SF Civil Grand Jury Rips Central Subway, Calls for a Redesign

Image: SFMTA

The grand jury issued a damning report on the planned Central Subway this morning, calling on the SFMTA to redesign the project “to better serve the San Francisco population,” and hire an independent auditor to determine whether the $1.5 billion price tag is realistic, given the pattern of increasing estimates, and the fact that city will have to pick up any cost overruns.

The San Francisco Civil Grand Jury’s 38 findings and 26 recommendations follow a seven-month investigation and repeat many of the criticisms that have been leveled against the project by opponents. Among the main conclusions:

  • The addition of a new subway line will add to an existing operating deficit and could stretch the existing maintenance environment to the breaking point.
  • There are no plans to address existing problems on the Stockton corridor before project completion.
  • There is no effective transfer to the Muni Metro and BART systems.
  • It ignores service to the Financial District.
  • It ignores current transportation trends.

You can read a full copy of the report here [pdf]. It also includes a number of not-so-surprising findings about the current state of Muni. What effect that grand jury’s report might have on the project wasn’t immediately clear.

The SFMTA issued a formal response this afternoon:

We appreciate the Civil Grand Jury’s interest in the Central Subway project. The report, while comprehensive, does not say anything new about the challenges we face with regards to serving nearly 700,000 riders each weekday, providing more than 1,200 trips through the subway each day, finding ways to maintain and improve the work we do, and balancing a budget in increasingly tough economic times.
The facts about this project remain:

  • The SFMTA’s Third Street Light Rail transit project, which includes the Central Subway, is the most significant capital investment in generations.  The 1.7 mile light rail will provide rail service to the Financial District and Chinatown, the most densely developed areas of San Francisco;
  • This project will relieve surface congestion along Stockton Street corridor. One of the busiest in the city;
  • It will increase customers’ quality of life through travel time savings and increased mobility; travel time from Chinatown to Caltrain will be reduced from 20 minutes on current trolley buses to 8 minutes;
  • Reduce air and noise pollution;
  • The Central Subway will provide transportation to Hunters Point that is in development of 10,000 housing units, two million square feet of commercial space and over 300 acres of public park;
  • This phase of the project will provide improved transit access to the increasing number of technology companies in the SoMa neighborhood, including Twitter, Ubisoft and Adobe;
  • This project consistently receives positive reviews as part of the FTA’s New Starts program, including $72 million in New Starts federal funding to date; and
  • This project has the potential to create approximately 30,000 jobs.
  • More coverage from the San Francisco Chronicle.

    • mikesonn

      I look forward to how the SFMTA and John Funghi will spin this.

      Side note, the CS was $1.4B back in ’09 and $1.3B in ’08.

    • Anonymous

      You mean there’s better ways to spend $1.5 billion than a really short subway segment? You don’t say!

    • Anonymous

      Re: the Central Subway. I have to say, I’m a huge fan of SF getting a subway system
      that is something more than a single line down Market St and Mission
      St, but this is pretty lame. I mean, if we’re going to do this, let’s do it right. It for sure needs to connect to MUNI and Bart, so it’s utterly silly it does not. That alone is reason for a redesign. Further, for this much money, it should run much longer so that it actually serves more than tourists … Hell, if it’s going to serve tourists, why can’t we just run it through North Beach and down to Fisherman’s Wharf at least?!  All this money for a half dozen stops, really? What we really need is something that connects out to the western neighborhoods (especially the Richmond).

    • I really tried to resist commenting on SFMTA’s reply but I just can’t let those things slide by:

      * The SFMTA’s Third Street Light Rail
      transit project, which includes the Central Subway, is the most
      significant capital investment in generations.  The 1.7 mile light rail
      will provide rail service to the Financial District and Chinatown, the
      most densely developed areas of San Francisco;

