Can you please provide expenditure estimates that would be associated with a partial restoration of the GRIP (Gridlock Reduction Intervention Program) program at intersections that may benefit from this targeted staffing during problem hours? Please explore use of existing resources from the Police, Sheriff and other applicable departments.
The cost to fully restore the Gridlock Reduction Intervention Program (GRIP) as previously implemented is approximately $418,000 annually, and the cost to partially restore the program would be approximately $60,000 per intersection annually; however, staff does not recommend restoring GRIP.
GRIP was established in FY 2001 to reduce rush hour traffic involving ten separate intersections. The GRIP program had a positive, but limited, effect on traffic flow, but it was eventually deactivated in FY 2010 due to a myriad of issues; many of which still exist today. These issues include:
- Cost concerns – Alexandria Police Department (APD) believes that the GRIP program is too costly to restore. In the past, GRIP consisted of seven posts being filled for 3.5 hours per day. These posts were filled by both Police Officers and Parking Enforcement Officer IIIs in the past. Overtime was calculated by averaging the Police Officer I rate and the Police Officer IV rate, resulting in a projected overtime rate of $61 per hour. At $61 per hour, the cost to fill seven posts each weekday for a year would be $418,296.
Worker morale – Parking Enforcement Officer IIIs (PEOs) were tasked with working on the GRIP detail alongside Police Officers and, as the years went on, these PEOs resigned or took voluntary demotions to avoid working on the GRIP program. They expressed that working on the GRIP detail was “unpleasant, hazardous duty”. They also expressed that due to their lack of full enforcement powers, they were routinely ignored by drivers, and that it was unfair that police officers on the GRIP detail were paid at their overtime rate while PEOs were not.
- Staffing concerns – APD has recently increased the number of officers required for their Patrol schedule and has expressed that they would be unable to meet the needs regarding Patrol while also filling the GRIP detail.
The Sheriff’s Office was also contacted regarding potentially providing staff to assist with the program. However, the Sheriff’s Office states that they do not have any existing resources to address the issue of gridlock.