Boston Moving Permits Step by Step
If you’re moving in Boston, you’ll need to pick up some Boston Moving Permits. How badly you’ll need these permits, of course, depends on the neighborhood. You might be fine moving in West Roxbury, Roslindale, or Hyde Park without moving permits. But on the congested streets of the South End, Back Bay, Charlestown, Jamaica Plain, or the North End (or pretty much any other Boston neighborhood), you’ll find that a city-approved parking spot is essential for any move.
Moving Permits Save Time
It doesn’t matter if you’re loading your own truck or hiring movers – you’re going to want to make sure that whoever is carrying your precious belongings has a short walk to the back of the truck. An extra ten feet to get around your neighbor’s car may not sound like much. But multiply that ten feet by the number of boxes and pieces of furniture you have. That’s a whole lot of unnecessary labor time, wasted energy, and an increased chance of an injury or a damaged item.
So you definitely want your moving truck parked as close as possible to the door through which you’ll be carrying most of your stuff. And luckily, the city of Boston has a process to reserve a parking spot for moving day.
So here they are, just as the title promised, the 5 easy steps to follow get Boston Moving Permits:
Getting Permits at Boston City Hall
If your move day is more than a month away or within the next two weeks, you’ll need to make a trip to City Hall. You can also apply online if you meet certain criteria, which we’ll explain below.
Before you go all the way downtown, however, you’ll need a few things.
What You’ll need to get Permits from City Hall
-Meter Numbers: If you live in an area with on-street parking meters, you’ll need to find the numbers of the meters you’ll be blocking off. Remember that you’ll be blocking off two parking spaces, or forty feet of space. You can find the meter numbers on the head of the meter (where you put the coins in). The meter numbers consist of two letters and three numbers (for example: AB 123, or XY 789). If you live in a residential area (i.e., where there are no meters), don’t worry about this.
-Money: The City now accepts cash, personal checks, and credit and debit cards for in-person payments for Boston Moving Permits. For one spot for a single moving truck, you should expect to spend about $69 total for the permits.
-Time: You cannot wait until the last minute to get your moving permits. To reserve a spot for a truck in a residential area, you have to obtain your permits AT LEAST 3 DAYS prior to your move. For example, if you’re moving on a Sunday, you have to get the permits by the previous Thursday. If you live in a metered area, you need to obtain your permits AT LEAST 2 DAYS prior to your move. It’s also important to bring your patience — sometimes the process will only take ten minutes out of your day, while other times it could take more than a few hours.
-Exceptions: Think the rules don’t apply to you? Well, if you live in on a state-owned road, they may not.
State Roads Require State Moving Permits
If you live on parts of Boylston St., Charlesgate East and West, Park Drive, Fenway, and Riverway, and all of Jamaicaway, your road is under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Department of Recreation & Conservation, and not the City of Boston. Boston Moving Permits will not apply to your address. So you’ll need to apply directly to the DCR for your moving permit.
Picking Up the Permits
There are two ways to get Boston moving permits. The easiest way, of course, is to apply online and have the permits mailed directly to you. However, you can only apply online if you meet ALL of the following criteria:
- You’re only looking for a single-day (7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.) moving permit, for the standard size of two parking spaces or forty feet. (If you’re moving later in the day, that’s fine — but you’ll need to go to City Hall in person to request Boston Moving Permits valid from 12:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.)
- You’re planning your move for AT LEAST two weeks after the date you apply, and NO MORE than a month after the date you apply. In other words, you can apply online if your move is between fourteen and twenty-eight days away.
- You (or someone else) will be able to post the signs AT LEAST two days (48 hours) before your move. So if your move is at 9:00 A.M. on the 17th, the signs should be up before 9:00 A.M. on the 15th.
- You’re going to post the signs in a valid spot. Bus stops, handicapped spaces, and other “no parking” zones aren’t valid. Boston Moving Permits are invalid in those spots.
Everything checks out? Good. You can go ahead and apply for Boston Moving Permits on the city’s website. If not, you’re going to have make a trip to City Hall. It’s located at One City Hall Square, and its operating hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
Move Down to the Second Floor
When you get to City Hall, just like everyone else, you’ll need to walk through the metal detectors and put your keys, wallet, and phone on the conveyor belt. Luckily, this safety precaution only takes a minute. You should never see any TSA-like lines on your way into City Hall.
