Central Park horse-drawn carriage. Photo by Flickr user Tomas Fano.
New York City has a new mayor, which means it's time for some changes.
Specifically, Bill de Blasio wants to change how tourists get around Central Park.
De Blasio said he would move "quickly and aggressively" to eliminate the carriages, which he views as "inhumane" to the horses that pull them and "not appropriate to the year 2014."
The proposed replacement for these horse-drawn conveyances isn't a sleek and modern Nissan Leaf, however, but a purpose-built vehicle designed to look like a 1910s touring car.
According to USA Today, de Blasio hopes to convert drivers of the horse-drawn carriages to drivers of the new alternative vehicles.
New York's new mayor is joined in his quest to rid Central Park of equine transportation by animal-rights activists, who believe the horses are treated badly by their drivers.
About 4,500 people have signed a petition on the website of animal-rights group NYCLASS, calling for the replacement of horse-drawn carriages with the retro-styled electric cars.
If New York decides to use electric cars to shuttle tourists around Central Park, there should at least be plenty of places to charge them.
A recently passed law--Intro. 1176--will require new off-street parking facilities, including garages and surface lots, to have sufficient electrical capacity to equip 20 percent of their spaces with electric-car charging stations.
The law is expected to create 10,000 charging-ready parking spots, 5,000 of which should become available over the next seven years.
Legislation like Intro. 1176 is often part of the process of replacing an existing mode of transportation with electric cars, but the Central Park debate is anything but typical.
It's common to hear about electric cars replacing dirtier, internal-combustion vehicles--but rarer to hear about them replacing vehicles that actually employ horse power.