Munich pedestrianized its main street for the 1972 Olympics, starting a trend in Europe. And, like cities all over Europe, more and more of the center is becoming traffic-free. The major advantage of this has to be that it creates a nexus for people watching and forces locals to consider the importance of public spaces. As a traveler, these pedestrian zones make an ideal starting point, a place to adjust to a city before exploring its corners.
Here is a fine example of people and planning triumphing over cars.