Once inside, you’ll see a coffee stand to your right. If you need a little boost, go ahead and buy a cup — the coffee is honestly much better than you’d expect from a municipal building. Walk past the coffee shop and head down the escalator to the mezzanine. Take another escalator down to the second floor. There, you’ll find a maze of windows — city assessor, elderly commission, birth certificates, and more.
The moving windows are on the opposite end of where the escalator drops off, so you’ll want to take a left and find windows 2-6. Any of them with a light on (like a grocery store check-out) will be open for business. If there are more people than windows available, just get in line and approach the appropriate window when called.
The signs are $4.00 each, and then there is a $61.00 base fee for the 40-foot area needed to reserve for the truck. This total of $69.00 is all most box trucks require – the 40-foot area, and two signs to post in the area. If you are reserving a spot in front of meters, you will have to pay an additional $20.00 per meter head within the 40-foot spot. (If your move is on a Sunday, the meter fees will be waived. For evening moves, when the meters may be off, just ask.)
You’ll also get a helpful flyer to distribute on cars and to your neighbors in advance of the move, so they are aware of the parking situation.
How to Post Moving Permits
You need to post Boston Moving Permits and “No Parking” signs AT LEAST 48 HOURS (at least 24 hours in a metered area) in advance of the move, within the 40-foot reserved area. You can post them on utility poles, parking meters, trees, or even fences. If you think your two signs are not visible enough, you can make additional “no parking” signs out of cardboard. As long as your homemade signs have the date of the permit, you can post them within the reserved area for extra coverage. (And definitely make sure to use plenty of tape to securely post your signs and permits. It’s important that neither rain, wind, nor neighbors can interfere with your paid-for right to park on moving day.)
Remember the flyer you got from the PWD? You’ll need to make copies of it, and leave it on the windshields of the cars parked in your moving spot. You’ll need to post it on the doors of the buildings on either side of the street. The city wants you to post these flyers, once a day, for at least the two days preceding your move. You can post them anywhere and on any car within a 20-foot radius of your moving spot.
We recommend posting them more often and in a larger area. Remember – it is important that everyone in the neighborhood knows that that parking spot is yours and yours alone.It’s always best to have your neighbors avoid parking there on that date. You don’t want to call a tow truck and have their car removed. Just because you’re moving out is no reason to make enemies. (And definitely not if you’re moving in — first impressions are important!)
This is why we recommend posting your permits and flyers well in advance of the 48 hour cut-off — especially if you live in a residential area, where people often leave their cars in the same spot for days at a time.
What to do on Moving Day
If you’ve hired movers, you’ll need to check your reserved parking area a couple of hours before their scheduled arrival. If a vehicle is parked in the area, you can call the Boston Police Department’s non-emergency line at 617-343-4911. Make sure to say, “this is not an emergency,” when they pick up. Calmly explain the situation (that there’s a car parked in the space you paid for), and give them the offending car’s license plate number. The police will run the registration and try to contact the owner. This way, the owner can hopefully remove the car instead of getting towed. If the owner is unreachable, they’ll call the towing company.
Getting the police to come and finally decide to call a tow truck can take two hours or more (remember, you did say that it was not an emergency.) And if you have movers waiting, you’re still going to need to pay for their time. So plan to be up early on moving day.
How to Clean up Moving Permits
Once you or your movers have fully loaded (or unloaded) your truck, you’ll need to clean up. You’ll need to take down all the signs and the tape used to post them. You should also pick up all the flyers you posted. You must report any damage to city property to the Public Works Department. If you moved any traffic signs, cones, or any other city property, you’ll need to put it back where it was. And that’s it. That’s how Boston Moving Permits work.
Pay for Movers to Post the Permits
Does this process sound like too much of hassle? Some Boston moving companies will take care of all aspects of permit acquisition.
Not satisfied with this information?
For questions about traffic approval, scheduling, parking meters, or signage, contact the Boston Transportation Department at 617-635-4675.
For questions about fees and moving permits, contact Boston Public Works Department at 617-635-4909 or 617-635-4910.
Apply Online for Boston Moving Permits here.
Or fill out a Quote Request for Safe Responsible Movers here.