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What is a clearway?

October 10, 2022 by

Wondering what a clearway is, what an urban clearway is or what a red route is? We have the answers

Some traffic signs are simple and straightforward to understand: a round sign with ’30’ clearly indicates the speed limit is 30mph, while it’s fairly self explanatory that a sign saying ‘Doncaster 10’ means it is 10 miles to Doncaster.

Not all road signs are so self evident, though, and one that is hard to determine the meaning of is the sign for a clearway. In fact, it goes deeper than that, as even if you do know that a blue, round sign with a red border and a red ‘X’ across is means ‘clearway’, you may not know what a clearway actually is.

What is a clearway?

In short, a clearway is a section or road where you are not allowed to stop your vehicle for any reason, unless in an emergency. The beginning of a clearway will be marked with the sign described and pictured above, while the end of a clearway will be indicated by the same sign, with the addition of the word ‘end’. Busy roads that would potentially be obstructed were people to park on them tend to be designated as clearways.

What is an urban clearway?

The urban clearway is the lesser known sibling of the clearway: whereas standard clearways operate on a permanent basis, urban clearways bar people from parking on them during peak hours – typically between 7 and 9:30am, and between 4 and 6 pm. You are allowed to stop on an urban clearway during its hours of operation – but only to drop off or pick up passengers – parking is not permitted during the peak times displayed on the sign.

What is a red route?

Red routes are essentially stricter urban clearways. They tend to be located on major urban roads in cities including London and Leeds, and are indicated by single or double red lines on the road. Double red lines mean the red route operates 24/7, while single red lines indicate there are certain hours where stopping is not permitted; those hours will be indicated on a sign, and you are allowed to stop on a single-red-line red route outside of those hours. Only taxis or people with disabilities who have Blue Badge parking permits can stop on red routes during their hours of operation.

Red routes tend to be rigorously enforced, attracting a £160 fine in London (reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days.)

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