City officials reached an agreement on Sunday with members of the horse carriage industry that —if approved — will decrease the number of horses used and also require a private stable to be constructed inside Central Park.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the deal in a joint statement sent out Sunday night together with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and members of the union representing the horse carriage drivers.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement in concept on the future of New York’s horse carriage industry,” the statement said. “We look forward to working together on the final details of this legislation and getting this passed.”
According to the New York Daily News, under the deal the number of horses will drop from 180 to 110 by this December, and then will drop again to 95 when a stable opens in Central Park by 2018.
In the deal, the city agreed to set up stands — where drivers pick up passengers — inside the park, removing the ones on surrounding streets.
The plan would also lower the number of hours a horse works per day to nine, require horses not working to rest outside the city, and allow drivers to charge an extra $5 after 6 p.m. between Nov. 15 and Jan. 5.
Starting in June, horses will not be allowed to travel on the streets outside Central Park — unless they are going to and from stables.
Also, as part of the deal, the city will get rid of all pedicabs from Central Park south of 85th Street — removing direct competition to the carriages, the Daily News reported.
The City Council must approve the agreement, according to The New York Times, and a hearing could be held this week.
The city is expected to pay for the new stable inside Central Park with taxpayer funds and parks advocates have concerns of the commercial stable being built inside a public park, the Times reported. A source told the publication that the construction of the stable — required to house 75 horses and be built by Oct. 1 2018 —could cost about $25 million.