There has been a recent debate going on about what to do about Downtown Crossing. Should we keep it pedestrian or revert to letting traffic pass through.
Why not have both?
As my wife and I were riding around Europe last year, noting how many European cities seem to have modeled themselves after Boston (joke), we were impressed with how walkable many of the cities were, and how they clearly made a commitment to people and not cars. However, car and truck transportation are still important for businesses for many different reasons.
Some of the cities, Edinburgh and Athens immediately come to mind, have streets that are pedestrian sometimes of the day and allow vehicles other times of the day. It seems to me that this may be a very viable solution for Downtown Crossing.
Allow cars and especially delivery trucks into the area until say 11:00 a.m. so that delivery trucks can get products to stores and people can get dropped off and picked up for work. From 11:00 a.m. until maybe 7 pm or perhaps nightfall, let the area revert to pedestrian only. The lunch time and after work crowd will be free to enjoy the shopping experience when there are naturally tons of people around due to downtown business. At night, allow traffic again so that there is more street action, and would allow people such as out of towner who might drive in and not take the T, or locals who take a cab, access to local bars, restaurants, theaters.
Edinburgh in particular was impressive in that they had electronically activated bollards that would raise and lower depending on the time of day, so that vehicles were physically restricted into these areas.
Maybe the answer to our problem is having the best of both worlds?