By the 1980's Erie's maritime economy had essentially disappeared. The docks had fallen into disuse, commercial fishing was in decline and the grain elevator was crumbling. Unused railroad tracks, which had once fed the insatiable appetites of ships, stretched along the Bayfront. As a final indignity, the entire area had become essentially a dump, with discarded appliances, tires and refuse lining the bluffs, visionary planners proposed the parkway that now carries traffic along the front, arguing that Erie's waterfront had the potential to be the most beautiful part of town. The parkway provided the opportunity for Erie's citizens to once again have access to and promote their rich maritime heritage and spark the development of the entire waterfront district.