Caltrans workers erected signs marking the name change of the tunnel connecting the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin from its unofficial moniker of the Waldo Tunnel – it’s located on the Waldo Grade, named after 1850s-era Whig Party candidate and gubernatorial candidates William Waldo – to the Robin Williams tunnel. It was a fitting selection, linking its other unofficial name as the Rainbow Tunnel given the rainbow stripes at its entryways with Williams’ hugely popular 1980s TV show character Mork, who often donned rainbow suspenders.
The honor came as a result of a petition drive by Belvedere resident Julie Wainwright, an effort that successfully convinced State Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) to draft legislation to honor Williams with the tunnel name. “Robin Williams was a friend to the North Bay community of the San Francisco Bay area,” the bill stated. “He would often drop in unannounced at comedy nights at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley. There he would encourage young, budding comedians. He did so with kindness and humility and many comedians aspired to perform with the same level of wit and insight as Robin Williams.”
Whether it was Williams’ surprise performances at Mark Pitta & Friends Tuesday Comedy Night, his improv sets with the likes of Rick Overton at Comedy in the Plaza or his appearances at local events like the opening night of the Mill Valley Film Festival, seemingly everyone in town had a favorite Robin Williams memory. Dozens contributed to a beautiful memorial to Williams outside the Throckmorton after his passing.