      ==> Yes, that is precisely the problem. It is the biggest investment, about $1.6 billion and climbing. Yet it is an incredibly waste of transit dollars. It shouldn’t just be the biggest. It should also be the best investment. BRT on Geary and Van Ness plus other projects to service Chinatown would be far better investments.
      * This project will relieve surface congestion along Stockton Street corridor. One of the busiest in the city;==> Yes, it will reduce congestion, but mostly for cars. Above ground Muni service will of course be cut if the Central Subway is completed. Should instead be looking at reducing congestion where Muni is critical including Van Ness, Mission, Geary, and Market Streets.* It will increase customers’ quality of
      life through travel time savings and increased mobility; travel time
      from Chinatown to Caltrain will be reduced from 20 minutes on current
      trolley buses to 8 minutes;==> Most travel time will not be decreased due to the poor locations of the stations, the stations having bad connections, and the stations being so far underground. When you look at typical trips, such as BART to Chinatown or BART to North Beach then there is no improvement in travel times.* Reduce air and noise pollution;==> Putting transit underground doesn’t help. But making real improvements to other routes would by increasing transit use.* The Central Subway will provide
      transportation to Hunters Point that is in development of 10,000 housing
      units, two million square feet of commercial space and over 300 acres
      of public park;==> No, access to HP is via the already existing T-line, another waste of money that is actually less convenient then old 15-Third St bus. The Central Subway doesn’t go anywhere near HP.* This phase of the project will provide
      improved transit access to the increasing number of technology companies
      in the SoMa neighborhood, including Twitter, Ubisoft and Adobe;==> Umm, Twitter is moving to 10th St, 6 big blocks away! Adobe is on 8th. And for Ubisoft it would still be quicker to walk if you are going to BART or Caltrain.* This project consistently receives
      positive reviews as part of the FTA’s New Starts program, including $72
      million in New Starts federal funding to date; ==> Yes, the New Starts program is broken and is funding some really poor projects. That doesn’t make the Central Subway OK.* and This project has the potential to create approximately 30,000 jobs.==> $1.6B would create a lot of jobs no matter how you spend it. So spend it on worthwhile projects instead!

    • Daniel Krausa

      Sorry but the project does connect to the Market Street subway. Save Muni activists are claiming it doesn’t because there is some walking to do, which is very common with subway connections all over the world. Their rhetoric is totally dishonest and I am tired of it. I have walked even farther distances in both the Paris and London subways at various connection points. Works just fine. Futher, the Central Subway will be extended to North Beach and beyond in the future. People, please stop thinking in a short-term vacuum.

    • Anonymous

      But that’s just the problem, it doesn’t make sense in the long run either. We keep ending up with tons of money to build infrastructure, but there’s no money left to run it (look at CalTrain as an example of this.) 

      The Central Subway adds to Muni’s operating cost without getting much in return.

    • Jon Bate

      I don’t know about Paris, but when you have to walk underground to change lines in London at least you don’t have to exit through the faregates and then re-enter them at the other station. That’s a major flaw in the station design.

    • mikesonn

      Short reply: are you willing to have reduced bus service to NB, Russian Hill, Wharf, Marina and Cow Hollow For the next 30+ years?

      And please tell me which people currently using the Stockton corridor will be switching to the CS from the bus if their connection is Powell Station? Also, take into account the northern station is Washinton St. That is practically the tunnel. Who is going to walk to Washington, down several flights of stairs to wait for LRV, ride 6 blocks, walk up 4-6 flights, walk several hundred feet and then pass through another set of fare gates? Someone will do it once and then go back to the bus.

      The problem is not the connection to Market St.

    • justin

      ok, so I just read the entire thing… I’m new to the “Civil Grand Jury” process but it seems like this was written by angst-ridden teenagers. Also, seems like a big waste of time to request an all-out redesign considering one of the jury’s base premises is that “the project will proceed.” Furthermore, the jury makes conclusions not substantiated in it’s own report (specifically related to transit best practices with reference to fare collection and maintenance). There is good criticism of the project within the report (escalator redundancy) while other issues are glaringly missed (number of entrances to each station). Still, no practical recommendations were actually offered, again and especially given the base premise. I question how this report will advance transit service in SF.

      Let me couch the aforementioned criticisms: I like non-transit geeks reviewing and critiquing transit plans; I just don’t believe this jury did a great job, perhaps a “b-” for undergrad work.

    • Mario Tanev

      Walking far in Paris and London takes you to a train that will get you far, too. This is not the case for the Central Subway.  A transit only Stockton would alleviate transit issues today, and will provide most of the benefits of the Central Subway in the long run.

    • Mario Tanev

      Walking far in Paris and London takes you to a train that will get you far, too. This is not the case for the Central Subway.  A transit only Stockton would alleviate transit issues today, and will provide most of the benefits of the Central Subway in the long run.

