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Beacon Hill Civic Association Recommends Red Panels for Accessible Ramps

The group says that handicapped-accessible ramps should be ADA-compliant and fit in with the historic character of Beacon Hill.

The following is a letter from the Beacon Hill Civic Association about the board's recommendation regarding handicapped-accessible ramps in historic districts:

The Beacon Hill Civic Association (“BHCA”) desires to maximize the accessibility of Beacon Hill and all of Boston’s historic districts for all persons. In this regard, the BHCA fully supports the installation of sidewalk “curb cuts” in Boston’s historic districts, to permit persons with mobility disabilities to be able to access sidewalks from the street. In addition, the BHCA also supports the requirement that all curb cuts include “detectable warning panels” that contrast visually with adjoining surfaces, either light-on-dark, or dark-on-light, to enhance the safety and mobility of all persons with vision disabilities.

In response to a request from the City of Boston for input on the design of sidewalk curb cuts in Boston’shistoric districts, on Tuesday evening, October 9, 2012, the BHCA’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) unanimously voted to recommend that the following design proposal be adopted by the City of Boston for all “curb cuts” to be installed on Beacon Hill and in Boston’s other historic neighborhoods that agree:

Where the existing sidewalks in the historic district are brick, as virtually all sidewalks on Beacon Hill are, light granite-colored architectural concrete pavers, “Hanover Prest Paver” brand, MatrixNo. M1305, Tudor Finish, from Hanover Architectural Products, or equivalent, be used for the ramp and flare sides of the curb cut, and a dark “Brick Red” colored cast concrete tactile panel, Federal Color 20109, “CastinTact 3” brand from Masco Masons Supply, or equivalent, be used as the detectable warning panel at the bottom of the curb cut ramp.

Where the existing sidewalks in the historic district are poured concrete, poured concrete be used for the ramp and flare sides of the curb cut, and a dark “Brick Red” colored cast concrete tactile panel, Federal Color 20109, “CastinTact 3” brand from Masco Masons Supply, or equivalent, be used as the detectable warning panel at the bottom of the curb cut ramp.

In voting to recommend this proposal, the Board concluded that the dark “brick red” color for the detectable warning panels was both fully [American with Disabilities Act]-compliant and fit in well with the character of Beacon Hill. The Board also determined that the detectable warning panels should be made from cast concrete, and not from plastic, because plastic detectable warning panels are prone to excessive wear and deterioration, and the concrete detectable warning panels are more durable and less slippery.

Finally, the Board believed that on Beacon Hill, where the sidewalks are brick, the sidewalk curb cut design should use light granite-colored architectural concrete pavers in the ramp and flare sides. The light granite-colored architectural concrete pavers would provide a solid and firm surface for the ramp and flares and would be being fully compliant with the ADA, while the color and material composition of the ramp and flare material would be very compatible with the character of Beacon Hill.

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