Atrios had this to say over the weekend:
Had to go to NYC briefly and randomly encountered their “making Park Avenue free of cars” day. I’d guess more cyclists and pedestrians traveled on it than people to do normally in cars (I’d guess a lot more, actually, but don’t know if I am good at estimating such things) and the city didn’t grind to a halt.
You don’t have to close all the streets to cars all the time, but pretty sure you could randomly close 5% of them and improve life immensely. Give it a bit more thought and even better.
By coincidence, I spent the past week in Bogotá, a city that seems to do precisely this. I don’t know if it improves urban life in general, but I can report that it’s hell on tourists trying to leave or return to the city.