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Posted on Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Portion of Longshore Park being turned into temporary overflow parking lot for Argo Cascades

By Ryan J. Stanton


The Argo Canoe Livery in Ann Arbor was hopping on Thursday morning, a common sight ever since the city built the Argo Cascades, a series of drops through a channel that allows kayakers, canoeists, rafters and tubers to bypass Argo Dam.

Ryan J. Stanton |

With the Argo Cascades on the Huron River still gaining in popularity, Ann Arbor park officials are taking steps to create more parking spaces for visitors.

On recent weekends, both the parking lot next to the Argo Canoe Livery and an overflow lot the city leases up the road have been at or near capacity, while cars have lined the streets.


This area of Longshore Park, separated from the playground area by series of chain-linked wooden posts installed this week, is where the city plans to allow 42 spaces of overflow parking for the Argo Canoe Livery.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Now the city parks department is creating another temporary spillover lot on a grassy portion of Longshore Park, directly across from the rented lot along Longshore Drive.

Crews were out this week driving 20 wooden posts into the ground to divide the new parking area from the playground area. Those posts are now linked by chains.

The lot isn't yet in use, but it could be this weekend, said Colin Smith, the city's parks and recreation manager.

The new parking area will provide about 42 additional parking spaces for park users on weekends and holidays during canoe livery operating hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

That's in addition to the roughly 60 spaces at the Argo Canoe Livery and boat launch area and roughly 40 rented spaces up the road.

No concrete is being poured — the new parking area will remain grass, Smith said, and city park officials will be closely monitoring the ground conditions to minimize damage.

"This will be used for the remainder of this season and possibly next season on weekends and holidays only to help with the overflow parking that we need," Smith said, adding parks staff will begin exploring longer-term parking solutions this winter.


The scene at the Argo Canoe Livery on Thursday morning.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Elizabeth Moss, who lives in a condo near Longshore Park, said she was alarmed to see nearly half the park being fenced off for parking this week.

"I live right up the hill and use that park every day — it's a beautiful park in the fall," she said, worrying that a permanent parking lot there would a short-sighted solution.

After she and her neighbors received a notice in the mail on Wednesday saying it would be only a temporary measure, she said said it's not as bad as she originally feared.

The letter that went out to neighbors noted the livery saw about a 50 percent increase in visits in July 2013 compared to July 2012.

"Consequently, as you've no doubt experienced, parking demand at the livery and on the roads near it is over capacity," the letter stated, adding the new parking lot should help with congestion in the park and illegal parking along Longshore Drive, while keeping the majority of the park open.

The portion of Longshore Park that will be used does not have any programmed recreational activities and is lightly used, the letter noted.


Another look at the new wooden posts installed at Longshore Park.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Parks staff is expected to facilitate parking in the park, handle trash pickup and evaluate conditions for upkeep and maintenance. It will be used only after other spaces are full, Smith said.

Smith said staff will be making sure cars don't park too close to trees to prevent compaction of existing tree root zones.

At the conclusion of the livery season, city staff will fill in any depressions or ruts with top soil, and aerate and seed the entire parking area and any egress points.

The rules for the parking area prohibit overnight parking, consumption of alcohol in the park, parking RVs or buses, and parking on days when there is a high likelihood of rain or when prior storms have rendered the turf conditions unsuitable for parking.


The plan for expanded parking near the Argo Canoe Livery.

City of Ann Arbor

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

More unintended and unanticipated consequences of our planning process. Thanks, City Hall. That hillside might seem like just so much grass to a parking planner, but I can share with you photos of our children sitting in the middle of that clover field, I am sure we were not the only ones who enjoyed that open space, picnicing on the hillside and that playground buffer to the street and parking lots below. A pox on anyone on city council who voted to allow transit uses on parkland. Does anyone really think that this area will ever be returned to a non-transit use?

Widow Wadman

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 2:53 a.m.

