Constituent Services Information

The Mayor’s Office serves as a liaison between residents of Cambridge and city departments. For many residents, the Mayor’s Office is the first point of contact when they need assistance or have questions about city services. Mayor Maher welcomes input, feedback and suggestions about city services. The feedback received assists the Mayor in making informed policy decisions.  

Below are some of the most common questions that residents have about city services. If you need further assistance, please contact our office by phone (617) 349-4321 or email mayor@cambridgema.gov

How to I pay for a parking ticket or dispute a parking ticket?

A Parking ticket must be paid within 21 days of receiving it to avoid any additional fees.  If you feel that the ticket was received in error, you may dispute the ticket.

Options for paying a parking ticket:

  • Pay by Web:
  • Pay by Phone: 617 491-7277
  • Pay by Mail: P. O. Box 399113, Cambridge, MA 02139
  • Pay in Person: 
        344 Broadway
         Monday 8:30am - 8:00pm 
         Tuesday - Thursday,  8:30am - 5:00pm
         Friday 8:30am - Noon

Forms of Payment Accepted

MC/Visa accepted.
Cash, credit card or money order accepted for booted vehicles.
Cash, credit card or money order accepted for immediate clearance at the Registry of Motor Vehicles. If you pay by check, there is a 30 day waiting period before clearance.

Disputing a parking ticket:

Fill out the Parking Ticket Dispute form and submit either online, by mail or in person. You will need the ticket number and plate number when filling out the form. Completed forms can be mailed or delivered to:

Traffic, Parking & Transportation
City of Cambridge
344 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139
Attn: Hearing Officer

You will receive a communication regarding the disposition of the dispute.  If you feel the decision is not correct you may request a hearing.

How do I get a parking permit or a visitors parking permit?

Resident’s car

A resident parking permit is required to park on most residential streets in Cambridge Monday through Saturday. The resident parking permit program was created to ease parking problems in residential areas by making it illegal for non-resident commuters to park on residential streets.

Visitors

Each residential household can obtain one visitor parking permit good in the area in which they live whether or not that household has a car.  If you own multiple Cambridge properties, you must declare one as your primary residence.  Only one visitor permit will be issued in your name.

Consideration

If you are having an event with multiple visitors you can submit a request for consideration to prevent your visitors from receiving a ticket.


Eligibility requirements

To purchase a resident parking permit you must:

1. Submit  proof of residency as a Cambridge resident.

2. Have your car registered in your name at your Cambridge address

3. Principally garaged at your Cambridge address.

4. Pay all outstanding parking tickets and excise tax.

 

To purchase a visitor parking permit you must:

1. Submit proof of residency as a Cambridge resident.

 

Company Vehicle

To purchase a resident parking permit you must:

1. Submit a letter on company letter head stating that the vehicle is in your custody

2. Vehicle must be registered in MA and principally garaged in Cambridge through RMV.

3. Pay all outstanding parking tickets and excise tax.

 

You may apply for a resident and/or visitor parking permit by mail or by going to the Office of Traffic and Parking located at 344 Broadway -

Monday, 8:30am to 8:00pm, Tuesday - Thursday, 8:30am - 5:00pm, Friday, 8:30am - Noon.

For more information visit the Traffic and Parking Webpage

How do I report an unshoveled or icy sidewalk?

You can use this direct link to report a specific address or intersection that has not been shoveled or cleared of ice after a storm. You may also contact the Department of Public Works Snow Hotline at (617) 349-4903. Once this request is submitted the address will be inspected and if the property owner is found to be in violation of the ordinance they will be ticketed and fined.

 

What are the city's parking procedures during a snow storm?

The City will make a determination on whether a snow emergency will be declared. When declared, that information is given to the TV, radio stations, posted on the web and on the municipal cable channel (channel 8). Also available by calling 617-349-4700.  Every effort is made to give residents reasonable notice.

The City’s E-Line service allows residents to sign up to receive an email notification and/or a text message on your cell when a snow emergency is declared. Sign-up by using the link under the "online services" on this webpage.

Parking on City streets:

When a snow emergency is declared, parking is restricted on certain streets in the City. Vehicles parked on those streets will be tagged and towed.

There are 82 streets in the City, which have snow emergency parking restrictions. Some streets are restricted on one side only and some on both sides.

When a snow emergency is declared all streets signed "no parking" during a snow emergency will be tagged. In addition, cars will be towed. The City will determine the order in which streets will be towed based on the access needs, especially for emergency vehicles, and the type and duration of the storm. Do not park on the streets restricted during a declared snow emergency.