    • Mario Tanev

      Walking far in Paris and London takes you to a train that will get you far, too. This is not the case for the Central Subway.  A transit only Stockton would alleviate transit issues today, and will provide most of the benefits of the Central Subway in the long run.

    • We need a link to the Grand Jury report. What’s even worse about this project: the city is spending $123 million in Prop. K money on the Central Subway even as it puts a bond on the November ballot just to pave our streets! A bond for operational expenses!
      http://district5diary.blogspot.com/2011/07/central-subway-how-much-will-it-cost.html

    • Here’s a link to the report, thanks to ABC7 news:
      http://www.sfsuperiorcourt.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=2882

    • Rob, I provided a PDF link in the story. 

    • Jon Bate

      Agreed, it’s not a professionally written document and there are some criticisms in there which simply don’t make sense. For example, the fact that Muni will run trains on the T-Third which are compatible with the rest of the system is a good thing as it provides maximum operational flexibility, and I don’t understand their opposition to fare gates. Judging the Central Subway against a century old transportation plan is a bit bizarre (what about the TEP?) and there is a transfer to the Muni Metro system at 4th & King, as well as the (admittedly flawed) Union Square station.

      The report praises the existing K/T route but the worst thing about the existing T is the loop around the Embarcadero it does to get downtown. If the T is going to be a useful line, it needs a more direct route to downtown, the real question is whether that should be a subway or a transit-only Stockton. Realistically the Central Subway will not be cancelled (they’ve already awarded the tunneling contract!) and Stockton will not become transit-only, so I would like to see some thought put into improving the design of the subway (particularly the Union Square station), consideration of a shallow subway crossing market at mezzanine level rather than a deep one, and planning for an extension north sooner rather than later.

    • David Vartanoff

      The connection to Market Street is a disaster.  The subway should run ABOVE  the current Muni tunnel in the mezzanine with the Market St station directly under the street.  The future connections to the vastly more useful Geary line were cut from the design to “save” money.    This design is FUBAR and should be terminated now. 

    • Daniel Krause

      Again, all comments don’t acknowledge the longer term. In fact, the tunnel will go all the way to North Beach and there is an effort to put a station down there sooner than later. Further, all the trips are not just between Chinatown and Union Sq. There are many that will continue south on the 3rd St. Line that will access Caltrain, Mission Bay and SE San Fran. Further I suspect most of the critics have no idea just how miserable and disfunctional the 30 bus line is at rush hours. I ride it all the time. With no alleys for deliveries, resolving the mess that is Stockton St. is not nearly as feasible at the Save Muni arguments indicate. If the densest part of SF doesn’t deserve a subway, then nowhere does. And maybe that is the real issue. Maybe many San Franciscans – especially ones that purport to support high quality public transporation – just don’t believe SF is worthy of any thing high quality rail. Funny all around the world subways are commonplace and are being expanded but in SF people rather fight rail rather than wasteful road projects in the suburbs that leads to more sprawl.   

    • Anonymous

      Daniel – we are DESPERATE for more rail. And there’s money for it! Great! Then why are we wasting it on a screwed up project. Sure, you can make connections at Chatelet in paris, but really it sucks. And you can’t say that “The Central Subway will be extended to North Beach” with certainty and then say in the next breath “This will connect to Caltrain” – given we are supposedly moving the station to Transbay Terminal.

    • mikesonn

      According to federal funding guidelines, planning an extension past the current proposal is not allowed. So no Daniel, there will not be a station in NB “sooner than later”. The tunnel will continue to North Beach (WSP) but they will dig up the machines and cover the hole back up. There are ZERO plans for a station there and it will require another 20+ years of planning to even begin a reasonable funding discussion.

      I am car-free in North Beach, the 30/45 are my lifeline. But also think about the other people who ride the 30/45/8x, can you really see the population of Chinatown going up and down all those flights of stairs (or even riding the elevator)? And if you ride the 30/45 so often, you have to notice that, in fact, most people do disembark at Market?

