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Spanish-Speaking Parking Study Focus Group

1/25/22 Summary Comments:

  • It feels good to walk in Cambridge because:
    • The City is beautiful and safe
    • walking is good for health and for the environment
    • it is less expensive than driving and quicker than taking the bus
    • It's a nice way to spend time with kids
  • Biking with kids is fun on paths and parks, but feels too dangerous and scary on streets. Protected bike lanes would help them feel safe.
  • Biking with kids is fun on paths and parks, but feels too dangerous and scary on streets. Protected bike lanes would help them feel safe.
  • It would be good see when the next bus is coming at bus stops. That is really useful when it’s cold and you’re not sure when the next bus is coming. Bus shelters that protect from rain and cold would help too.
  • The dedicated bus lane on North Mass Ave reduced the school bus route loop from taking 15 minutes to 5 minutes.
  • It is frustrating to use the Transit app for tracking buses and trains because it is often wrong. The bus arrives later than the app predicts, or disappears from the app entirely, or it does arrive on time but the driver goes on a break for 15 minutes while sitting at the stop.

  • Not everyone knows about the Transit app, and some people find the technology too complex. For them, it’s better to have signs showing when the next bus is coming.

  • People would feel safer taking the buses if they were cleaner, especially the seats, and if people were asked to wear face masks.

  • It is hard to find street parking in many areas of Cambridge like Central Square, Harvard Square, and near the Galleria and Science Museum. 15- to 30-minutes meters are too short for the time people need to be at the Post Office. Private garages are too expensive. When parking is too hard to find, it's easier to take the bus or walk.

  • Sometimes people with kids really need to use a car. More housing is good, but when new houses are built without dedicated parking, that makes parking more of a challenge.

  • Residents would prefer residential permit parking, not metered parking, in front of their homes. Painted street markings to define each spot would help people park in a way that gets the most parking spaces out of the smallest area, and avoid using two spaces for one car.

  • The parking app works well.

  • Parking problems make it difficult to have visitors and people feel sad they can't have family and friends in their homes. On-street parking is hard to find, large apartment buildings charge about $25 per hour for visitors, and visitors' cars have been towed. This is not a problem for people who have visitors who bike, walk, and take Uber.

  • Home healthcare workers have a hard time finding parking and sometimes have to walk 5 blocks. Sometimes they have to find alternative services because parking is hard to find.

  • It is less stressful and easier to live in Cambridge if you don't have a car.

  • Cambridge is a beautiful city, but is so congested.

  • It's easier to drive to nearby towns to shop where they have a reliable spot in a garage.

  • People are scheduling their lives around parking, either returning home by a certain time to find resident permit parking or getting up early to move a car. People who have parking in their building feel lucky that they are able to come and go whenever they want. Some would like to move but are staying because don't want to give up their parking space.

  • Parking is expensive and so is getting towed.

Questions Asked

  • How can I apply for reduced fare pass for my kid with special needs? Where do I have to go or call to apply?
  • Do they have a discount for people that are teens or just start working not making much money? How do I get a discount T pass from the City?
  • Please send discount information for bus and train.


—Seniors get discounts on most services by filling out an application at Downtown Crossing Station. Cambridge hosts regular registration events. More information at MBTA.

—Persons with disabilities qualify for discounts on the T. Blind persons always ride free, but must have a Blind Access CharlieCard.

—Kids under 12 ride free with a paying adult. Junior high and high school students ride the T for 50% off and are eligible for a Student T Pass.

—Youth T Pass: Cambridge young adults ages 19-25 who meet residency and income requirements are eligible for discounted MBTA passes.


For more information:


