Policy on Overtime Parking Enforcement

City of Cambridge

Traffic, Parking, and Transportation Department

Policy on Overtime Parking Enforcement

Effective December 12, 2016

Effective December 12th, 2016, the City of Cambridge is implementing revisions to its overtime parking policy to create zones within which overtime parking regulations will be enforced. This change will be implemented in conjunction with the phasing in of a new program which will allow parkers to pay for metered parking using their cell phones. The pay by phone program and the new overtime policy are now in effect in both Harvard Square and Central Square, where the pay by phone option is available. Expansion of the new policy and program throughout the City will follow in phases.

New Overtime Policy – Key Points

  • Parking meters have time limits (e.g., 30 minutes, one hour or two hours) which restrict the length of time vehicles can park at a particular location.
  • The City issues parking tickets for overtime parking when vehicles stay in the same location longer than the time permitted.
  • Under the previous policy, a location was defined as an individual parking space. As long a vehicle was moved from the space it was in to a different space, it would not be ticketed for overtime.
  • Under the City’s updated policy, a location is defined as a zone that includes a number of metered parking spaces. A vehicle must be moved out of the zone in which it is parked to avoid an overtime ticket.

New Overtime Policy – Key Goals

  • Provide additional parking for customers of stores, restaurants, professional offices, and other destinations within the city by encouraging turnover of parked vehicles.
  • Ensure that policies are the same for customers paying by coin and customers paying with the new pay by phone program.
  • Encourage all-day-parkers to use sustainable transportation modes or park in off-street parking lots rather than driving and parking on public streets.
  • Discourage people from parking all day and/or continually swapping spaces at meters.

Regulatory Background

As laid out in Section 16.14 of the City of Cambridge Traffic, Parking, and Transportation Regulations, “No person shall park a vehicle in any such parking meter space for a consecutive period of time longer than that limited period of time for which parking is lawfully permitted in the parking meter zone in which such meter is located, irrespective of the number or amounts of the coins deposited in such meter.” In addition, the Regulations define “parking meter zone” as “Any street or portion thereof or parking lot upon which parking meters are installed and in operation and upon which parking of vehicles is permitted for a limited time subject to compliance with the further provision of these regulations.”

Parking Meter Zones Explained

As noted above, beginning December 12th, 2016, the City will be changing its overtime policy in locations where the pay by phone system will be in place, such that the “parking meter zones” will be enlarged to include multiple parking meters, in keeping with the definition stated in the Regulations. Within any given parking meter zone, it will be illegal to park for more than the defined time limit, even if a car is moved between different parking meters within that zone. If a car is moved from one zone to another, then the time limit will be reset and the new time limit within the new zone will apply. Within each zone all parking meters will be in operation during the same hours and for the same maximum duration/time limit and these time restrictions will be the same regardless of whether meter payment is made directly at the meter or via the pay-by-phone system.

The parking meter zones will be designated with unique numbers which will be shown using signs on poles and stickers on parking meters, so that it will be clear to all users which zone they are parking in and where the boundaries of each zone are located. The geographic definition of the zones will also be described in the Traffic, Parking, and Transportation Regulations and will be defined in the same way for those paying directly at the meter or via the pay by phone system.