Apr 19, 2014

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The World’s Steepest Street in New Zealand

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.

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