Cambridge Massachusetts Bicycle Parking Requirements

To encourage less use of automobiles, better facilities for alternate forms of transportation must be provided. Zoning ordnances in most cities already regulate the amount of parking required for buildings of various sizes and uses, so the additional requirement of safe, secure bicycle parking to those requirements seems only logical. Cambridge has integrated bicycle parking into the city's parking rules in a way which other communities should emulate. When we first tried to get a copy of this ordnance, in 1990, we discovered that the Cambridge City Clerk's office was not even aware of its existence. Since Cambridge now has a bicycle coordinator and a bicycle committee, the City, as well as developers and building managers are now more aware of the kind of bike parking they are required to provide. While this version of the law became effective only in 1987, we believe that an earlier version covered most buildings built or renovated in the 1980's.

To encourage application of this ordnance in Cambridge and to encourage its spread to other cities, here are some relevant excerpts from Article 6 of the zoning ordnances of the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts as enacted in October of 1987.

-Doug Mink, Bicycle Coalition of Massachusetts, January 1995

6.11 Intent. It is the intent of this Article 6.000 to reduce traffic congestion and thereby promote the safety and welfare of the republic, by establishing requirements for off-street parking and loading in conjunction with the use of land. The number of parking and loading spaces required herein varies according to type, location, and intensity of development in the different zoning districts, and to proximity of public transit facilities. This Article 6.000 requires development of adequate parking facilities to meet the reasonable needs of all building and land users without establishing regulations which unnecessarily encourage automobile usage. The parking standards contained herein are intended to encourage public transit, bicycle usage, and walking in lieu of automobiles where a choice of travel mode exists. It is also the purpose of this Article to allow flexibility in providing required parking through shared or off-site arrangements in order to accommodate the automobile in the urban environment in a less disruptive way. Development regulations and design standards have been established to reduce hazard to pedestrians on public sidewalks, to ensure the usefulness of parking and loading facilities, and where appropriate, to avoid potential adverse impacts on adjacent land uses and to enhance the visual quality of the city.


6.21 Use. All accessory parking facilities provided in accordance with this Article shall be maintained exclusively for the parking of motor vehicles or bicycles so long as the use exists which the facilities were designed to serve...

6.223 Accessory bicycle parking spaces required under the provisions of this Article 6.000 must be located in the same lot as the use being served or a contiguous lot in the same ownership.


6.31 Required Amount of Parking. Off-street parking facilities shall be provided for each use of a lot or structure in the amount specified in the schedule of parking requirements contained in subsection 6.36. Said schedule specifies the amount of accessory off-street parking required for each type of land use listed in Table of Use Regulations in this ordnance. The amount of required parking is also based on the intensity of development permitted in the district in which the use is located.


6.37 Bicycle Parking. Off-street parking of bicycles shall be provided as follows:

6.371 For multi-family residences there shall be one bicycle space or locker for each two dwelling units or portion thereof.

6.372 For all other uses, except those exempted in subsection 7.374, there shall be one bicycle parking space for each ten automobile parking spaces or fraction thereof required in subsection 6.36.

6.373 Uses allowed to have reduced parking by special permit under subsection 6.35 shall nevertheless be required to provide bicycle spaces in the amount of one for each ten automobile spaces or fraction thereof that would otherwise be required for such use in subsection 6.36.

6.374 No accessory bicycle parking shall be required to serve the following uses as listed in the Section 6.36. Schedule of Parking and Loading Requirements: [Townhouse or elderly oriented housing, cemeteries, mortuaries, veterinary establishments, kennels, pet shops, distribution centers, auto body or paint shops, and automotive repair garages.]


6.443 Off-street parking facilities shall be marked so as to indicate clearly the space to be occupied by each vehicle, in accordance with subsection 6.42 and including directional arrows and traffic signs as necessary for traffic control. Such markings shall be maintained so as to be plainly visible.


6.46 Lighting. Off-street parking facilities which are used at night shall be provided with adequate lighting...


6.49 Design of Bicycle Parking Spaces. Bicycle parking spaces shall be provided in accordance with the amounts required by Section 6.37 and with the design regulations in this section 6.49.

6.491 Each bicycle parking space shall be sufficient to accommodate a bicycle at least six (6) feet in length and two feet wide, and shall be provided with some form of stable frame permanently anchored to a foundation to which a bicycle frame and both wheels may be conveniently secured using a chain and padlock, locker, or other storage facilities which are convenient for storage and are reasonably secure from theft and vandalism. The separation of the bicycle parking spaces and the amount of corridor space shall be adequate for convenient access to every space when the parking facility is full.

6.492 When automobile parking spaces are provided in a structure, all required bicycle spaces shall be located inside that structure or shall be located in other areas protected from the weather. Bicycle parking spaces in parking structures shall be clearly marked as such and shall be separated from auto parking by some form of barrier to minimize the possibility of a parked bicycle being hit by a car.

6.493 Bicycle parking spaces shall be located near the entrance of use being served and within view of pedestrian traffic if possible, and shall be sufficiently secure to reasonably reduce the likelihood of bicycle theft.

6.494 Changes in the requirements of this section, consistent with the intent of this article may be approved by the Board of Zoning Appeal for an individual building by special permit.

6.51 Any application for a building permit for construction of a new building or for an alteration of an existing building increasing the gross floor area or intensity of use (as specified in subsection 6.21b), or for a certificate of occupancy where no building permit is required, shall be accompanied by one or more plans--drawn to scale and fully dimensioned--showing any parking and/or loading facilities to be provided.

6.52 Every such plan for a proposed new, altered, or expanded use which provides five or more parking spaces shall indicate thereon the location and provision for:

(1) parking spaces and access routes (6.34 and 6.40)
(2) curbing and wheel stops (6.442)
(3) pavement markings (6.443)
(4) surfacing (6.45)
(5) screening and landscaping (6.47 and 6.48)
(6) lighting (6.46)
(7) drainage (6.45)
(8) bicycle parking (6.49)
(9) loading areas (6.60)
(10) other pertinent data reasonably required by the Superintendent of Buildings or his designee.

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