      But let’s say this gets built, your 30/45 ride will be what then? Or are you going to be on the Central Subway? Where are you riding the bus from right now? North Beach? Columbus/Stockton? Because you know how far Washington St is from North Beach, right? No one in NB is going to walk that distance to get on the subway. So now we have increased operating costs from the CS, which means that redundant service (e.g. 30/45/8x) will all see reduced head-ways to “releave congestion on Stockton St”. So, after the CS is built, you are either A) walking 6+ blocks and then down 4 flights of stairs to wait for infrequent LRV service or B) waiting longer for a bus that will be just as packed as it was before because it comes less often.

    • mikesonn

      The Embarcadero swing of the N & T make could be improved 100 fold if they would just implement the traffic signal prioritization that is already present on all the trains but not being used.

    • mikesonn

      And as a side note, I HATE that map. It is so misleading. Daniel is convinced there will a NB station soon, when that is not the case. I’ve had to talk many people down at North Beach Neighbor meetings who were convinced that NB would be getting a station and didn’t understand why people would oppose the CS. Their tune quickly changed when they learned the truth that the nearest station is Washington St and Washington Square Park will only be getting the mess and debris of boring machine removal and a large hole that will serve no purpose.

    • It’s just a bad capital investment given Muni’s chronic budget deficits and long-term capital requirements. Insult to economic injury: City Hall is going to ask us to pass a bond to pave our streets, which means city taxpayers are going to have to pay interest to do something that should come out of the city’s normal revenue stream.

      The arguments for the Central Subway are bad, a lot like the arguments for high-speed rail. Buses are a much better investment than trains in SF.

    • Jon Bate

      The biggest problem with the Embarcadero swing is the manual traffic direction and 5mph speed limits during ball games. I’m not sure how that could be improved by traffic signal prioritization.

      Seriously- if you’re taking the N or T from downtown to Caltrain, and there’s a ball game on, get out and walk at 2nd & King!!!

    • Bob

      @1846a4b0f446f75c16dc4cd43a1e20a0:disqus Thank you! I am also sick of the bogus claim about the connections to the rest of Muni Metro. They exist; they could be better. But telling people they’re not there is just a lie. I also agree that a North Beach station, with good bus connections, should be a priority. 
      @mikesonn:disqus  There’s one thing you’re missing. The frequency reductions in 30 and 45 service will be negligible. It’s just that instead of trying to maintain rail-level passenger capacities with buses, the bus lines will only be trying to maintain high-frequency bus levels of capacity. The reliability of those lines will go up tremendously as they are relieved of overcrowding. @murphstahoe:disqus Not enough tracks will go all the way to the Transbay Terminal, so most Caltrain trips will still terminate at 4th & King. Caltrain riders going to/from SoMa and the neighborhoods north or south will be more likely to use 4th & King, while riders going to/from the Financial District and places east or west will be more likely to use the existing station.I think that, at root, most critics do not understand that a line that improves the transit NETWORK is inherently different from an expansion line. The subway works with the existing lines, adding capacity and redistributing passengers more efficiently. The project accomplishes these goals; that’s how it gets high marks from the Feds. It has its flaws, but we’re so busy discussing silly criticisms that we can’t get to the constructive ones.

    • mikesonn

      Bob,  I think we disagree on the fundamentals of the problem, the traffic (private autos) is the reason for a slow and crowded Stockton St. And I find it very hard to believe that the service reductions to the 30/45 will be negligible.

      And again, you can’t discuss a North Beach station because it WILL NOT happen. That isn’t on the table and won’t be for at least 20 years post construction. Talk about “silly”.

    • Anonymous

      I am also sick of the bogus claim about the connections to the rest of Muni Metro.

      Yeah, a bunch of whiners. Just like those people in Noe Valley who want the 35 to go to Glen Park BART. It DOES go to Glen Park BART! Or well, at least it goes as close to GP BART at Union Sq is to Powell Street!

    • JudyAlias

      Side note to Mike: many people do get off the 30/45 at Market. That’s because they’re transferring to the BART and Market Street Subway lines. Once the Union Square station is complete, those transfers (from the T to Powell Street station) will happen below grade.

    • mikesonn

      Judy, exactly. And unless the MTA completely cuts the 30/45, which option do you think people will take if they have a choice? The bus that drops them 30 ft from the entrance or the “subway” that drops them 1000 ft? And this says nothing about where people are getting on the bus or CS.

