Bay Area tunnel to be renamed after late actor Robin Williams

A Bay Area tunnel, known for the brightly colored rainbow painted over its arched entrance, will now be called the Robin Williams Tunnel.

Commonly known as the Waldo Tunnel or the Rainbow Tunnel, the passageway led travelers from Marin County to the Golden Gate Bridge.

The late actor, who lived in Tiburon, Calif., likely traveled through the tunnel when he visited San Francisco.

On Wednesday, the California Senate approved the new name, eternally designating Williams as an iconic figure in the Bay Area.

“Robin Williams was a friend to the North Bay community of the San Francisco Bay area,” the legislative bill said. “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.”

Signs carrying the tunnel’s new name will likely appear over the tunnel by early fall, said Steve Williams, a California Department of Transportation spokesman. Private donations will pay for signs, which will cost about $3,000.

Williams committed suicide Aug. 11, 2014, in his home in unincorporated Tiburon.

The Bay Area had long been home to Williams, who moved to Tiburon with his family at 16. He attended Redwood High School and college in the area. He never strayed far from the area, even after his acting career skyrocketed and he won an Academy Award.

A push to name the tunnel after Williams started when Belvedere resident Julie Wainwright created an online petition, which earned more than 61,000 supporters.

Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) introduced legislation for the tunnel's renaming.

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