Block Parties

Description and purpose

A block party is a community-based event hosted by a group of neighbors, a not-for-profit organization or an association on a City street requiring closing of a portion of the street, a single block, for part of a day.

Eligibility

Block party applicants must reside on the street and within the one block area being closed. During a Block Party the street being used must be accessible to all abutters and all or any emergency vehicles.   For the street to be closed, an abutter’s agreement signature sheet with the approval of 75% of the households residing on each block involved is required (including 75% of the residents of any apartment complex). Each applicant signing the petition must be an adult representative and reside on the block that is being closed.

How to apply

Application packages must be submitted at least 30 business days prior to the date of the block party.  In addition, applicants must submit the following documentation before any requests can be reviewed. These documents can be mailed or delivered to our office.

  1. Abutters’ signature and information form -- one for each event.
  2. Copy of a Massachusetts Photo I.D. which indicates that the Block Party applicant resides on the street and block being closed. 
  3. An informational flyer, which once approved by the Department's Permit Coordinator, must be distributed to all households within the one block area of the Block Party.  The flyer must include the following information:

  • Name of event i.e. “Main Street Block Party.” 
  • Day / Date / Start & End Times / Rain Date 
  • Location of event, (for example, Main Street between Street A and Street B). 
  • Activities that will take place on street 
  • Contact information of applicant so that anyone with questions or concerns can reach him/her at any time prior to or during the event. Preferably provide a cell phone number.

Fees

$25.00 permit fee per Block Party (Cash, Check or Charge)

Other information

  • Upon receiving the application the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department, along with the Cambridge Police and/or Fire Departments, if necessary, will review the submission and determine whether the permit can be granted.
  • The day before the event, the Department will drop off plastic orange barrels for you to use to block traffic from the area of the event. NOTE: Access must be maintained in case emergency vehicles need to enter the permitted area.
  • Commercial vehicles are to be admitted for deliveries, along with the vehicles of persons who must enter the street in order to conduct their normal daily activities.  Persons with disabilities must have access to the street and their residences.
  • The block party host is responsible for cleaning up and properly disposing of any trash and recycling from the block party.
  • Alcoholic beverages cannot be sold or served during a block party. 
  • Barbeques must be placed on private property. Food can be brought onto a public way but must be free of charge.
  • Goods or services cannot be sold at a block party. 
  • Since block parties are held on public property, any member of the public may attend or participate.  
  • Providing amplified or acoustical music, games etc. at a block party is subject to approval by the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and may require approval by and/or permits from other city agencies. It is the responsibility of the applicant/sponsor to secure all necessary permits / licenses and provide documentation to the street occupancy permit office prior to permit issuance. The following is a list of phone numbers if additional information is required.
    • Cambridge Police Department617-349-3300
    • Cambridge Fire Department617.349.4900
    • Inspectional Services617-349-6100
    • Licensing Commission617-349-6140