Sidewalk Obstruction Business Use - First Time Applicants

Business Use Sidewalk Obstruction Permit

A business use sidewalk obstruction permit is required if you are a business in the City of Cambridge and want to use an “A” framed sign, sandwich board, display merchandise, or use tables and chairs on a sidewalk in the public way. This permit is also required if you want to hang a temporary banner across a public way.

Note: If alcohol will be served as part of outdoor seating or if the obstruction is of a permanent nature, additional permits will be required.

Permit requirements for first time applicants:

1. Submit a completed sidewalk business use petition to the City Clerk’s office located at City Hall to be reviewed by City Council. Once the petition has been reviewed by City Council the petitioner’s application will be forwarded to the Department of Public Works for further review. The petition must include:
a) Name or Business name of petitioner
b) Business address
c) Type of obstruction
d) Location of where the obstruction will be located
e) Days of the week that the obstruction will be on the sidewalk
f) Requested hours that the obstruction will be on the sidewalk
g) Petitioner’s signature, telephone number, emergency contact number and email address

2. Submit a drawing that displays where the obstruction will be located on the sidewalk in relation to the business premises and curb. The location of sidewalk obstruction must meet ADA requirements.

3. Submit with this petition a certificate of insurance that names the City as additionally insured and the certificate holder in an amount not less than $1,000,000.00 per occurrence.

4. If the petition is approved by City Council it will be forwarded to the Department of Public Works for further review. At this time you will be contacted and the $75.00 permit fee will be required. If approved this permit will be renewable on or before March 31 of each year.

Download permit application  (PDF)

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Dept of Public Works

147 Hampshire St
Cambridge MA 02139


Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8:00pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5:00pm
Friday: 8:30am-12 noon
24 Hour emergency 617.349.4860


Tuesday & Thursday: 4:00pm-7:30pm
Saturday: 9:00am-4:00pm

Owen O'Riordan