It makes sense to have certain areas set aside exclusively for pedestrians, but far too often, cities do not put enough thought and planning into these areas. in New York city, large pedestrian centers have been placed on the city's longest and busiest thoroughfare, Broadway, at key intersections at 42nd and 34th Streets. The result is that there is more congestion on the adjacent avenues that has been further bottlenecked by the installation of bike lanes and trucks that are now forced to double park in order to make deliveries. Four lae avenues are suddenly down to two lanes or less and the congestion and idling traffic negate any environmental fuel conservation benefits for which the pedestrian malls are intended.
In large cities, pedestrians should rule. People should use public transportation rather than relying on cars that take up a lot of space in the city. It would be better for tourists and other travelers to be able to see the biggest sites without having to worry about getting hit by a vehicle.
There are a lot of good reasons why urban areas should do all they can to make it better for pedestrians. Less vehicle traffic means less accidents, less pollution, and people might actually get out and walk for a change and get some exercise. Other than delivery trucks, people should be able to walk freely around cities.
I believe that more city centres should follow the example of Paris and restrict vehicles. This would dramatically reduce congestion and pollution. I do feel, however, that for this plan to work the city must have an affordable and reliable public transport network to replace these vehicles, which many do not have currently.