Bicycle Parking

Bicycle parking: post-and-rings on Dunster Street in Harvard Square

The City of Cambridge encourages the provision of bicycle parking throughout the city in order to support and encourage the use of bicycles as a mode of transportation. Bicycle parking is provided on both public and private property through inclusion in infrastructure projects, as a requirement of new development projects, and through the City’s Bicycle Parking Program.

The number of rush hour cycling trips in Cambridge tripled between 2002 and 2012, accompanied by an increase in the demand for bicycle parking. There are presently around 3,000 bicycle parking racks on the public right of way throughout the city, about 90% of which are located in commercial districts.

Click here for a map showing bicycle parking on public property. 

Bicycle Parking Guide

For full guidelines on installing bicycle parking in Cambridge, please click here.

bicycle parking guide

Locking Your Bicycle

Lock your bike, even if you're just leaving it for a minute. The best, most effective way to park your bike will depend on the type of bike you have. Sturdy U-shaped locks generally work best. Be sure to lock the frame and at least one wheel to the rack. If you only have one lock, choose the most vulnerable wheel, such as a quick-release wheel. Back wheels are usually more expensive to replace, but may be more difficult to remove.

Bicycle Rack Requests

To request that a bicycle rack be placed on public property or to report a damaged bike rack, please fill out a report on the Commonwealth Connect citizen reporting platform SeeClickFix. City staff will review the locations requested to determine if they are suitable for bicycle parking. 

When assessing needs and reviewing requests, the Bicycle Parking Program places priority on the highest demand destinations, specifically main business districts, small business districts in neighborhoods, schools, parks, and public buildings. If you would like to request bicycle parking in a residential location, please review these guidelines first.

Requirements for Development Projects

The City of Cambridge has required bicycle parking as part of new development since 1981. The most recent modifications to bicycle parking zoning requirements were adopted into the Zoning Ordinance by the City Council on June 3, 2013. Zoning requirements address both short- and long-term bicycle parking, and are enforced through the special permit and building permit review process and the Parking and Transportation Demand Management (PTDM) program.

If a property owner is unable meet the requirements for short-term bicycle parking, the owner is required to contribute to a Public Bicycle Parking Fund as per Zoning Ordinance Section 6.104.2 b. To submit to this fund, complete this form and return to Jeffrey Roberts at jroberts@cambridgema.gov. To determine the amount for contribution, the price per rack (including purchasing, siting, installation, ownership, and maintenance) can be found in this memo. This price should be applied to the parking quantities specified as per Zoning Ordinance Section 6.107.3.

On-Street Bicycle Parking Corrals

Bicycle Stall - One Broadway, Cambridge

Because of limited sidewalk space available for bicycle parking, especially in dense business districts, combined with competing sidewalk uses such as accommodating increased pedestrian travel and sidewalk cafés, Cambridge utilizes on-street parking spaces for bicycle parking corrals. Each corral fits in one vehicle parking spot and provides parking for 12 bicycles. Most corrals are put into storage for the winter months, while a few remain in place in particularly high demand locations.

D.I.Y. Bike Parking

Looking to install your own bike parking on your property? Please consult the Cambridge Bicycle Parking Guide for further guidance on bike rack types and layouts. Companies manufacturing bicycle racks that meet Cambridge’s design standards include Dero, Madrax, and Saris, as well as many others. Cambridge residents can receive consultation from the Community Development Department on bike rack type and layout by emailing bikerack@cambridgema.gov.

Rules and Regulations

From Sec. 12.9 of the Cambridge Traffic Regulations:

BICYCLE PARKING ON THE PUBLIC WAY

(a) Bicycles are permitted to park against a building, street sign pole (except any street sign pole that designate a disability/handicap parking space), or on a bicycle rack or other facility specifically intended for that purpose.

(b) Under no circumstances shall a bicycle obstruct the pedestrian path of travel or disability/handicap access ramps. A parked bicycle must leave at least 36 inches of an obstruction free path of travel.

(c) Bicycles are not permitted to be parked to: fire hydrants, hand railings, benches, trees, trash receptacles and parking meters or any sign pole, light pole and utility pole that has a sign designating a disability/handicap parking space.

(d) Bicycles shall not be parked longer than 72 consecutive hours at the same location in any business district as defined in section 12.8. At no such time, shall a bicycle obstruct a person with disabilities access to a vehicle, walkway or building.

(e) Bicycles in violation of the above regulations shall be tagged and removed immediately if presenting a public safety hazard as noted in section 12.9 (b) and given a 72-hour notice to remove for violations in section 12.9 (c) and (d). Removed bicycles shall be held by the City of Cambridge Department of Public Works for a minimum of 30 days.

(f) No motorized vehicles shall be parked on a bicycle rack or other facility specifically designed and intended for bicycle parking. Violators are subject to immediate removal from the City of Cambridge Department of Public Works or Police Department. 

Bicycles that are in violation of the regulations will be tagged and removed by the Department of Public Works, 617/349-4800. You can also report abandoned bicycles to this number.

For More Information

For more information, contact Adi Philson at aphilson@cambridgema.gov or 617/349-6012.