617-222-3200, TTY: 617-222-5854


Bluebikes information and discounts



Income-eligible Bluebikes membership


Youth Bluebikes discount membership

Focus Group Quotes

  • I like to walk a lot because it helps me with my health, but now that it’s cold I walk less. I take the train, bus, or EZ Ride.
  • I use different transportation depending on where I am going and who I am with because I have a small child. I am trying to teach him how to walk around and navigate the city. I keep safety in mind and that is why I love the crosswalk buttons that Cambridge has. So that’s always nice to know you can press the button. Especially in the main streets. I prefer to walk anywhere I can for health reasons, it’s another way for me to take care of myself and keep the environment clean and know the city better. I like biking in springtime, nice to be able to have safe biking lanes beautiful addition to embrace wellness and community and embrace the environment. The cost of gasoline is too expensive.
  • One thing that’s helpful is to have sidewalks that you can actually navigate with a double stroller. I love crosswalks that signal to cars. We live off Mass Ave, so I'm always a little bit worried crossing Mass Ave with the kids.
  • I think twice about walking during the cold weather. But walking around Cambridge is a pleasure. It’s a very nice place to live and walk because I can find very respectful drivers. I have never had any bad experience when I’m walking. But I prefer taking the bus.
  • I walk depending on the situation. If I’m going to, for example, the center of Cambridge, I prefer to walk or take a bus or train, depending on how fast it’s coming. Because it’s easier to walk around and get errands done or when you are with kids who want to explore the City. I also walk around for health reasons and for the environment. Cambridge has good signals and respectful people so it’s comfortable to walk around. There is also very low crime so you don’t have to be scared walking.
  • I love to walk in Cambridge. Sightseeing because the City is so beautiful and safe, and for health, I love the city. I also have a kid and we always walk around together.
  • I hope Cambridge will always be safe.
  • We bike for fun. We feel really nervous about biking on the streets. We live near the bike path, so we mostly bike with the kids on the bike path. My husband used to take our kids to preschool on the bike every day for a while, but he felt like every time he was having a dangerous interaction with a car on the way. They never got hurt or had an accident, but that was a concern. I have a few friends who bike pretty consistently, even in the winter and all of them have had an accident with a car on their bike. So I think that bike lanes are definitely helpful for that. The protected bike lanes, in particular.
  • Cambridge has a lot of bike signals. I have not ridden a bike outside the parks in a while, because it scares me a little and I don’t have a proper bike. But in summer we always go outside to ride bikes in nice weather in the park with kids. The few experiences I have had on a bicycle has been good because the respect that Cambridge gives to riding a bicycle. It feels safe because Cambridge has lots of bike routes, even though it needs much more.
  • We need more bus stops that tell you when the next bus is coming. I find that really useful, really helpful, especially when you’re waiting and it’s cold and you’re not sure when the next bus is coming.
  • I’ve noticed that my kids’ school bus that does a loop is going much quicker because there’s a dedicated bus lane near us. So instead of taking like 15 minutes, this loop that it does, it takes like 5 minutes now, which is huge.
  • I agree that seeing announcements for when the next bus is coming is good, especially when I’m outside.
  • We need something warm and more comfortable to wait in at the bus stops.
  • I think they need to work on the [Transit] app. Mostly it says it will be there in 15 minutes, but after waiting 15 minutes, it says it’s not actually 15 minutes, it’s 30 minutes. Fix two stops, like the bus stop of 91 and 83.
  • The app is missing info. Sometimes the app says a bus will be there in 15 minutes, and yes the bus comes, but then the driver goes on a break. If someone has to go somewhere fast and the bus is near, they should know that it will be 20 minutes before it leaves, and you must wait. They need to hire more drivers.
  • I really did not know that there is an app for bus transportation. It’s the first time I heard that.
  • For me as a public transportation user, I can’t help but think about this that technology is great and it’s great to know that I can use an app. But I’ve also encountered people who are in the spectrum of different age groups and they prefer to stay to the flip phone because it’s too complex, the technology. To go back to the point that someone earlier had, it’s better to have signage that says your bus is coming, whatever the next bus is coming. I’ve seen this on the train.
  • I totally agree with most of the people here. I use the bus a LOT and I know the app is just giving me a reference for the times the bus might come. And it can change any time. It’s really hard when we are waiting outside during the freezing weather.
  • Maybe you can work on the cleaning on the buses, and sometimes some people not wearing the face mask and many of them even eating or talking on phone without using any mask. I can see the seats are dirty and I would like to use a bus that is clean and or good smell. Especially during this pandemic, we are looking for more clean spaces. I would like to feel safe. Thank you.
  • In Central Square, there are very few spaces to park. Parking meters close to City Hall only give 12-30 minutes. It is hard because when I have to go to the post office, I have to wait in line so I will definitely take 30 minutes or longer. It’s so difficult that I take the bus or walk. Private garages are too expensive.
