“They’re always there.” – Mary Higgins Clark and Liam Neeson reflect on the place of horse carriages in New York

Save Central Park South

Let DOT know the horses should stay on Central Park South where they belong! The NYC DOT is holding a public comment period up until the public hearing at 55 Water St. on October 3rd, 2018. Make your voice heard for the horses, for humans and for history.

Traffic

The stated purpose of the DOT rule change is to reduce the time that carriage horses spend working in traffic. However, the new carriage stand locations would result in horses spending more time in traffic, not less, due to altering their routes. Further, the new routes quadruple the amount of roadway that would be under

Currently, "carriage horses are at least as safe to their patrons, handlers and other road users as are motor vehicles." They act as traffic calming devices along Central Park South.

Removing carriages as a visible, constant presence from Central Park South would make traffic there less safe for all street users.

The NYC DOT has not indicated what would replace carriage horses in their spaces and in traffic on Central Park South and Grand Army Plaza. It could be more idling and noisy buses, more parking and standing zones for Uber and other ride share vehicles, pedicab parking, or more crosstown commercial trucks.

There appear to be no studies on traffic congestion, safety, pollution or economic impact due to the proposed change.

 

Horse Welfare

The proposed move to stands inside Central Park would have a negative impact on horse welfare.

Scientific studies have shown that carriage horses are healthy and thriving under their current working conditions. A cortisol study conducted in 2014 showed that NYC carriage horses are not stressed by working in traffic.

The new stands are far away from the horses' water troughs located near Central Park South.

The proposal would force horses to stand on hills, denying them rest between rides.

The exact locations of the proposed stands inside the park generally have less shade and get hotter faster during warm weather.

Stands are spread out throughout the park, making city enforcement more difficult.

There is no evidence that air quality on Central Park South has negatively affected carriage horses' respiratory health, nor that the air quality is significantly different in the proposed locations.

Public Safety

The proposed rule change asks customers to get in and out of carriages into traffic on the park drives, which presents a hazard to themselves and to other users of the drives, such as cyclists.

Moving the carriage stands off of Central Park South means that the parked horses will not be there to serve as a visual reminder to motorists that there are horses present, and much of the traffic calming qualities of the carriages will be lost, making the entire street more hazardous to everyone who uses it.

Accessibility

Carriages provide many people with limited mobility the opportunity to see the park the way it was meant to be seen. Currently, the carriage stands are easily accessible by taxis and other vehicles.

The proposed stands will not be accessible, as motorized traffic is no longer allowed inside the park. Further, the return point in the proposed stands is still farther inside the park than the already remote locations. People with walkers and wheelchairs, or who otherwise just have difficulty getting around will be extra vulnerable to bicycle and pedicab traffic.

The DOT proposal deprives a class of people of their ability to enjoy a carriage ride in Central Park.

Public Interaction

People from around the world and local New Yorkers enjoy the presence of horses on Central Park South. Even if they don't take a ride, a famous carriage horse is great for a photo op or an opportunity to meet and learn about horses.

Four of the five proposed stands do not even have proper sidewalks adjacent to them to allow this valuable interaction. Instead the public is deterred from approaching the horses by being forced to cross and stand in the busy park drives, full of speeding bicycles, pedicabs and emergency vehicles. Not only is this a detriment to public safety, but it deprives the public of the benefit of being with our horses.

Join the Campaign to Save Central Park South