Masi Shop access on 305 a work in progress


The in basket: Andrew McMillen said in an e-mail, “When the Masi Shop on Highway 305 in Suquamish added the new buildings, they  got an on/off merge lane in the southwest direction and an additional exit on the opposing side. 

“The speed limit is 55 mph and soon dropping to 50. However, in both directions traffic frequently has to slow to as low as 20 mph for exiting/entering traffic, sometimes abruptly. 

“Cars coming from the shop heading towards Poulsbo cause through traffic on the highway to slow drastically,” he said. “They don’t enter the merge lane and wait, they just merge all the way onto the highway, which is uphill at that point and slows them down.

“What traffic studies were done on the highway modifications, or will be?” he asked.

The out basket: I can’t answer that exact question, but the Suquamish tribe and the state are working to correct the shortcomings on that short stretch of highway.

It’s clear the highway alignment has been a work in progress. Andrew referred me to a Google Maps aerial of that spot, presumable taken last year. It showed two large arrows indicating a merge of traffic that has just turned left out of the shops to go toward Poulsbo and some left turn arrows for turns into the shops. 

Today. the two large arrows have been scrubbed off and the left turn lane is farther toward the center of the shopping complex. One of three egresses Google Maps showed is now closed and another enlarged.

“What they have done so far is not according to our procedures,” Art Sporseen of state highways told me, “but we are on board with them now and have an improved plan for future improvements.” 

Bob Gatz, tribal engineer, says the tentative plans have not gotten final approval, but he expects the revised alignment to provide a deceleration lane for traffic from Poulsbo turning right into the shops. That should eliminate one of Andrew’s concerns. 

That will widen the highway and allow for a longer acceleration lane toward Poulsbo, Bob said. At present there isn’t enough length to let entering cars get up to highway speed before merging, so it will interesting to see if the changes will fix that.

The center egress from the shops will remain closed and the one closest to Agate Passage will remain right-out-only, Bob said. Allowing left turns there would put cars into the left turn pocket, from which they could not proceed toward Poulsbo.

The tribe’s Port Madison Enterprises, which runs the Masi Shop, Clearwater Casino, Kiana Lodge and a number of other things is paying for the work, state and tribal officials said.

Incidentally, when I pronounced Masi like Masai, as in the African tribe, Russell Steele, head of Port Madison Enterprises corrected me and said it’s pronounced “mossy.” He didn’t know its meaning. 

The old store will soon be torn down, he said, but all the existing gas pumps will remain.

4 thoughts on “Masi Shop access on 305 a work in progress

  1. I thought it was illegal to impede(slow down)traffic. Sounds like a good spot to give out tickets and make the state some money.

  2. Actually, tribes cannot change speed limits on state highways. The law allows them to ask the DOT to change the limit, just as cities, towns or individuals can do, but not to unilaterally change it. If the DOT does not agree with the tribes request, the speed limit remains unchanged

    “Any alteration by tribal authorities of maximum limits on a
    18 nonlimited access state highway is not effective until the alteration
    19 has been approved by the secretary of transportation and appropriate
    p. 1 HB 1448.SL
    1 signs giving notice of the alteration have been posted.”

    Travis Baker’s (Road Warrior) March 3 article regarded the Suquamish Tribe’s Hwy 305 traffic plan. There is more to this story than was forthcoming by the Suquamish Tribe.

    Long time commuters may well remember pristine evergreen thickets once adorning this highway corridor that are now mutilated.

    Suquamish Tribe’s corporation Port Madison Enterprises (PME) owns all surrounding Masi Shop lots – except one. Private property owner Corinne Rock, Tribal Elder, steadfastly refused PME’s repeated purchase offers stating it’s been in her family since the 1940’s. Corinne honors family legacy as a sacred trust for herself and her children.

    PME capitalizing on traffic volumes between Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island erected an unauthorized lighted billboard on the Rock property advertising their store. For better sign visibility Russell Steele, PME Corporate CEO, had highway trees logged and thousands of topsoil yards excavated from the Rock property, leaving unsightly barren twisted debris.

    The Rock Family discovered the egregious rape of their land was committed by their tribe’s own company. PME’s deliberate actions showed individual rights are not as valuable as company profit.
    Meeting with the Rock family Steele admitted responsibility for property damage, but requests to PME Corporation for compensation and restoration are blithely set aside by their well paid attorneys. Calls to Suquamish Tribal administrators are not returned or promises of follow-up never materialize.

    The March 3 article asks “What traffic studies were done on the highway modifications, or will be?”. In a letter to Paula Hammond, Director WA State Department of Transportation, the Rock family requested highway development approval be postponed until PME’s trespass issues are resolved. PME’s offer to pay all highway improvement expenses are perceived as manipulation to diminish their private property mutilation in the guise of authorized DOT development.

    Millions of dollars flow into the PME Corporation (Clearwater Casino, etc), but the company blatantly disregards the devastation they inflicted on a family.

    Take a second look as you pass the Masi Shop on Highway 305 and glimpse the heartache felt by a small family because of insatiable tribal corporate greed.

    In the March 3 article Russell Steele knew how to pronounce his store’s name, but didn’t know its meaning. Ironically, Masi means “Thank You”.

    Charlene Renquist (Tribal Elder)
    On behalf of the Corinne Rock Family

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