If there is an enigma wrapped in an enigma in Richmond for me, it has to be Staples Mill Road.
Just some background for my readers who do not live in Richmond, there is one road in town that draws a significant amount of traffic. One would think that this Staples Mill Road takes you to a main downtown interchange or into the heart of the financial or business district. From what I know of Staples Mill Road, it does not really lead to anything.
Being a resident of the north side, I've traveled up and down Staples Mill Road, endlessly trying to figure out why on earth so many cars venture to this road as a destination. During rush hours, this road is impassable and the curiosity has been killing me.
So what is on Staples Mill Road that's unique to anywhere else in Richmond? Here's what I found:
Train Station - The Richmond Amtrak station is on Staples Mill Road. From what I gather, we actually have two train stations, one downtown and on on Staples Mill Road. I think the downtown station is more for appearances than actual practical use though. Still, the traffic that floods this road is not even remotely going to the train station. Most travel from this train station is done very early in the morning, there's no accounting to the afternoon swarm on this road.
Comcast - At least I think that's Comcast. I can't tell because if I look off the road at any point at this section of Staples Mill Road, I'll be run off the road by a mentally unstable or massively distracted driver.
Target - There is a Target and a shopping center on the far west end of the road, but that has to be one of the quietest shopping centers in the entire region. I love going there because it's a nice quiet store. People don't even make it that far down the road.
Captain D's - Still, a mostly quiet place. I ventured there a couple times and dealt with no crowds. I did deal with the guilt of eating a ton of fried foods though.
Dunkin Donuts - See above...guilt. But it's still not drawing any kind of massive crowd.
Martins - I have hit up this grocery store during peak times and it pales in comparison to the crowds at their other stores. There's no real reason for a mass exodus to that store anyway, the store is fast becoming outdated to oblivion.
This mystery remains unsolved. I deal with Staples Mill Road every morning on my way to work. If I'm taking the interstate, I have to wait for this wave of traffic coming off 195 to zig-zag across 4 lanes of traffic to get to those exits. Those drivers for the most part suddenly become idiotic and temporarily lose any driving ability and become oblivious to other drivers, just darting blindly across traffic hoping no one hits them. All 95 south bound traffic wants to do is ride the circle around the interchange, but we're quickly stopped by this throng of people who must get on Staples Mill Road and now!
If I take Hilliard Road in, I have to wait for at least two light changes at the Staples Mill intersection just to get through. The light has to change fast to accommodate the flood of cars travelling down this mysterious road. Out of my 15 minute morning commute going 'the slow way', 8 minutes of that trip revolves around how fast I can get through that intersection.
I think I just need to follow the crowds one day to see where this unwashed mass of humanity goes on this road that has no destinations. At one time I feared what I would find, but at this point, I'm still just too baffled and bewildered as to where on earth these people are going. Someone's got to know something.