Beacon Hill To Handicapped: See You In Court

Incensed over the city’s decision to install concrete and plastic accessibility ramps on its sidewalks, Beacon Hill has decided to take Boston to court.

The Beacon Hill Civic Association filed the lawsuit on Tuesday, alleging the city violated state law by deciding to install the historically inaccurate concrete ramps in the neighborhood’s Brick sidewalks.

The Boston Globe reports:

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“The Plaintiffs seek to prohibit the City from reconstructing or altering the sidewalks and streetscape in the Historic District using historically inappropriate materials and designs,” the Beacon Hill Civic Association argued in the complaint filed in Suffolk Superior Court.

The lawsuit was filed on the same day that city workers began installing the first of more than 250 ramps designed to make it easier for the disabled to navigate the neighborhood.

“At this time we intend to continue moving forward with the work as planned,” said Kate Norton, a spokeswoman for Walsh. She said the city had yet to receive the lawsuit.

Click here to read the full Boston Globe article.

If a story about a rich neighborhood suing to stop improved accessibility for the disabled sounds familiar, it’s because you live in Boston. In 2006, the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay lost its case against the MBTA after the transit authority decided to update Copley Square Station with two elevators.

The head house for the elevators was next to Boston Public Library and Old South Church, and the association decided having easier T access for the disabled may damage the area’s historic character. But a court decided against the neighborhood, saying it failed to show the T violated any federal historic district statutes with the new construction.

Whether the Beacon Hill suit will fare any better in court remains to be seen, but construction on the new ramps has already started, and the city does not plan to stop the work, according to the Globe.