By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – If you have a court date this morning  you should plan on getting there early because today is the first day of so-called community or ‘zone’ courts. Many hearings previously held in the police districts and divisions have been moved to the Criminal Justice Center.

Authorities say the change will make the courts more efficient. They will move cases from specific communities, or police divisions, to certain floors at the CJC  but it will add traffic to an already very busy building.

A large concern is traffic flow but steps have been taken to address it. District Attorney Seth Williams:

“We’re going to have staggered starts for all the hearings. Some people are very concerned about the flux and the greater amount of people who will be in this building.  So to address that, preliminary hearings will begin at 8 a.m. Municipal court trials will begin at 10 a.m. Common Pleas court will begin at 9 a.m.”

Elevators have been reprogrammed to move passengers more efficiently. Authorities also say they are working on the ongoing problem of loitering and smoking in the stairwells which discourages others from using the steps.

Reported by: Tony Hanson, KYW Newsradio

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