The Hon. Rosemary Connolly is then scheduled to determine whether to rule on the summary judgment in the city’s favor, to deny it on the grounds cited in the opposition filed by the Beacon Hill Civic Association or to decline to grant the motion and let the case go to trial. Proceedings are set to begin in Civic Section G in Room 1008 on the courthouse’s 10th floor at 2 p.m. The Civic Association is suing the city for bypassing key review and approval processes by installing ramps in brick sidewalks on Beacon Street in August of 2014. Ramp materials included concrete and plastic tactile strips, which the Beacon Hill Architectural Commission had rejected twice before. Construction commenced without that approval, however, after the Inspectional Services Department determined that the neighborhood’s curb-cuts and intersections needed immediate upgrading for safety reasons.

Like many of his neighbors, Civic Association board member Colin Zick intends to spend the rest of his life on Beacon Hill and realizes that accessible sidewalks in the neighborhood will be imperative for him too one day. Yet he also believes this can be achieved in an appropriate manner that preserves and respects the neighborhood’s historical integrity.

“We welcome a resolution and feel that the neighborhood should work with the city to find an end that works for everybody,” Zick said. “Regardless of what happens, we want to work with the city on our shared goal to make Beacon Hill sidewalks safe, accessible and historically appropriate.”

City officials weren’t immediately available for comment.

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