The Traffic Guy hears …

… that construction season on streets and roads is winding down as revetment is ramping up at the lakefront. Bags of sand and blocks of rock at the lakefill and along some beaches, officials hope, may hold back the waves of the rising lake.

… that, with so many schools offering remote learning, there should be no traffic jams around public schools – and no idling school buses.

… that other signs of fall are in the air. Sigrid Pilgrim sent this lovely photo of a monarch butterfly on a purple liatris; Les Jacobson sent the photo of a controlled fire at Canal Shores; and here are two photos of Ladd Arboretum fauna – a heron fishing in the early morning and a coyote that blends so well with the trees it almost looks like a shadow.

… that opera singer Bob Dewese returned to Evanston last month for an inspiring, uplifting free front-lawn concert on Marcy Avenue.

… that Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey reports that temperatures in September and October have risen for decades in the Midwest warns that , early fall freeze events have occurred despite the increasing temperatures. “The most recent Climate Prediction Center outlook for August through October calls for increased odds of above normal temperatures with equal chances of above normal, normal, or below normal rainfall. …  

In the past 40 years, the earliest fall freeze dates have ranged from late September in northwestern and central Illinois to early October in southern and eastern Illinois. Median first fall freeze dates range from mid- to late October in northwestern and central Illinois to early November in southern and northeastern Illinois.

“Statewide average temperatures in September to November have increased at a rate of 0.08 degrees per decade between 1895 and 2019. However, fall warming has accelerated in recent decades. Over the past 30 years, the statewide average rate of fall temperature changes is 0.6 degrees per decade,” a press release from the water survey said. In the same 30-year period, November temperatures have decreased slightly but September temperatures in Illinois have increased at a rate of 1.5 degrees per decade. The hotter weather increases evaporation, making soils drier.

… that, even though they could be drier, Illinois soils are at normal temperature now, according to information from Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey.

 

From our readers: TG, How can we get rid of those annoying flashing white signs at Green Bay and Emerson?  Whose idea was that?  ‘Stop for pedestrians … Wwe already know that.  It’s an intersection.  With crosswalks.  And why are the lights white instead of yellow or red?  And why do they only flash when the stoplights are red anyway?  The signs aren’t readable at night, and barely readable in the daytime.  To be more useful they should say “Phones Down, Eyes Up.”  --  Matt Siegel

From TG: Rajeev Dahal, Senior Project Manager in the Capital Planning &Engineering Bureau, responded to your questions: “Safe pedestrian crossing across Green Bay at Emerson had been a major concern over the years. The LED signs were installed to alert drivers to be aware of the situation due to sight line concerns, as some may make the right turns from Emerson onto Green Bay even when the red right arrow signal is on.  The LEDs can be white, yellow, red or orange depending on the type of sign it is embedded in. When used, white LEDs are required by national standards for these 'stop-for-pedestrians' regulatory signs that are installed at this intersection.”

 The Traffic Guy thinks …

… don’t be fooled by the “Mars will be as big as the moon tonight” hoax – a tale that’s been orbiting Internet sites since about 2003. Dr. Debra Byrd writes in EarthSky.org, “Will Mars and the moon will appear the same size on August 27, 2020? Will Mars ever appear as big as the moon, seen from Earth? No to both. This hoax has its roots in a real 15-year cycle of Mars, that’s peaking – giving us an excellent year to observe Mars – in 2020. Although it’s not true, you’re likely to see the claim as an email – or on social media – that Mars will appear as large as a full moon in Earth’s sky on a particular date, often August 27 of any given year. Sometimes there’s a suggestion that Mars and Earth’s moon will appear as a double moon.” But no, Mars will not appear outsized tonight, and the moon will be paying attention of Jupiter and Saturn, which will be extremely bright and close together as they head for a great conjunction in December.

… have a great holiday, everyone. Wear a mask and wave as you go by.