Traffic, Parking, and Transportation

Photo of a bicyclist waiting to cross a street The Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department (TP&T) oversees public parking and traffic operations, including pavement markings, crosswalks and bicycle lanes, operation of traffic signals, traffic study reviews, and permitting street obstructions and street closings. The department also oversees the Resident Permit Program. Additionally, TP&T works closely with other City departments in planning, reviewing, and developing proposals to improve the City’s infrastructure and encourages walking, bicycling and using transit.

Tips and FAQs

Resident & Visitor Parking Permits

Resident Parking Permits allow Cambridge residents to park their vehicles, including motorcycles, in locations throughout the City posted "Parking by Permit Only".

The purpose of the City's Resident Parking regulation is to maximize the availability of parking for Cambridge residents while discouraging long-term parking on residential streets near commercially zoned areas or transportation access points.

All permits expire each year on January 31. Each Cambridge household is also eligible to receive one Visitor Parking Permit. A Visitor Parking Permit is provided to the first person who applies for a Resident Parking Permit from that household.

If no one in your household owns a vehicle, you can still apply for a Visitor Parking Permit. The rules on the back of the Visitor Parking Permit are strictly enforced.

The City of Cambridge does not provide short-term parking permits for summer school students or sub-letters. Individuals seeking on-street parking must meet the eligibility requirements for a resident parking permit.

Parking Meters

The City of Cambridge installs parking meters to provide short term parking for visitors and patrons of Cambridge businesses. Most on street meters have a two hour time limit; others have 30 or 60 minute limits. To see the specific location of meters on a map click here. If you need to park for longer than the posted time limit, please use one of the City parking garages or City parking lots that provide public parking.

Information about Meters on Holidays

Payments are not required at City of Cambridge parking meters and parking meter pay stations on the following Commonwealth of Massachusetts holidays.

New Year's Day January 1st
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day  Third Monday in January
Presidents' Day  Third Monday in February
Patriots' Day  Third Monday in April 
Memorial Day  Last Monday in May
Independence Day  July 4th
Labor Day  First Monday in September
Columbus Day  Second Monday in October
Veterans Day  November 11th
Thanksgiving Day  Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day December 25th

Under state law, all holidays falling on Sunday are observed on Monday.

Parking Ticket Information

Each parking ticket is issued for a specific reason as listed on the parking violation. View more information about a specific violation types.

Parking tickets can be paid by web, over the phone, by mail or in person in our office. View complete information about how to pay a parking ticket. Ticket disputes must be submitted online or in writing. Learn more about disputing a parking ticket or submitting a dispute online.

If you do not have your parking ticket number, lost your ticket, or you want to check for an outstanding ticket: 

  • with a Massachusetts registration, go to our pay by web application enter your license plate registration number to look up your ticket.
  • with an out of state plate, please call the Traffic, Parking and Transportation office at (617) 349-4700 to speak with a staff member.

The City issues two types of parking tickets. Most tickets are produced by handheld ticket writing machines and will be available for payment the day after they are issued. Handwritten paper tickets can take up to ten days to be added into the system. If you would like to pay for a ticket that is not yet in our database, please mail payment to our office at 344 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139 and be sure to note the ticket number and your license plate number including the state in which your vehicle is registered on your check or money order.

When parked at a parking meter or pay station in a lot or on the street, you may receive two tickets, one for an expired meter and one for overtime, which is parking beyond the posted time limit. Both tickets are valid. Meters are for short term parking only and time limits are strictly enforced. When parking on a street with single space meters you cannot stay in the same space for longer than the posted time limit. When parking on a street or in a parking lots with pay stations, you must move your vehicle from that street or lot prior to being there for the posted amount of time which is either two or four hours depending on location and time of day. If your vehicle is parked for longer than that posted time limit, you are subject to receiving an overtime parking violation.

View additional information parking tickets.

Street Cleaning Information

The Cambridge Department of Public Works (DPW) sweeps each street once per month from April through December.Visit the DPW street cleaning web page for up-to-date information.

Anyone can sign up for email street cleaning reminders via our E-line  street cleaning notifications through the Cambridge Alert Network.

Signs are posted on each residential street indicating the street cleaning schedule.  You can check the City's street sweeping district maps to see what streets are included in a particular district. 

You must move your car off of the side of the street being swept to avoid being ticketed and towed. 

Street cleaning does not take place on holidays. If your posted street cleaning day falls on a holiday, your street will be cleaned on an alternate day either before or after the regularly scheduled day. Check the street cleaning schedule for alternate street sweeping days. 

You should not park on the street until after the posted end time on the street sweeping sign. The sweeper may go by for a second pass. Also, the City may perform catch basin cleaning during the same posted time in order to avoid additional parking disruptions. 

Cars parked during times posted for street cleaning will be ticketed by the Cambridge Police Department and towed by a private tow company under contract with the City. If your car gets towed, use our online search tool to find out to where it has been towed. If you cannot find your vehicle using this search tool, contact the Police Department at (617) 349-3300.

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