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Baldwin Street - world’s steepest street, New Zealand

May 15th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 
 

Baldwin Street, in a quiet suburban part of New Zealand's southern city of Dunedin, is reputed to be the world's steepest street. It is located in the suburb of North East Valley, 3.5 kilometres northeast of Dunedin's city centre.

A short straight street of some 350 metres length, Baldwin Street runs east from the valley of the Lindsay Creek up the side of Signal Hill. Its lower reaches are of only moderate steepness, and the surface is asphalt, but the upper reaches of this cul-de-sac are far steeper, and surfaced in concrete, for ease of maintenance (tar seal 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 approximately 1:2.86 (19° or 35%) - that is, for every 2.86 metres travelled horizontally, the elevation rises by 1 metre.

The street's steepness was unintentional. As with many other parts of Dunedin, and indeed New Zealand, streets were laid out in a grid pattern with no consideration for the terrain, usually by planners in London. In the case of Baldwin Street (and much of the Dunedin streetplan), they layout was designed by Charles Kettle in the late 19th Century. The street is named after William Baldwin, an Otago Provincial Councillor and newspaper founder, who subdivided the area.

Despite its apparent cul-de-sac nature, Baldwin Street is linked across the top by an unformed road linking it with Calder Ave and Arnold Street which are unformed in their upper reaches (where Baldwin is at its steepest). The streets running parallel to Baldwin are all quite steep: Arnold St (1:3.6), Dalmeny (1:3.7), and Calder Ave (1:5.4).

[Source: Wikipedia]

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