SAN FRANCISCO — Come into the sunshine, suggest the rainbow colors adorning the tunnel that separates foggy San Francisco from sun-blessed Marin County. That could be an appropriate epithet for Robin Williams, and some folks want this tunnel renamed after the late comedian.
Petitioners are collecting signatures at Change.org to rename the Waldo Tunnel, which funnels commuters heading from the Golden Gate Bridge north into suburban Marin County, to The Robin Williams Tunnel.
The petition, started by Marin County resident Julie Wainwright, is directed at California Assembly Member Marc Levine. It has received 10,600 signatures, according to the online petition site.
"Robin was a one-of-a-kind type of person, and I want him to be honored in an unconventional, everlasting and beautiful way," wrote Wainwright.
Levine responded to the petition saying:
I am very interested in this issue and will be exploring it further. Something like this should be done in consultation with Mr. Williams' family. We all want make sure this is the most proper way to honor him.
Williams committed suicide in his Marin County home on August 11 at the age of 63 after battling severe depression and experiencing the early stages of Parkinson's. His death shocked fans, friends and casual acquaintances, who remembered him for his comedic brilliance as well as lesser-known acts of charity in the San Francisco area and nationally.
Williams got his first big break nationally playing lovable alien Mork in the TV show "Mork & Mindy." Mork's signature accessory was a pair of rainbow suspenders. That association, and the memories of the times Williams made them laugh, was driving support for the petition.
"The rainbows are perfect reminders of Robin. If the tunnels are rededicated, I'd like to see the inside really brightened up, with lots of colors, not trippy or anything, just uplifting," wrote Dean Crandell of Medford, Ore., on the online comment form.
Another petitioner, C. Fleet of San Francisco, wrote: "I commute through the tunnel every day and even if you don't rename it, from now on, it will be the Robin Williams Tunnel for me."
There weren't a lot of people sticking up for the man whose name is currently associated with the tunnel — William Waldo, an unsuccessful Whig candidate for governor of California in 1853, whose name is associated with other area geographic features, such as Waldo Point.
Here's a picture of cars going south, away from Marin, into San Francisco.