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Row of parked cars in a lot with a colorful mural behind

Parking Study

The City considered updating its parking regulations. The purpose of this study was to make sure that parking regulations fulfill the City’s goals for: 

  • traffic
  • greenhouse gas emissions
  • climate resilience
  • housing
  • economic development
  • equity

This study had three parts: understand community mobility needs and how future changes might affect people, analyze current regulations, and propose a set of changes to parking regulations. The study is now complete. Download the Executive Summary and/or Full Report below to read the recommended strategies and actions. 

For more information, contact Stephanie Groll at sgroll@cambridgema.gov

The Latest

Final Report now available

Click here for Executive Summary

Click here for Parking Study Final Report

Minimum Parking Requirements

In 2022, the City Council voted to change parking requirements to eliminate minimum parking requirements for new buildings.

Here is a list of hearings on this topic:

  • October 24, 2022 (City Council meeting agenda and video) - ordained as amended
  • October 3, 2022 (City Council meeting agenda and video) - passed to a second reading
  • September 21, 2022 (Ordinance Committee agenda and video) - referred back to full Council with a positive recommendation
  • August 16, 2022 (Planning Board agenda and video) - unfavorable recommendation
  • August 3, 2022 (Ordinance Committee agenda and video) -  no action taken at this meeting
  • April 5, 2022 (Transportation and Public Utilities Committee agenda and video) - discussion
  • July 14, 2021 (Transportation and Public Utilities Committee agenda and video) - discussion

Engagement Updates

We engaged with people who live, work, and shop in Cambridge to: 

  • provide information about parking and current regulations in the City, 
  • learn from you about the specific needs you experience now and expect in the future,
  • ensure that you have the chance to share thoughts on planning and policies,
  • build your understanding about how and why City decisions about parking are made,
  • develop a plan for how to analyze parking policies, and
  • learn what you think about different options

We listened to the needs and transportation experiences of more than 2,830 people from fall 2021 through 2022. This engagement included one-to-one personal connections, two surveys, tabling, pop-up conversations, emails, and interviews with residents, property owners, business owners, and employees.

  • 10/16/21 Community member conversations at Danehy Park Day
  • 10/14/21 to 11/9/21 Interviews with the Cambridge Commission for People with Disabilities staff and board
  • 10/20/21 to 6/14/22 Interviews with Cambridge business owners and employees
  • 11/2021 Community member conversations at tables outside schools and libraries

City staff concentrated time and resources on reaching people who have barriers to participating in planning processes and whose needs and opinions may not have been heard in past discussions about parking policy.  We conducted eight focus groups with a total of 90 participants. Five of the focus groups were in languages other than English and one was done with the American-born Black community. 

The Department of Human Service Programs’ Community Engagement Team hosted focus groups with the following communities. Click below for a summary of comments that people made:

We followed up by sending a summary of comments back to the focus group participants to reflect back what we heard and invited corrections.

We shared information with more than 1,400 people through email blasts to a Cambridge parking interest group, the City daily update, newsletters put out by the Community Development Department, neighborhood association listservs, community-based organizations serving Cambridge residents, and this Parking Study web page.

At least two points of outreach took place in languages other than English (a survey translated into four languages so CET outreach workers could support community members to answer the survey and the CET focus groups). 

The engagement effort included 122 in-depth conversations and 2,690 survey responses.

Once we began learning about the needs and experiences of community members, we reviewed the current parking regulations to see what we could change. These regulations included zoning, the Parking and Transportation Demand Management Ordinance, the Commercial Parking Ordinance, the residential permit program, metered spaces, and how the curb is used.  

Our next step was to decide and share which parking actions we will prioritize.

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