Should We Rename Marin's Rainbow Tunnel After Robin Williams?

Scott Lucas | August 19, 2014 | Lifestyle Story City Life

Should we rename the Waldo Tunnel—the rainbow-bedazzled gateway from the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin—after Robin Williams? Why not? That's what a petition on is calling for—and it has already garnered almost 6,000 signatures.

Changing the name of the tunnel has a certain amount of logic behind it. Williams graduated from high school in Larkspur, and was a Bay Area icon living in Tiburon when he died. If the outpouring of grief since his suicide last week is any indication, there are few local celebrities who inspired more acclaim that he did. Besides, it's mostly just boring politicians who have things named after them. Wouldn't it be better for everyone if we had fewer Willie Brown Bridges and more after the man who gave us Birdcage?

As the petition puts it, a name change would be "to remember and honor the very important citizen and world renowned entertainer, Robin Williams, for the joy he brought to the world and to bring awareness to the silent illness that eventually took his life." You have to admit that the rainbow colors on the tunnel's arch would suit Williams.

A renaming would require approval by the state Legislature. The Assemblymember who represents Marin, Marc Levine, said he'd be open to the idea, but wants to check with the Williams family first, telling the Marin Independent Journal, "It's a wonderful idea, but the Williams family needs time to grieve and heal. It would appear an appropriate way to honor a man that so many people feel connected to both in San Francisco and Marin. But I would like to hear from the family first."

It's not as if renaming the tunnel would be an act of historical ingratitude. The tunnel is currently named after William Waldo, a 49er who lost the race for Governor in 1853 as the candidate of the Whig Party, after which he left the state, eventually dying in Texas. So, yeah, it's either honoring that guy or Mrs. Doubtfire. We think you know what to do.

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