BRA delays plan to move staging area for horse-drawn carriages

Sally Sutherland of Bridal Carriage Co. hitched up her horses to their carriages on Wednesday.
Lane Turner/Globe staff
Sally Sutherland of Bridal Carriage Co. hitched up her horses to their carriages on Wednesday.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority is holding its horses.

A proposal to move the staging area for horse-drawn carriages — a change operators said would endanger their animals and their livelihoods — has been delayed, and BRA officials are promising to work with the businesses to find a new suitable spot.

“After consideration, we have decided to postpone a request for the BRA Board to consider moving a horse and carriage staging area from the Boston Marine Industrial Park to Charlestown,” BRA spokesman Nick Martin said Thursday.


“I’m glad to hear that,” said Sally Sutherland, who owns Bridal Carriage Co. She thanked the BRA for listening and understanding.

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The proposal, which was removed from the BRA’s Thursday agenda, was aimed at redeveloping desirable land along Northern Avenue now being used as a staging area for Boston’s dozen or so horse-drawn carriages.

Instead, operators would have been offered leases in Charlestown, where they could store their carriages and hitch them to their horses.

The proposed site near the Terminal Street boat ramp is about the same distance from downtown, but was across the North Washington Street bridge — a treacherous walk for horses. Because horses can see through the bridge’s metal grate deck, they could be at risk of spooking and taking off in traffic, endangering themselves and their drivers. The metal grating also makes for poor footing for horseshoes, which could cause falls, drivers said.

“For the time being, all four companies will continue to be able to store their carriages in the current location,” Martin said. “In the long term, however, we have to balance the needs of the business owners and the community with our obligation to achieve the best and highest use for a desirable parcel of land.”


Sutherland said she has been looking for a new staging area, but finding affordable land close to Faneuil Hall isn’t easy.

The $300 a month that operators pay now per storage trailer may not be in line with the value of the land, she acknowledged, but the horses add character to the city that can’t be easily quantified.

“They’re getting a great deal, too,” Sutherland said.


Operators fear taking their horses across grated bridge

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