Baldwin Street, in Dunedin, New Zealand, is considered the world’s steepest residential street. It is located in the residential suburb of North East Valley, 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) northeast of Dunedin’s city centre.
A short straight street a little under 350 metres (1,150 ft) long, Baldwin Street runs east from the valley of the Lindsay Creek up the side of Signal Hill towards Opoho, rising from 30 m (98 ft) above sea level at its junction with North Road to 100 m (330 ft) above sea level at the top, an average slope of slightly more than 1:5. Its lower reaches are only moderately steep, and the surface is asphalt, but the upper reaches of this cul-de-sac are far steeper, and surfaced in concrete (200 m or 660 ft long), for ease of maintenance (bitumen—in either chip seal or asphalt—would flow down the slope on a warm day) and for safety in Dunedin’s frosty winters. At its maximum, the slope of Baldwin Street is about 1:2.86 (19° or 35%). That is, for every 2.86 metres travelled horizontally, the elevation changes by 1 metre.
Baldwin Street’s claim to fame has caused some controversy after it emerged that the original entry in the Guinness Book of Records was based on a typographical error, claiming a maximum gradient of 1:1.266 (38° or 79%). This appears to be an error for 1:2.66, which itself is slightly steeper than the currently accepted figure of 1:2.86. Alternatively, the mistake may have been caused by confusion between grade in degrees and percentage grade, mixing up 38% with 38°. Nevertheless, Guinness officially recognises Baldwin Street as the world’s steepest street at a 35% grade.
Other notably steep streets include:
- The Côte St-Ange in Chicoutimi, Canada with a 33% gradient (about 18°).
- Canton Avenue, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States; it is officially measured to be a 37% grade. However, that angle of 37% only extends about 6.5 metres, whereas Baldwin Street’s steepest part stretches considerably farther.
- Eldred Street in Los Angeles, United States; one of three streets in Los Angeles between 32% and 33.3%,.
- Filbert and 22nd Streets in San Francisco, California, United States each have 31 to 31.5% (17°) for 60–70 metres. Several short pieces of San Francisco streets are steeper, including a 9 metre section of Bradford street paved in 2010 that averages 39–40% grade.
- Waipio Valley Road on the island of Hawai’i, 25% for 1 kilometre with peak gradients much higher; some claim 45%.This is a paved public road but it is not a residential street and is open only to 4 wheel drive vehicles.
- Cynthia Wilson Drive in Goonellabah, Australia The steepest section with a 24% grade and about 250 meters long. A lot of daring people have went down the street on bicycles, skateboards and scooters.
Many streets in the west of England and in Wales have reported slopes of 33% and higher. The street Ffordd Pen Llech in Harlech, Wales has a reported slope of 40%. Vale Street in Bristol is often also reported as the steepest street in Britain and hence may have a slope even steeper than 40%. However these roads are mostly shorter roads than those listed above, with far more frequent turns as opposed to the straight path of Baldwin.
Courtesy : Wikipedia