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 maximum allowable time limit; others have 30 or 60 minute maximum allowable time limits. To see the specific location of meters on a map click here. If you need to park for longer than the posted maximum allowable time limit, please use one of the City parking garages or City parking lots that provide public parking.
All on-street meters in Cambridge take U.S. quarters only. Other coins deposited will not give any time on the meter. See the parking meter rates below:
- Low Demand Meters: $1.00 per hour, 15 minutes per quarter
- Citywide Meter Base Rate: $1.25 per hour, 12 minutes per quarter
- High Demand Harvard Square Meters: $1.50 per hour, 10 minutes per quarter
- All 30 Minute Maximum Time Limit Meters: 10 minutes per quarter
Click here for a map showing the locations of the different parking meter rates. Payment at meters is not required on Commonwealth of Massachusetts holidays, Sundays, or exceptions posted on the parking signs.
*Passport Pay by Phone mobile payment option is available for use at all meters across the City.
Maximum Allowable Time Limits
Parking maximum allowable time limits are posted on signs in the vicinity of meters. These signs explain the maximum allowable time that vehicles can be parked at that meter or parking zone, the hours the meter is in operation, and either the days the meter is in operation or the exceptions when the meter is not in operation (i.e., 8am-6pm ex. Sunday).
Vehicles may be parked in a parking space, or parking zone, only as long as the posted maximum allowable time limit for those parking spaces or that parking zone. This applies whether you deposit more money after your maximum allowable time has been reached or not. Vehicles that are parked in the same parking space, or parking zone, longer than the maximum allowable time are subject to being ticketed for an overtime parking violation.
Signs at meters that say "Except" during certain hours and days, mean that the meters and the maximum time limit are not in effect on those days or during those times. For example, a sign that says "2-HR Parking, 8AM - 6PM, Except Sat & Sun" means that the parking at those parking spaces, or in that parking zone, requires payment Monday through Friday, between 8AM and 6PM up to the maximum allowable time of 2 hours. Outside of this posted time, parking is unrestricted, and meter payments are not required. Vehicles with a City of Cambridge Resident Parking Permit may park in such locations during the entire unrestricted time. Other vehicles are limited to 24 hours under the City's Storage regulation which can be found here along with other Parking Ticket Violations.
City policy allows vehicles to be parked at a broken parking meter up to the posted maximum allowable time limit of that meter. Vehicles parked longer than the maximum allowable time limit are subject to being ticketed for an overtime parking violation, even if the meter is broken.
Click here to dispute a parking ticket you believe was invalid because of a broken parking meter.
Street Cleaning at Meters
Some meters are in street cleaning areas and vehicles will be ticketed and towed if parked at a meter during the day and time posted for street cleaning. In most cases, the street cleaning restriction at parking meters is from 7am to 10am.
Click here for the street cleaning schedule.
Temporary No Parking Restrictions at Meters
There are times when temporary no parking signs may be attached to a meter. These signs will state the date, times, and reason for the restriction. Please read these signs carefully as vehicles are subject to being ticketed and towed during these posted times.
There are several methods which can be used to submit a parking ticket dispute so that the Department can investigate your claim if you feel you have been ticketed for a meter violation incorrectly. You can complete the online dispute form, mail the information to the address on the ticket, or visit our office to file a dispute.
We will investigate your dispute and respond by mail or email in a timely manner. Please note that there is no grace period for expired time when a car is parked at a meter. Once the meter has expired, the vehicle is in violation. Meters will indicate time has expired by showing “00:00” on the face of the meter and a flashing “expired” or red image on the reverse side.