March 17, 2009

two tunnels in Marin County


click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Ever stop to think why San Francisco needs a Golden Gate Bridge?
So the residents of Marin County can get to and from "The City"...
And through the Rainbow Tunnel we "Marinites" must pass...

In the photo above you see the northbound lanes, but coming south in the other bore can be highly inspirational with a great view of the Bridge and City (although I suppose the view is a bit less inspirational if you are having to go to work).

Call it the "Waldo Tunnel" if you must, but the first bore of what most everybody now calls the "Rainbow Tunnel" was carved out in 1937 and the second bore (shown here) was added in 1954.   I was just seven years old in 1954, but I vividly remember traffic whizzing in both directions through just one bore.

Everybody seems to think that hippies painted the rainbows in the '60's, but actually the rainbows on the portals of Waldo Tunnel were the brainchild of Alan Hart, head of the San Francisco District of Highways in 1970.   "Unartistic" highway officials in Sacremento were caught off guard and flabbergasted by the boldness of the rainbows, but public reaction was so strongly in favor of the innovative paint job that the rainbows remained.

The rainbows get repainted every five or ten years now, but they never make them bright enough for my tastes and they fade quickly.   Hey, no problem -- I Photoshopped some extra color into them...



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Just a few hundred yards south and about three hundred feet below the Rainbow Tunnels is the old military tunnel that runs from Alexander Avenue out to the Point Bonita area of the Marin Headlands.   This tunnel is about a quarter-mile long, and is dark and drippy in spots.   One-way traffic, of course -- you often have to wait five minutes for the other direction to pass through.

And remember that the speed limit in the tunnel is 25...   Oh, the nice lady copper in the unmarked GGNRA cop car let me go with a warning, but she told me that "41 just wasn't going to cut it"...   Oh, I suppose they also have a rule against stopping in the tunnel to shoot a photo, but let's not go there...


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11 comments:

Deborah Godin said...

That's beautiful and a little hypnotic, too..are there a lot of fender benders there?!

Tomate Farcie said...

"although I suppose the view is a bit less inspirational if you are having to go to work"

Believe it or not, you never tire of the view going to and back from SF, even to go to work. Crossing the bridge used to be one of the things I looked forward to every single day of the week (ahem, to be honest I did prefer the trip on the way back to Marin ;) when I had to commute from Marin to SF. The trip back is better because more often than not, you'd catch a really good sunset... Golden Gate Transit is the best.

Tomate Farcie said...

(I won't comment on stopping in the one-way tunnel for a picture ;)

Red said...

Yah, I'm sure they have rules on that too ;) Hey, it looked empty to me. Rules, schmules.

Rainbow bridge is definitely the right name for it. I always love that when going north, which usually is just once a year.

Sparkle Plenty said...

HI, DONALD!!! I love those rainbows. And, I salute Alan Hart--the "establishment" highway tsar with the heart of a flower child!!!

Your picture of the old military tunnel is way cool. Wonder if you beep to warn oncoming traffic of your passage through the tunnel? Hope you and kitty are havin' a grand week...:-)

Louise said...

You go out of your way to get in trouble, don't you! I'm glad you mentioned the Photoshop. I was thinking, "The rainbow looks quite bright to me!"

AphotoAday said...

HI LOUISE,
Well, I got a good chuckle out of that remark that "I go out of my way to get in trouble"... Well, yes I guess I do... (he, ha, ho)...

AND YES, SPARKLE PLENTY -- Mr. Hart ordered the paint job just prior to his retirement... He went out with a splash...

AND YES, RED -- It's all Federal Land now (GGNRA) and believe me when I say they have more cops and cop cars out there than visitors on a weekday...

AND T.F. -- Yeah, I've got to agree with you about Golden Gate Transist -- years ago I used to often take the bus to and from the city -- driving on Highway101 after a couple drinks is a definite No No...

AND DEBORAH -- Well, a fender bender in that particular area would probably lead to a horrible multiple car smashup -- most people are a bit more careful than usual, but then there's always that one guy... --My uncle used to tell a story of a wreck in that area -- he liked to tell watching ambulance personnel "peel" someone off of a chain-link fence who had been ejected from their car... Outch...

photowannabe said...

You are too much there Don. Love the picture of the tunnel from the inside. Seem to remember a sig about No Stopping.....hmmm...who's to know huh? Good thing you got only a warning that could have been a pricy ticket.

photowannabe said...

Oops, "sign"... fingers don't always cooperate.

Brad said...

Cool pix, Donald. I always love going across the GG Bridge. A favorite area to take photos for me on the Marin side is the old graffitied concrete gun emplacements and bunkers in the Marin Headlands.

Natalie WG said...

Hi
I would just like to say that i love your work. Every picture is so fantastic in its own way. I am 13 years old and I am very interested in photography. Any advise for an amateur like me would be much appreciated.
Thanks!
Natalie

 
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