RIC: Richmond’s Newest Game of Chance

By Karen

Did you know there’s legalized gambling right at Richmond International Airport? Here’s how you play:

Drive with the flow of traffic and get a speeding ticket, or obey posted speeds and risk getting rear-ended.

It’s a lose-lose proposition where the “house” always wins, but some gamblers enjoy that.

At Henrico County traffic court yesterday, the dedicated police officer who cited me recently for speeding (41 mph) at RIC had collected a room full of miscreants. He laid us all out before the judge like a fisherman displaying his prized catch of the day – worth $66 a head in court costs alone.

The charges weren’t always read, but I heard “Airport Drive” mentioned enough to realize that many of us had been caught in the same trap.

The judge was pretty good about reducing charges, but he didn’t seem interested in hearing any defense, so everyone was just pleading guilty and hoping for the best.

I’ve driven to the airport twice since the ticket. If you haven’t been there lately, be warned that the incoming speed limit on Airport Drive drops abruptly from 45 to 25. That’s when the game starts, and you have to play. The grounds continue to be a messy, unpredictable work in progress, so you can’t tell where the “dealer” in an unmarked car might be lurking.

If you obey the rules, you’ll frustrate other drivers who don’t realize you’re just trying not to lose. They’ll tailgate or pass you – probably while spouting words you’d rather not hear.

Approaching the terminal building, the speed limit drops to 15. At that point, you might be tempted to pull over, get out, and crawl the rest of the way because you’ll get there faster – but don’t. They’ll probably ticket you for that, too.

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6 Responses to RIC: Richmond’s Newest Game of Chance

  1. Jennifer Webbe says:

    So there’s clearly a problem with speeding on that road, but you cry when you get caught.

  2. catsworking says:

    The speed limit that day was 45 directly on the other side of the median where I was stopped.

    41mph is hardly “flying” on a clear, 2-lane road at mid-day with NO CONSTRUCTION WORK GOING ON.

    Yes, I do speak out when speed limits are set arbitrarily for the sole purpose of nailing unwary drivers, and I wish more people would. This set-up looks rotten for the airport and negates its efforts to seem cosmopolitan. The person I was taking to meet his flight left here thinking I live in Mayberry.

    And so many of those people in court yesterday looked like innocent sheep going to slaughter. Good drivers with clean records who happened to be on the wrong road at the wrong time when someone needed to write a bunch of easy tickets. I left that place feeling justice is a myth.

  3. mike smith says:

    Karen – I have an idea … let off on the ACCELERATOR until the SPEEDOMETER reads no more than 5 mph over the POSTED speed limit! Do not worry about what you see in your rear view mirror; stay off of your cell phone; do not talk with your hands while driving; and try not to kill any road workers. BTW, it is a four lane divided roadway and the speed limit is the same on both sides – take another look at the official signs. Why would a judge reduce the charges for someone who is guilty of BREAKING THE LAW!

  4. catsworking says:

    Mike, thanks for all the swell driving tips. If I’ve been doing ANY of the things you mentioned, I doubt I could have gone 35 YEARS without getting a ticket for ANY reason – until now.

    For the record, I did plead guilty. Charge was “exceeding the posted speed limit.” Was I? Yes. Never denied that.

    My point is that the posted speed limit on that road is inappropriate when there’s no construction going on, so everybody is speeding.

    BTW, the road signs are different now from when I was stopped. Some of the speed limits have been changed as the construction moves around. That day in July, it was 25 going in, 45 going out. So not only do visitors have to deal with all the confusing signs pointing in every direction trying to figure out where to go, but we have to watch for and obey capricious speed limits in case somebody needs to write a few tickets.

    And I used to think complying with the ever-shifting TSA rules was a hassle…

  5. This game of chance is played through the US. The rules, stakes and odds vary widely depending on where you are. Driving slower usually helps, but it’s no guarantee.

  6. catsworking says:

    You’re absolutely right. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…

    I do heed speed limits every day, but from now on I’ll be particularly careful to crawl through the airport.

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