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City of Boston Regulations

City of Boston Regulations

Boston Commercial Trash Regulations

NOTE: per Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 111, Section 31A:
"No rules or regulations shall restrict the hours of the day when garbage, offal, or other offensive substances may be collected in areas zoned for business, commercial or industrial use."

No rubbish will be placed out for collections on a public street, sidewalk or alley between 7 am and 6 pm.

  • Rubbish may be picked up during these hours but it must be transported directly from your premises where it is stored.
  • Rubbish must be stored in durable containers, dumpsters or tightly secured plastic bags.
  • Dumpsters must be placed on private property; have lids which are closed at all times; and be picked up regularly to avoid a health hazard.
  • Rubbish shall not be placed out in cartons or paper bags.
  • Receptacles must be returned to their normal place of storage as soon as possible. When pickup occurs between the hours of 7 am and 6 pm receptacles must be returned to their place of storage immediately.
  • Storage containers, dumpsters and storage areas must be thoroughly cleaned following removal of garbage and rubbish.
  • The business owner is responsible for cleaning up the loose trash from the sidewalk following collection.

These regulations will be strictly enforced and violators fined.

To report trash violations, please call Boston's Code Enforcement division at 617-635-4885.

ISD Site Cleanliness Application

Maintaining Dumpsters 

Maintaining a commercial dumpster without a permit from Public Works carries a fine of $10 and $2 per dumpster. Click here for the city ordinance on commercial dumpsters.

Maintaining a residential dumpster without a permit can result in a fine of $50 not to exceed $1000. All residential dwellings with six or more units must obtain a Site Cleanliness Permit from Inspectional Services Department.  Click here for a Site Cleanliness Permit. Click here for the city ordinance on residential dumpsters. 

Snow Removal Regulations

All City of Boston snow removal regulations can be found here. You can also report an unshoveled sidewalk or a business plowing into the street/sidewalk from that link.

Click here to see a citywide map of parking restrictions during snow emergencies. Vehicles may be ticketed and towed if parked on a posted snow emergency artery during a declared snow emergency.

When you shovel, make sure to:

  • Clear sidewalks within three hours of snowfall ending or three hours after sunrise if it snows overnight.

  • Remove ice to bare pavement or make as level as possible.

  • Clear at least a 42-inch wide path for wheelchairs and strollers.

Don't shovel or plow snow into the street: Violators caught shoveling snow from private property into the street will be fined. Each day that a violation exists is considered a separate and distinct violation.


Planter on Temple Street






The Boston Transportation Department (BTD) regulates the Downtown Crossing Pedestrian Zone. For additional information about BTD policies and procedures, please visit here or contact 617-635-4500.

  1. Commercial vehicles with proper identification and commercial plates are allowed to load/unload anytime on the following streets:

    • Hawley Street
    • Summer Street, between Hawley Street and Otis Street (provided the posted regulations are adhered to)
    • Bromfield Street, between Province Street and Tremont Street (access via Province Street ONLY)

  2. Vehicles with commercial plates* are allowed on the following streets between 6 p.m. and 11 a.m. ONLY:

    • Winter Street
    • Washington Street between Temple Place and Milk Street
    • Bromfield Street between Washington Street and Province Street
    • Franklin Street between Washington Street and Hawley Street

  3. As provided in the Boston Transportation Department Rules and Regulations, vehicles with commercial plates* may park in designated loading zones while actively loading or unloading, for a period of thirty (30) minutes.

  4. Vehicles without commercial plates* seeking access to the restricted streets to make deliveries must get a Downtown Crossing Access Permit. This permit gives vehicles the same privileges as if they had commercial plates, which are listed in 1 - 3 above. It does not exempt any vehicles from the 11 a.m. restriction:

    • Applications must indicate why it is not possible to get commercial plates
    • Permits will be issued by the Boston Transportation Department, Room 721, City Hall
    • Permits will be restricted to two per merchant

  5. Vehicles with commercial plates* will be exempted from the 11a.m. to 6 p.m. restriction ONLY if they have a Downtown Crossing Permit. The permit will be issued in the following situations ONLY:

    • Access is needed for an emergency repair which cannot be scheduled before 11 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
    • Access is needed for one day special event

    These permits are not a substitute for a street occupancy permit.

  6. The streets closed at 11 a.m. will be open to the following vehicles after 2 p.m. for deliveries:

    • Brinks
    • Wells Fargo
    • U.S. Mail
    • The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, and The Boston Phoenix

    The following utilities will be allowed in anytime to respond to an emergency:

    • Keyspan
    • NStar
    • Verizon
    • Boston Water and Sewer Commission
  7. The Boston Public Works Department is allowed in anytime

  8. The following special services will be allowed into the restricted area to make drop-offs and pick-ups:

    • The Ride
    • Senior Shuttle

  9. Vehicles with HP and V plates may enter solely to pick up and drop off. They can park ONLY in spaces designated for HP and V plate parking. These spaces are on Temple Place and Franklin Street, or outside the restricted area.

* Any vehicle registered for commercial purposes, bearing commercial vehicle number plates, including trailer or semi-trailer, and designed and used primarily for the transportation or delivery of goods, wares, merchandise, or equipment, or designed and used for the delivery of utility services or for field services related to maintenance/repair of buildings.

The vehicle must display permanently painted or sealed/adhered and plainly marked on both sides of the vehicle's body, exclusive of the windows, and on at least three separate lines, the name of the business entity owning or utilizing the vehicle, the full business address, and the telephone number. The name of the business entity must be displayed in letters or numbers a minimum of three (3) inches in height, and the full business address and telephone number must be displayed in letters or numbers a minimum of two (2) inches in height. The business entity may substitute its e-mail address or its Web address for the full business address provided that at least three separate lines are used to display the required information. All lettering and numbers shall have a stroke width of at least three-eighths (3/8) of an inch and shall be in a color clearly contrasting with the background color of the vehicles body and shall be placed on the upper portion of the door panels or the body panels of the vehicle.

City of Boston Noise Regulations

The City of Boston has a noise ordinance that prohibits “unreasonable or excessive noise” in the city. The City Ordinance makes it unlawful to disturb the peace by allowing noise to become excessive. The source of the noise can come from such things as amplification or instruments.

Per the ordinance, any noise louder than 70 decibels is considered too much noise at any time, except for permitted construction. In addition, the ordinance prohibits amplified sound without a permit.

The full text of the Noise Ordinance can be found in the City of Boston Municipal Code, Chapter XVI – 16-26. For more information on the rules on noise in Boston please go to Boston.Gov and search for “noise.”:

You can also download a helpful guide.