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Policies, Ordinances, and Plans

Three City departments collaborate on the design, community engagement, installation, and construction for street and transportation improvements: the Community Development Department, Public Works Department, and Traffic, Parking, and Transportation Department.

The ordinances, policies, and plans below guide City staff as we implement changes on Cambridge streets. This is not a comprehensive list of all of the City’s policies, ordinances, and plans. 


“Ordinances" are the City of Cambridge’s versions of laws: they are regulations passed by the City Council addressing local issues.

Cycling Safety Ordinance

The Cycling Safety Ordinance requires the City to install or begin construction on about 25 miles of separated bike lanes between 2020 and 2026 (with some possible extensions). The ordinance requires the City to install bike lanes on all of Massachusetts Avenue and sections of Garden Street, Broadway, Cambridge Street, and Hampshire Street, as well as 11.6 additional miles on other streets designated for greater separation in the 2020 Bicycle Network Vision.

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Parking and Transportation Demand Management Ordinance

The Parking and Transportation Demand Management Ordinance requires property owners building more parking spaces to submit a plan to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips and encourage walking, biking, taking transit, and carpooling.

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Vehicle Trip Reduction Ordinance

In 1992, the Cambridge City Council passed the Vehicle Trip Reduction Ordinance to reduce the number of car trips taking place in Cambridge through expanded commuter mobility programs, bicycle and pedestrian mobility programs, restricting visitor passes, implementing fees on residential parking stickers, and more.

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Vision Zero

The City of Cambridge has committed to Vision Zero and set a goal to eliminate transportation-related deaths and serious injuries. The City Council committed to Vision Zero in 2016, and in 2018 the City released a Vision Zero Action Plan to outline how the City will get there.

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Complete Streets

Complete streets are designed and operated to allow people of all ages and abilities to safely move along and across the street, whether they are walking, bicycling, driving, or taking transit. The 2016 Complete Streets Policy commits the City to following Complete Streets principles in road design.

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School Wellness Policy

The Cambridge Public Schools Wellness Policy aims to make bicycling and walking to school safer and more appealing modes of transportation.

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Five-Year Plan for Streets and Sidewalks

The Five-Year Plan is a comprehensive plan for designing streets that safely accommodates all users – pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transportation users of all ages and abilities. The plan lists which streets will be reconstructed in the next five years.

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Vision Zero Action Plan

Cambridge’s Vision Zero Action Plan is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries while increasing safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all. As part of this strategy, Cambridge is dedicated to designing and operating our streets to ensure that people of all ages can walk, bike, use transit, and drive safely.

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Cambridge Bicycle Plan

The Bicycle Plan lay outs a vision for developing bicycle-friendly streets and supporting programs and policies that will help meet this goal.

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Climate Action Plan

The City’s Climate Action Plan includes strategies to improve facilities for people walking, biking, and taking transit.

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Envision Cambridge

The City’s master plan includes strategies to expand access to sustainable transportation infrastructure, make existing infrastructure more convenient and reliable, and enhance and expand safety infrastructure for all street users.

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Regional Transportation Planning

Cambridge collaborates with neighboring municipalities and state agencies on transportation planning that impacts the entire Greater Boston region.

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Cambridge Pedestrian Plan

The City of Cambridge Pedestrian Plan aims to provide policies and guidelines for facilities that will make walking safer, easier, and more attractive; provide design standards for pedestrian improvements; and outline steps to encourage walking.

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Page was posted on 2/22/2021 2:35 PM
Page was last modified on 7/24/2023 10:22 PM
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