    • Daniel Krause

      The Central Subway eventually have a station in North Beach. And it doesn’t have to be 20 years if we work to make it happen. Some folks, including myself are already working on this. BTW, just so we are clear, we can’t get to North Beach without first going through Chinatown. The current CS project is stepping stone to a larger network of rail that will go northward. Also, Muni has talked about a station there and have already explored locations away from the park (either just to the north or the block along Columbus to the south). Saying that is not supported in NB is more misrepresentation. Yes a few people and organizations will not support it. That is NOT the general sentiment. I have found NB folks to be very open to change and one reason I live in the area part time.

    • JamesF

      I wonder if BART or the Market St. underground streetcar system was being mooted now, whether there’d be the same criticisms made? and yet both those systems are wildly successful compared to SF’s creaking buses and the near-bankrupt CalTrain. I sometimes think people in SF actually don’t want fast, efficient rail systems. Once CS is built, peopple will love and use it, and all this criticism will due.

    • justin

      Clearly I’ve got some time on my hands… Here’s some interesting info for those of you with an interest/complaint about this project:

      2.4.1 PHASE 2 CENTRAL SUBWAY CONCEPTUAL DESIGN
      At the time the 1998 EIS/EIR alternative was conceived, a shallow excavation method was thought to be the most cost-effective construction approach for crossing Market Street, as there was sufficient room above the BART/Muni Metro Subway at Third and Market Streets to accommodate a shallow crossing. A shallow crossing at Fourth and Market Streets was not considered because of conflicts with the Powell Street Station structure. Because of a concern about the impact of surface construction and the circuitous alignment required for a shallow alignment, the Central Subway design team subsequently  recommended consideration of a deep (rather than a shallow) tunnel crossing of Market Street at Third Street that would go below the existing Muni Metro and BART tunnels using Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs).

      Basically, the parameters of this project were determined when “four key decisions were discussed at a series of about 120 meetings between October 1996 and July
      1997.” I wasn’t here at the time and didn’t attend. Did anyone posting here get involved back then?

      Here’s the link to Chapter 2 Alternatives
      http://www.sfmta.com/cms/mcentral/documents/non-accessible/FSEIS-SEIR Chapter 2 Alternatives.pdf

    • mikesonn

      Daniel, I wonder who you are talking to because I did not say it wasn’t supported. I said the current plan wasn’t supported on fact, that is totally different.

      Hard to have a conversation with someone who isn’t reading what is written. I’d actually like to meet you and talk sometime because we are losing a lot in translation and I think we both want the same thing (great transit to NB and SF in general) and just have a slightly different view on how to get there.

    • mikesonn

      And JamesF (obviously now JohnB), don’t talk about Caltrain being bankrupt in comparison to BART – once again, for the thousandth time, the funding structures are completely different.

    • Zig

      Does it work just fine for mickeymouse 3 stop subway tunnels?

    • Zig

      This is an important subway for bringing elderly Chinese to their biomedical research jobs

    • Nesad

      The SFMTA’s response to the Grand Jury report repeats its vague PR-satsurated mantra of the last three years.  It says the following: 

      1.)  The CS is “most significant transportation capital investment in generations” (largest maybe, but certainly not the most significant)
      2.)  The CS will serve Chinatown” (if so, why are only 10% of today’s Stockton Street bus riders destined to use the Chinatown subway station?
      3.)  “travel time from Chinatown to Caltrain will be reduced from 20 minutes on current trolley buses to 8 minutes” (sure….if you don’t count the extra waiting and walking time required to use the subway)
      4.)  “reduces air and noise pollution” (unless other steps are taken the situation will get worse, not better)

      and so on….

      The fact is the Grand Jury has ’em dead to rights.  The Central Subway project is fatally flawed and inherantly weak.

    • Bob

      The 35 bus stops about 1600 feet horizontally and 150 vertically over streets and stairs from the Glen Park BART station. The subway connection looks to me to be about 500 horizontal feet and with vertical connections via escalator, all indoors. Furthermore, half that distance is in the existing Powell station… which you’d have to walk if you used the bus anyway. And if you were coming to or from a northbound bus, you’d have to walk even farther, because northbound buses stop a full further block away at 3rd Street.

      It could be a better connection but it’s still an improvement for northbound travelers, and it’s least flat and underground for all southbound travelers.