Longshore Park and Argo Park are regular haunts for me. I'm sorry to hear that so much of Argo Park is going to become a parking lot. I do agree however that weekend traffic on Longshore Drive has increased since the addition of Argo Cascades. I don't worry about what happens to the cars parked along the street but many times I've wondered if someone is going to get hit walking in the road on the way to the park. The sidewalk doesn't go all the way down to the park and lots of people seem to prefer to walk down the street than use the path through the woods. I won't be surprised at all if someday a car comes whipping around the curve in Longshore in front of Argo Park and someone gets hit. The Argo Park staff has always been pleasant but I must say that the canoe transporters were driving very fast a couple of weekends back. I was shocked..... Change is tough. I have liked having Argo Park and Longhore Park nearby so that I could go there to relax and enjoy being amongst the trees and water. I really don't like to go to Argo anymore on the weekends because it is a congested zoo. Weekdays are much nicer times to visit.

Widow Wadman

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 2:56 a.m.

That was a typo. I meant to say I'm sorry to hear that so much of Longshore Park is going to become a parking lot. I think it would be fantastic if the Con Ed property could be used for parking somehow.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 1:34 a.m.

After all the sewage that spilled in the river today, I hope they don't need to use all that parking. If they do, people are genuinely stupid.

Stephen Landes

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 12:52 a.m.

Temporary parking? Like the U of M making temporary use of part of Fuller Park for, Oh, about 20 years? What kind of long term solution is being investigated. Unless the kayak "fad" diminishes I don't see the parking problem getting any better.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 1:36 a.m.

They are going to open another livery with a lot of additional parking on the michcon site opposite the cascades. This will help a lot to spread out the population that's on the river.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 10:49 p.m.

Have they conducted any surveys, informal or otherwise, to see how many of the cars are single occupant? Sometimes people meet up with their cars at a destination, when they could car pool. As KJM suggested above, parking meters would encourage car pooling and reduce the amount of local traffic. "Paving paradise to put up a parking lot" seems like a last resort, and it reinforces a bad stereotype that parkland can be turned into parking lots. Yes, I know there is no paving involved - in this case. Yet.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 10:21 p.m.

We were there last June for River Day and it was a nightmare to park. If you did not park in the correct area where the signs were you were being towed. WCSD was out in force. What surprised me is that they did not use the overflow parking by the old DTE where people park to board Amtrak. Glad to hear they are going to do something about parking.

George Gaston

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 4:15 a.m.

The parking lot lot accessed off Broadway belongs to Amtrak, not DTE.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 8:53 p.m.

What's the story on these medium-sized dark furry animals you see swimming around there? Not beavers, but that kind of thing. Are they good eating? Does anyone know? The carcass would be about the size of a ham.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 7:28 p.m.

River Rats.

Widow Wadman

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 3:09 a.m.

Not sure what you've seen, Quetzal, but skunks, woodchucks. and moles are in teh neighborhood.

Homeland Conspiracy

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 1:13 a.m.

mmmmmmmmmmmmm ham


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 11:52 p.m.

Muskrat perhaps?


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 10:22 p.m.

What on earth are you talking about? Unless this is a snipe hunt, I am not going anywhere near the water if I do see one of those things.

Ryan J. Stanton

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 8:32 p.m.

FYI - I just added a map to the bottom of the story. Check it out.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 8:30 p.m.

Better idea - put up parking meters. And then put parking meters on all the adjacent streets too. Don't forget that the people in the area are having to put up with increasing traffic from people enjoying the Cascades. It's great that we can create a regional draw like that, but most of the visitors aren't paying anything for the upkeep of the parks.

Ann English

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 11:28 p.m.

With the road construction on Barton Drive, I use Longshore Drive as a detour, and this sounds like a good way to keep the road open to two-way traffic. Visitors to the Cascades were parking along Longshore Drive two weeks ago, so just one car could pass the parked cars at a time.

Clinton Resident

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 7:30 p.m.

I hope they come up with a solution because the cascades are becoming very popular. Adult Children have been out their with friends at least 3 times this summer.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 7:08 p.m.

Another option would be to reverse the van transport, and have folks park at Gallup and van up-stream to Argo to take the trip, and then get into their vehicles. We tried to do that once, and were turned away (logistics).

Ryan Bowles

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 10:32 a.m.

I agree, except that Gallup Park is also completely full on nice summer weekends and there is little parking near the livery.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 1:33 a.m.

Barton trips need to be run out of Gallup, and it would be impossible to run both Argo and Barton trips out of one livery.

Eduard Copely

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 9:45 p.m.

This seems logical. Gallup is the proverbial hub so to speak!