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Ramps not wanted on Beacon Hill

Blind and hearing-impaired, Carl Richardson stood at a crosswalk in front of the State House that has no ramp.
Blind and hearing-impaired, Carl Richardson stood at a crosswalk in front of the State House that has no ramp.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

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For years, Carl Richardson has shuffled gingerly across the uneven sidewalks and poorly cut curbs of Beacon Hill, guided by a dog and the hope that a loose brick or an unexpected slope doesn’t trip him up.

His journey would be made far easier by a city proposal to install 259 pedestrian ramps with tactile warning strips throughout the historic neighborhood, as part of a decades-long effort to bring the city’s curbs into compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

But the plan was rejected in December by officials of the Beacon Hill Architectural Commission, who complained about the materials proposed and said the bumpy plastic strips would mar the neighborhood’s Colonial-era character.

Long after other parts of the city have come into compliance with the Disabilities Act or have reached agreements to do so, including other designated historic districts, Beacon Hill remains the lone holdout.

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