A carriage near Central Park South, amongst traffic, via Flickr cc
In an effort to “reduce the amount of time that horses spend alongside vehicular traffic… thereby promoting the safety and well-being of the horses,” the de Blasio administration announced today that Central Park‘s well-known (and equally notorious) horse-drawn carriages will only be able to pick up and drop off passengers at designated boarding areas within the park. But for many groups, this will not be enough to improve conditions for the horses.
Animal rights advocates have for years been pushing for carriage horses to be taken off the streets entirely, most notably during de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign. And though he sided with the group, dubbed NYCLASS, he ultimately didn’t enact a ban due to pushback from the City Council. Last year, however, NYCLASS amended its stance, saying they’d stop calling for an all-out ban, instead advocating for “much greater protection for the horses.” This included enlarging the size of the West Side stables, guaranteeing retired horses are never slaughtered, keeping horses in their stables if there’s a city-wide heat advisory in effect, and limiting their fares to within Central Park. Though most of the list is still a work in progress, the final item seems to be coming to fruition.
Currently, most horses line up on the street along Central Park South. According to a press release from the Office of the Mayor, the proposed inter-park boarding areas are:
- Grand Army Plaza: In the center lane at the Grand Army Plaza entrance to Central Park.
- East 72nd Street Entrance: On the north curb approximately 50 feet west of 5th Avenue.
- West 72nd Street Entrance: On the east curb approximately 130 feet east of Central Park West.
- West 67th Roundabout: On the north curb of the roundabout next to Tavern on the Green.
- Seventh Avenue Entrance: On the east curb, approximately 20 feet north of Central Park South.
In a statement, NYCLASS said, “Moving the hack line will also help ease congestion along Central Park South and surrounding streets, as well as making it safer for pedestrians, bikers, and horses who are too often placed in danger due to oncoming traffic.”
The Department of Transportation drafted the new rules, which are expected to take effect later this fall after a public hearing in October.
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Tags : Central Park