Available off-street parking during declared snow emergencies:

Residents are responsible for moving their cars off the streets signed "no parking" during a declared snow emergency. Finding parking can be difficult. There are four parking facilities that provide free parking when the declared snow emergency is in effect.

  • Galleria Mall. Residents of East Cambridge can park for free in the Galleria Mall Garage when the declared snow emergency is in effect.
  • First Street Garage. Enter on Spring Street. Parking is free if you have a Cambridge resident parking permit from the time when the declared snow emergency is in effect until 2 hours after it is lifted.
  • Green Street Garage, Central Square. Parking is free if you have a Cambridge resident parking permit from the time when the declared snow emergency is in effect until 2 hours after it is lifted.
  • 52 Oxford Garage. This is a Harvard owned and operated garage. When a Snow Emergency is declared it is open to City residents with a resident parking permit on a space available basis for no fee from the time when the declared snow emergency is in effect until one hour after the snow emergency is lifted. Space is limited, and availability is on a first-come, first-served basis. The University reserves the right to cease admittance due to capacity limitations and operation issues

For More information visit the Traffic and Parking Website

Do Property Owner's need to clear sidewalks of snow?

City Ordinance requires that all property owners remove snow from all sidewalks next to their property or business within 12 hours after snow stops falling in the daytime, and before 1 p.m. when the snow has fallen during the night, as well as, remove or melt all ice within 6 hours of the time the ice forms.

The fine for failing to comply with the City’s sidewalk clearance ordinances is $50 for each day of non-compliance.  Even if you aren’t around, it is your responsibility to ensure someone clears sidewalks and ramps next to your property.

If you are a homeowner on a low income and/or you are elderly or have a disability, you may qualify for the City’s Snow Exemption Program, in which case the City will shovel your sidewalk. To find out whether you are eligible, please call the Cambridge Council on Aging at 617-349-6220

How to be sure you are in compliance with the City's Snow and Ice Removal Ordinance:

  • Shovel your sidewalk on all sides of your property, down to bare pavement
  • Make the path wide enough for someone using wheelchair, walker or stroller (at least 3 feet, preferably 4 feet).
  • Clear ramps at corners and crosswalks 
  • Stock up on ice melter before a storm. Use ice melter with calcium chloride (CaCl2), which is the best choice for the environment and only a small amount is required to melt ice. Potassium chloride (KCl) is okay, too. Avoid rock salt (NaCl or sodium chloride), which kills plants and trees.
  • Do not use sand. It doesn’t help pedestrians; but it makes hard ice more slippery. It gets into street drains and is expensive to clean up in the spring.
  • Remember that, for people on foot, ice can be worse then snow. It can cause dangerous falls. You are as responsible for ice as you are for snow.
  • Keep street drains clear of snow (to avoid ponding/ icing at the bottom of ramps)

 

How do I request a proclamation from the Mayor's Office or a City Council resolution?

Resolutions:

A resolution is a formal recognition that is on the City Council Regular Meeting Agenda, goes before the full Council and is voted on by the entire Council. Resolutions often recognize special events and occasions such as the opening of a new business, recognizing an achievement of a Cambridge resident or expressing the congratulations of the Council for a birthday and anniversary. Resolutions also express the Council’s condolences to the relatives of a Cambridge resident who has passed away.

If you would like to propose a City Council resolution sponsored by Mayor Maher, please contact Leo Gayne, Director of Constituent Service, at lgayne@cambridgema.gov or at 617-349-4313 with all pertinent information including the name of the person or event you would like recognized, the date of the event, when you need the resolution by and how many copies you will need. All requests for resolutions must be received ten (10) business days before the date of the event or occasion.

Proclamations:

Like a resolution, proclamations recognize special events and occasions but do not go before the City Council. Proclamations are issued directly by the Mayor and most often recognize birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. Proclamations are printed on official letterhead and presented to the requester in a certificate folder with the seal of the City of Cambridge. If you would like a proclamation from Mayor Maher, Leo Gayne, Director of Constituent Service, at lgayne@cambridgema.gov or at 617-349-4313 with all pertinent information including the name of the person or event you would like recognized, the date of the event, when you need the proclamation by and how many copies you will need. All requests for proclamations must be received five (5) business days before the date of the event or occasion.

 

What is single stream recycling?

Single stream recycling means no more sorting! With single stream, or "zero-sort" recycling, residents can mix clean bottles, cans, papers, cardboard together in the same recycling bin. All cardboard will be accepted.  More recycling saves energy and curbs climate change because recycled products use less energy during manufacturing. It also helps the City save money by controlling disposal costs.

