Bicycle Parking Program

Bicycle parking: post-and-rings on Dunster Street in Harvard Square

About the Program

The City of Cambridge provides bicycle parking throughout the city in order to support and encourage the use of bicycles as a mode of transportation. Bicycle parking is provided on both public and private property through:

  • inclusion in infrastructure projects,
  • as a requirement of new development projects, and
  • through the City’s bicycle parking program.

Approximately 3,000 bicycle parking racks are in place on the public right of way throughout the city. (By way of comparison, there are approximately 3,000 metered parking spaces on Cambridge streets.) The number of cycling trips in Cambridge has increased by almost 150% between 2002 and 2010, accompanied by an increase in the demand for bicycle parking.

The Cambridge Bicycle Parking Program, a joint project of Community Development Department and the Traffic, Parking, & Transportation Department, focuses on increasing publically available bicycle parking by adding racks to existing sidewalks and public buildings. Approximately 500 additional bicycle racks have been installed through this program over the past 5 years. Other departments such as Public Works incorporate bicycle parking in designs for full reconstruction projects of streets, parks, playgrounds, plazas, and public buildings. The Bicycle Parking Zoning requirements cover private property, and are enforced through the special permit and building permit review process, and the Parking and Transportation Demand Management (PTDM) program. The zoning addresses both short and long term bicycle parking.

Ongoing needs assessment surveys are conducted by City staff to identify locations where additional bicycle racks are needed. The survey methodology consists of field visits to identify locations where the demand for bicycle parking exceeds the capacity, indicated by the presence of bicycles locked to fences, poles, and trees. The current estimate is that about 1000 additional racks needed to meet current demand. Traffic, Parking, and Transportation  Department conducts annual utilization studies of bike parking in Harvard Square and Central Square. An important statistic is that in Harvard Square there are 173 metered vehicle parking spaces and about 400 bike parking spaces.

On-Street Bicycle Parking Stalls

Because of limited sidewalk space available for bicycle parking, especially in dense business districts, combined with competing sidewalk uses such as accommodating increased pedestrian travel and sidewalk cafés, Cambridge utilizes on-street parking spaces for bicycle parking stalls. Each stall fits in one vehicle parking spot and provides parking for 14 bicycles. Stalls are placed at eight high-demand locations for the warmer months and stored during winter. This initiative has been successful and popular with local businesses that are seeing a rise in the number of patrons who arrive by bicycle. Funding for the stalls was provided by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council funding program. Click here for more information about Bike Stalls program. 

Locking Your Bicycle

Lock your bike, even if you're just leaving it for a minute. The best, most effective way to park your bike will depend on the type of bike you have. Sturdy U-shaped locks generally work best. Be sure to lock the frame and at least one wheel to the rack. If you have one lock, choose the most vulnerable wheel, such as a quick-release wheel. Back wheels are usually more expensive to replace, but may be more difficult to remove.

Report a Broken or Damaged Bike Rack

Click here for an on-line form.

Requests for Bike Racks

To request that a bicycle rack be placed on public property, please email bikerack@cambridgema.gov.

Map of Bike Racks

Click here for a map showing bicycle parking on public property.

Zoning and Development Projects

The City of Cambridge, through its Zoning Ordinance, has required bicycle parking as part of new development since 1981. CDD, working with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department, the Bicycle Committee and the Planning Board, developed a revised set of bicycle parking zoning requirements. These requirements were adopted into the Zoning Ordinance by the City Council on June 3, 2013. Click here for more information about Bicycle Parking Zoning.

Bicycle Parking Guidelines

Click here for guidelines for installing bicycle parking as part of a development project.

For More Information

For more information contact Tegin Teich Bennett at tbennett@cambridgema.gov or 617/349-4615.