      As for the bus reductions, the schedule shows 30s coming about every 4 minutes and 45s coming at every 8 minutes during peak times, for a combined frequency of a bus about every 2-1/2 minutes. You don’t schedule buses that often for frequency purposes, but for capacity purposes. With the subway line, enough people should switch that it will relieve the overcrowding, but there will still be plenty of people riding those lines. They’ll still need frequent service. Say they cut the buses to a 5 minute headway, but they’re less crowded and more reliable. Does that really sound so horrible?

      In reality, people will still take the 30/45 from Chinatown to Powell. They’ll choose the subway if they’re going to SoMa, Caltrain, or Mission Bay. Everyone has more choices, and everyone is free to choose whichever path works best for them.

    • mikesonn

      Bob, wish you could of been on Stockton on Saturday afternoon with me and told me the reason the buses were running slowly because of capacity.

    • Anonymous

      Bob – right now I can take the MUNI from the Castro, go upstairs and get on a 30/45 to Caltrain. By the time I walk the opposite direction to Union Square, I might have just as well walked all the way to 4th and King. This will not improve commutes for people coming from upstream on MUNI. In practice I already switch to the 47 at Van Ness, and the CS will not be a better choice. FAIL.

    • JamesF

      Murph, Even on your route, you will be able to interchange from K/L/M to the CS without ever going overground, avoiding the rain and cold, not to mention also avoiding the homeless folks who always harass me if I stand on Market.

      Look, this baby is getting built and at some point you need to stop kvetching and accept it as something that normally I feel sure you’re an advocate of – investing in public transit.

    • John Murphy

      James – I’ve experienced first hand how poorly the BART extension to SF was done. Why make the same mistake? Or do you consider having to switch from Caltrain to BART to another BART to an AirTrain to be acceptable? If we are putting 1.5 Billion into a project, we should do it right.

      We penciled out the Bay Bridge redo at some ridiculous number, and Oakland complained that they didn’t get a signature span, so we added some number of billions of dollars to the project to “do it right”. Why should this project be held to a lower standard?

      As not only an advocate of investing in public transit, but as someone who uses it widely and can pretty much quote you every transit system in the Bay Area down to the individual lines, I can say that the result of this design is going to be very annoying to the average user and that will result in underwhelming adoption.

    • John Murphy

      And as an aside, if they build this they should get rid of the Brannan station and move the current station at 4th and King to the West of Townsend. If the majority of riders using the line at that area are supposedly going to Caltrain, this would save them 2-3 minutes on their journey given the lights at Townsend and King. When that’s the difference between making or not making the Caltrain, the difference is huge.

      As someone who has sat just North of 4th Street on the N/T as we wait interminably for the light to change and get us to the stations on the opposite side of/in the middle of 4th…

      Riders from the South are closer to 22nd Street station to begin with and won’t be the 4th/King target market.

    • mikesonn

      @6b6e45c9c106ca42629ae14f6ae7ac83:disqus “They’ll choose the subway if they’re going to SoMa, Caltrain, or Mission Bay.”

      Who will? Who from southern Chinatown will be going to SoMa, Caltrain or Mission Bay?

      Also, @c5025cd2fcd80e8fcd4641a55d4da036:disqus pointing out the major flaws in a project before it is built (from the mouths of those of us who ride these lines and travel these corridors every day) is exactly what the MTA needs to hear. It is not [complaining] in the slightest.

    • mikesonn

      That’s a great idea! The 4th/King intersection is beyond comprehension. And once the T goes north, there is zero reason it should be stopping on the south side of King.

    • The Grand Jury points out not only that the Central Subway is poorly designed but that we can’t afford it, since MTA is already seriously short on investment capital. City Hall is spending at least $123 million on this boondoggle even as it asks city voters in Novmember to approve $248 million in bonds just to pave and take care of our streets! When city voters approved Prop. K in 2003, “Maintenance of local streets” was the first use listed for the money in the voters pamphlet. The subway is nothing but a political deal disguised as a transportation project.  

    • Neroden

      The civil Grand Jury said approximately what *every public transportation advocate has been saying*.  This is a bad project, and the money for it should be going to a Geary Subway.

      Unfortantely this project appears to ahve some sort of political steamroller behind it, like the Big Dig or the Columbia River Crossing in Portland or Seattle’s Deep Bore Tunnel.  Unlike California High Speed Rail or LA Metro.  Who, when their project designs start to look overpriced and underproductive, *redesign them*.

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