SAN FRANCISCO -- The western span of the Bay Bridge has now officially taken the name of former California Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

Hundreds of people gathered on Treasure Island on Tuesday for a dedication ceremony for the new Willie L. Brown, Jr. Bridge.

Brown told reporters that he was honored to have the bridge span named after him.

Brown, who is black, said it was especially an honor for the African-American community.

The Legislature approved the name in September.

Brown was the Assembly's first black speaker and the longest-serving speaker in state history, presiding over the 80-member house from 1980 to 1995.

He was considered among the most powerful state politicians of his time.

The name only applies to the western span of the bridge, not the new eastern span.