New materials accepted include empty pizza boxes (oil stains OK), large plastics (toys, buckets, laundry baskets), spiral cans (potato chip, nut cans), empty paper coffee cups, frozen food boxes (if it rips) and shredded paper in a clear plastic or paper bag. 

Remember to recycle the right materials to ensure a clean, high quality stream.  No plastic bags, no Styrofoam, no liquids, no food waste, no VCR tapes, no light bulbs, no clothing hangers, no pots and pans and no electronics. These items damage equipment and contaminate other recyclables.

The City expects to see 10-25% more tons of recycling with single stream recycling! With the big toters, recycling is easier than ever.  The toters fit more, are easy to move to the curb, help reduce litter and clutter of bins on the sidewalk.  The new recycling trucks accept cardboard of all sizes and are safer because the truck empties toters at ground level. 

New Toters

Nearly all residences now have recycling toters.  The large toter is 95 gallons, the equivalent of 5 bins and measures 47"H x 27"W x 34"D.  The small toter is 65 gallons, the equivalent of 3.5 bins and measures  44"H x 26"W x 28"D.

Toters are easy to move and make recycling more convenient. If your toter is not full, you do not need to set it at the curb every week.  You may use your old bins indoors and empty into the toters when full. You may also drop them off at Public Works during business hours or when the Recycling Center is open. Click here for requests on toters, bins, stickers,

My trash and/or recycling was not picked up, what do I do?

All material must be set at the curb by 7am on collection day or after 6pm the night before. If you think your recycling, trash or yard waste was missed, please call the Department of Public Works at 617-349-4800 with your address, a return phone number and what was missed.

If you have reported missed recycling, yard waste or trash by 12 noon the day following collection, you can expect pickup no later than the next collection day. Typically, collection trucks go back for missed pickups after completing the current day’s route. Please leave the missed items at the curb to ensure collection. 

How can low income individuals or families access legal services?

The following four organizations based in Cambridge offer civil (non criminal) legal aid to low income individuals and families

 Cambridge/Somerville Legal Services

60 Gore St., Ste. 203, Cambridge MA 02141

www.gbls.org

(617) 603-2700


Community Legal Services and Counseling Center

One West Street, Cambridge MA 02139

(617) 661-1010


Harvard Legal Aid Bureau

23 Everett St., 1st floor, Cambridge MA 02138

www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/hlab

(617) 495-4408

 

Mediation for Results offers some free mediation services for tenants with housing disputes

Mediation for Results

1035 Cambridge Street, #12, Cambridge MA 02141

www.mediationforresults.org

(617) 494-0444 ext. 317 

What if I need help with a criminal case?

Committee for Public Counsel Services (Public defenders)

(617) 482-6212

How often does the city sweep the streets?

Public Works mechanically sweeps each street in Cambridge once per month, April through December (weather permitting). Signs are posted on each residential street indicating the schedule. In order to ensure that streets are properly cleaned, cars must move off the side of the street being swept to avoid being ticketed and towed.

Street cleaning plays an important role in Cambridge's stormwater management program.  By sweeping up sand and other debris, catch basins are kept clean and able to function efficiently. Street sweepers also help to remove particles and chemicals that get deposited on roadways through the wear and tear of vehicle parts, combustion, and leaking engine fluids, reducing a significant source of pollution to the Charles River and the Alewife Brook.

How do I apply for Public Housing or get in touch with Cambridge Housing Authority?

Cambridge Housing Authority
362 Green Street
Cambridge, MA 02139

www.cambridge-housing.org

Phone: 617.864.3020
Fax: 617.868.5372
TDD: 800.545.1833 x112  

Hours of Operation:

**SUMMER HOURS SUSPENDED: Monday June 30 to Thursday July 3, 2014**


CHA will be open regular (non-summer) hours Monday through Thursday (June 30th to July 3rd) from 8:30am to 5:00pm and CLOSED on Friday July 4, 2014. 

CHA Central Office Summer Hours Schedule

Monday: 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM
Tuesday: 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM
Wednesday: 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM
Thursday: 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM
Friday: 8:30 AM to Noon


CHA will be closed on Friday, July 4, 2014, in observation of Independence Day. Please call 617.864.3020 to report an emergency.

 

Who should I contact if I see rats on public property (in a park or square, in a road side catch basin, or in association with public construction or rubbish on the sidewalk)?

To report a sighting of rodents you can call the rodent hotline (617) 349-4899 or email rodents@cambridgema.gov

Department Information

Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm