Bicycle Parking Program

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

About the Program

The City of Cambridge provides 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.

Approximately 3,000 bicycle parking racks are in place on the public right of way throughout the city. (By way of comparison, there are approximately 3,000 metered parking spaces on Cambridge streets.) The number of cycling trips in Cambridge has increased by almost 150% between 2002 and 2010, accompanied by an increase in the demand for bicycle parking.

The Cambridge Bicycle Parking Program, a joint project of Community Development Department and the Traffic, Parking, & Transportation Department, focuses on increasing publicly available bicycle parking by adding racks to existing sidewalks and public buildings. Approximately 500 additional bicycle racks have been installed through this program over the past 5 years. Other departments such as Public Works incorporate bicycle parking in designs for full reconstruction projects of streets, parks, playgrounds, plazas, and public buildings. The Bicycle Parking Zoning requirements cover private property, and are enforced through the special permit and building permit review process, and the Parking and Transportation Demand Management (PTDM) program. The zoning addresses both short and long term bicycle parking.

Ongoing needs assessment surveys are conducted by City staff to identify locations where additional bicycle racks are needed. The survey methodology consists of field visits to identify locations where the demand for bicycle parking exceeds the capacity, indicated by the presence of bicycles locked to fences, poles, and trees.

Bike 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.

Residential Bike Rack Requests

The City recognizes that providing bicycle parking at residential locations is important in supporting and encouraging the use of bicycles as a mode of transportation. When assessing needs and reviewing requests by the public for bicycle parking, CDD’s Bicycle Parking Program places priority on installing new bicycle parking at the highest demand destinations, specifically: main business districts, small business districts in neighborhoods, schools, parks, and public buildings. However, CDD’s bicycle parking program will also aim to install bicycle racks at entirely residential locations. Residential locations will receive a lower priority than business districts, schools, parks, and public buildings, and will represent approximately 10% of the annual installation program. More information can be found here. 

On-Street Bicycle Parking Stalls

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 stalls. Each stall fits in one vehicle parking spot and provides parking for 12 bicycles. Stalls are placed at high-demand locations for the warmer months and are stored during winter. A small number of stalls remain during the winter months at particularly high demand locations. 

Map of Bike Racks

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

Bicycle Parking on Private Property

Zoning and Development Projects

The City of Cambridge, through its Zoning Ordinance, has required bicycle parking as part of new development since 1981. CDD, working with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department, the Bicycle Committee and the Planning Board, developed a revised set of bicycle parking zoning requirements. These requirements were adopted into the Zoning Ordinance by the City Council on June 3, 2013. Click here for more information about Bicycle Parking Zoning.

Bicycle Parking Guidelines

Click here for guidelines for installing bicycle parking as part of a development project.

Public Bicycle Parking Fund

If a property owner cannot meet the requirements for short-term bicycle parking on a lot, the owner is required to contribute to a Public Bicycle Parking Fund as per Zoning Ordinance Section 6.104.2 b “Short-Term Bicycle Parking Public Contribution.” To submit to this fund, fill out 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.

D.I.Y. Bike Parking

Looking to install your own bike parking on your property? Bike racks can be installed by local contractors on a variety of surfaces. You can also install them in the ground yourself. On method involves mounting a rack into a bucket of wet concrete and burying the bucket when the concrete is dry. See this video for another example where racks are mounted directly into the dirt using concrete.

There are a variety of designs for bicycle racks produced by many manufacturers. Bike racks can be purchased as single units, with a capacity of locking 2 bikes (one on each side), or as multiple units attached together, with a larger capacity. Companies manufacturing bicycle racks that meet Cambridge’s design standards include Dero, Madrax, and Saris, as well as many others. You should also consult the Cambridge Bicycle Parking Guide for further guidance on bike rack types and layouts. Cambridge residents can receive a consultation from the Community Development Department on bike rack type and layout by emailing bikerack@cambridgema.gov.

Gallery of Bike Racks

Below are examples of bike racks that meet the city’s bicycle rack requirements. For more information on bicycle parking requirements, please see the Cambridge Bicycle Parking Guide.

Approved Bicycle Racks

For More Information

For more information contact Justin Schreiber at jschreiber@cambridgma.gov or 617/349-6012.