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 Simmons welcomes input, feedback and suggestions about city services. The feedback received assists the Mayor in making informed policy decisions.  

Useful Phone numbers

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 dsimmons@cambridgema.gov


How can low income individuals or families access legal services?

The following 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
http://www.clsacc.org/
(617) 661-1010 

Harvard Legal Aid Bureau
23 Everett St., 1st floor, Cambridge MA 02138
http://www.harvardlegalaid.org/
(617) 495-4408

For a Longer List of Legal Resources:
https://www.cambridgema.gov/consumercouncil/consumerresources/legaladvocacyresources


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?

In the event of a snow storm, remember these general on-street parking guidelines:

  • Always park at least 20 feet from the street corner. Parking this far away from the corner improves visibility and safety year-round and ensures compliance with Cambridge Traffic Regulations. In the winter, it also allows plows to push snow away from crosswalks.
  • Think safety! Please do your part and dig out fire hydrants and street drains while digging out your car.
  • When digging out your car, think about how you pile snow; don't create new problems in the street or on sidewalks.
  • Please don't take it personally if Public Works plows accidentally push snow back into your driveway or parked car. It’s sometimes unavoidable in order to keep streets as passable as possible during all stages of the storm.

    During substantial storms, the City may declare a Snow Emergency Parking Ban which prohibits parking on streets signed “No Parking during Snow Emergency.”  When a snow emergency is declared, information is available on the City’s Snow Center website and on 22-CityView. Information can also be found by calling 617-349-4700 (Traffic Department during regular hours or recorded snow information line after hours) To receive notifications about snow emergencies via e-mail, text message, and/or phone call (for any landline or cell phone in the city or elsewhere), sign up for Code Red through the Cambridge Alert Network. Every effort is made to give residents as much advance notice as possible of an impending snow emergency.

Do Property Owners need to clear sidewalks of snow?

Ice needs to be removed within 6 hours from the time it forms, per City Ordinance. Snow needs to be removed within 12 hours after snow stops falling during the day and before 1pm if it snowed during the night, per City Ordinance.

Public Works and the Traffic Department work together to enforce this Ordinance. Parking Control Officers in the Traffic Department conduct enforcement on priority pedestrian routes throughout the winter, and Public Works Compliance Officers investigate all complaints received of uncleared sidewalks.

The fine for failing to comply with the City’s sidewalk clearance ordinances is $50/day 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.

We all have a shared responsibility for keeping our community safe and accessible during winter weather. For you, your neighbors, people with strollers or using wheelchairs, and the many people in Cambridge who walk, please do your part.



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 Simmons, please contact Muna Kangsen, Director of Constituent Service, at mkangsen@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 at least 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 Simmons, Neal Alpert, Director of Constituent Service, at nalpert@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.

Citywide street sweeping includes twice yearly vacuum sweeping to improve stormwater quality

In addition to neighborhood sweeping, City squares are cleaned daily: on weekdays from 7 am to 3 pm, weekends and holidays from 4 am to 8 am (street sweeping) and 6 am to 10 am (hand-cleaning crew).  Litter barrels in squares are emptied twice daily on weekdays and three times daily on weekends.

The Division also has a power washer which is used to clean public trash and recycling receptacles, and to operate a graffiti removal program on both public and private property (with owner's permission). 

Learn more about how the entire community can support these efforts from our Keeping Cambridge Clean brochure.



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  

The CHA’s waiting lists are currently CLOSED due to ongoing renovation across all the CHA property. Only Emergency Applications are currently being considered.

 

To learn about the City’s Inclusionary Housing, how to apply, and for information about other affordable housing options in the City, please visit the City’s Community Development Department page at http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/housing.aspx.  

The Mayor has also created an Affordable Housing Search Guide, which has tips on how to maximize your effectiveness as you search, and with contact information for various housing providers and legal services. This can be downloaded here


Rats

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

Department Head:
E. Denise Simmons, Mayor

Phone: 617-349-4321
Email: dsimmons@cambridgema.gov