  • We definitely use our car because we have 3 kids and sometimes we really need to use to use the car. Now it’s a little bit of a relief that we can find parking near our house. I do worry about that because I'm all for higher density, but on my street hardly anybody has dedicated parking spots in their houses. Parking is definitely a challenge. I definitely think twice about taking the car to Harvard Square. I do like the parking app and that works well for me.
  • I live in East Cambridge near Galleria Mall, near the Science Museum and it is really hard to find parking. It’s really, really hard. In my area, in my neighborhood, there is no parking for visitors at all. And where I live. The visitors need to pay $25/hr if they want to park. So it’s difficult for me to receive people here in my house because there is no parking outside and who’s going to pay $25 per hour? Nobody visits me because it’s really hard. It’s really sad because I live in a really good area but there is no parking.
  • For me, the City of Cambridge is more beautiful than Boston, but parking is a disaster. My family does not want to come visit because their cars have been towed twice. It’s sad. There is no parking where she lives so she can’t have visitors.
  • I have a 6-year-old son, and he’s nonverbal autistic. When he is receiving therapy, the therapist can’t find a parking spot close to my apartment. She has to walk sometimes, if she is lucky to find a spot, she has to walk 5 blocks. I have heard many people complaining about this. I am glad I don't have a car.
  • I also would like to say that Cambridge is a beautiful city. I love it here. My only complaint is the parking. Parking is very, very tough. It is so congested in the City that I have family that doesn't want to come visit me because they say it’s so congested. I live right off Western Ave, I like to walk down to Central Square. When it's nice out I don't mind walking. But also when I have to drop something off at the Post Office, I've gotten tickets there. There’s nowhere I can park or stop, not even like a 15 minute just to make a quick drop-off. In Watertown they have a shopping center, and it has an entire free parking garage so that entices me to Watertown to go shopping there. Just because I know there is a reliable parking spot in their garage. Versus going somewhere and just kind of, you know, you're lucky to find a spot.
  • Parking is very stressful, I arrive very late when I drive.
  • I have a car and I actually have to get home [Putnam Gardens] before 8 pm to see if I get lucky to see if find a parking spot near house. I have a resident parking pass that you place on the car so you don’t get a ticket. So I have to circle the block and have to get home before 8 to see if I’m lucky. I wing it and say a prayer. They do have a parking lot for tenants, but I personally can’t get it if I don’t have a car registered, because I’m using my mom’s car right now. And they tow if you park in their parking spots.
  • In my personal case, there is parking in my building. I don’t have to arrive too early to get parking. I can come at any hour. When my mom lived around Central Square, it was so difficult to find parking that when I went to take care of her at night, I needed to know where to park, because if not, I couldn’t bring my car. I got a ticket if I didn’t get up before 7 am to move the car. Thank God I have parking.
  • I’m learning and so now I know that I am very lucky in the place I’m living. Because I was ready to move, and I’m not going to move now. We have parking for me, for visitors.
  • I need to move also but it is hard to find a nice apartment with parking and other accommodations. The problem is parking is so expensive. If you get towed it's so expensive because you need to pay all those charges.
  • In the area I live, it’s hard to use a vehicle because of finding parking. Need to get home on time at 5:30, 6 every day to find parking otherwise you will never find parking. After that, at 6:30, forget it. That's one of the barriers, but the neighborhood is safe, walkability is good, signage is pretty decent in my experience so far. It is what it is. The city is great if your apartment building has parking. Visitors are mostly bikers, walkers, and uber users, so I haven’t had to have that experience. My son also has special ed needs, so usually the therapist or whoever has to come home, they have to find elsewhere to be able to have alternative services in-home.
  • If we're going somewhere fairly close, then I tend to just walk there if it’s not rainy or snowy. We also have vehicles--I used to commute before started working at home and my husband commutes. We use personal vehicle for things. I use Bluebikes sometimes. I have two vehicles that are parked here because we used to commute separately. And we also have a childcare provider who lives with us who also uses one. The other vehicle is parked on the street. It’s not a difficult time finding a space because it is not a main street.
  • There seems to be enough bike parking because the bike poles are not full.
  • I would like residential permit parking, not metered parking in front of my home if I had a choice. It would be great if the street had parking markings like the metered parking, but in the residential parking because the way the street is, it’s a one-way street, there are several driveways and people park right in middle of those two spaces where two cars could park.
  • In an ideal world, I would like my own parking space and one for if I ever have a guest. So that I know I have something there, so I can go anywhere any time and I know I have a secured parking spot when I get home.
  • Thanks for bringing these themes because transportation is very important in our lives and it's good that you are listening to us.
  • I agree. Thank you for allowing us to voice our opinions. This is a great opportunity to let you know the issues we face on day-to-day.


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