DuPage will have 2 new traffic courts when in-person business reopens Feb. 1
When DuPage County traffic courts reopen for in-person business Feb. 1, two of them will be in new locations.
The county is going ahead with its plan to permanently close the Downers Grove traffic court, held in an American Legion post at 4000 Saratoga Ave., and move its cases 12 miles north to the main courthouse at 505 N. County Farm Road in Wheaton. Court officials were planning to close the Downers Grove court by the end of 2021 anyway. It was shut down Nov. 23 when court officials closed all traffic courts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, the traffic court that used to be conducted at the Addison village hall will be moved to the Glendale Heights village complex at 300 Civic Centre Plaza.
The Downers Grove court handled cases from Downers Grove, Hinsdale, Westmont, Darien, Clarendon Hills, Burr Ridge, Oakbrook Terrace, Lemont, Woodridge, Willowbrook, Bolingbrook and Illinois State Police districts 3, 5 and 15.
A traffic court had operated in Downers Grove for more than 30 years. Mayors and police chiefs from the towns it served have protested the move to Wheaton, saying it will be inconvenient for residents, and take more time for police officers to go to court on cases, costing the towns more money.
"We are extremely grateful to the American Legion for hosting our traffic court in their facility in Downers Grove for many years. However, both fiscal and security needs required us to find a new location," Chief Judge Kenneth Popejoy said in a news release.
The county had considered moving the Downers Grove traffic court to a new police station Woodridge is building. But county board members didn't like a proposed deal that would have required the county to help pay to build the courtroom and sign a 20-year lease.
The Addison court closed in June when village officials told the county they did not want large crowds in its building due to concerns about spreading COVID-19 to village employees. The county has had a court in Addison for at least 25 years.
Cases from Addison, Bensenville, Elmhurst, Glendale Heights, Illinois State Police District 2, Itasca, Oak Brook, Villa Park and Wood Dale will be assigned to the Glendale Heights court.
The traffic courts technically are "field courts." They mostly handle traffic matters, but also hear other types of cases, such as ordinance violations.