This is a long-standing issue, which Nando and I have discussed more than once. I even did try to not have it: I turned off the double-click-to-show-table-columns and double-click showed the properties page. I really did try to work like that for a week. But I returned to the current behavior (i.e. with column info). Having another window pop-up when I just want to see what is the datatype of some column is too much. Especially if I want to view many columns in different tables: soon I get clutter of 5+ windows that I have to close.
Also, when I work with keyboard, I can navigate the tree with cursor (arrow) keys and letters (quick jump). With properties page, there is currently no mean to scroll the page down, without clicking on it first. I guess it can be fixed, but right now it is PITA to have to lift hand from keyboard to use the mouse.
I have roughly calculated that 40-50% of my time in FlameRobin I spend doing exactly that: looking for “what is the name of some column” or “what is the datatype of some parameter”, so I really need this feature. I see that others might not, so I think it should be a configuration option.