Welsh town challenges Dunedin's Baldwin St for title of world's steepest street

Dunedin could lose its title of having the world's steepest street after residents of a Welsh town laid down a challenge.

Baldwin St in Dunedin has attracted thousands of visitors each year ever since it was crowned the world's steepest street by Guinness World Records.

The street has an average gradient of 35 percent, and for every 2.86 metres travelled up the street horizontally, the elevation changes by one metre.

But the street's claim to fame is being challenged by the street Ffordd Pen Llech in Harlech, Wales, which has a reported slope of 36 percent.

Measurements are being taken on the Welsh street and will be submitted to Guinness World Records, with a decision expected to be announced next month.

One of the men tasked with surveying Wales' claim, Myrddyn Phillips, told the Otago Daily Times he would start assessing the claim with two others on Thursday.

Dunedin residents took to social media to express their sorrow, with one woman telling the "Welsh pretenders" to "bugger off".

"Our hilly little city is proud of its gradient (on a real street, lined with houses, used by vehicles)," she said, angry perhaps that a sign on the Welsh road warns of it being unsuitable for motorists.

Guinness World Records guidelines say to be eligible for the steepest-street record the road must be open to both pedestrians and motorised traffic.

The steepness of Baldwin St was unintentional. The city's streets were laid out in a grid pattern with no consideration for the hilly terrain. It was named after the person who subdivided the area, William Baldwin.

With its claim to fame, Baldwin St has attracted a number of daredevils over the years in attempts to master its steepness in various types of vehicles.
With its claim to fame, Baldwin St has attracted a number of daredevils over the years in attempts to master its steepness in various types of vehicles. Photo credit: Getty

With its claim to fame, Baldwin St has attracted a number of daredevils over the years in attempts to master its steepness in various types of vehicles.

A young man was filmed speeding down the street on Thursday using a Lime scooter, believed to be the first person to successfully tackle the hill.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said he hoped people would use "common sense" before attempting to ride a Lime scooter down the famed steep street.

The tourist attraction is also used for fundraising attempts and stunts, including an 11-year-old boy who pogo-sticked up it for charity, and a Kiwi who reached speeds of around 100km/h while riding a small trike.

But the street turned deadly in 2001 when a woman died after sliding down the street using a wheelie bin and hitting a parked trailer.

Emergency services were also called to the street on Christmas Day last year after a Honda failed to make the climb and rolled backwards down the hill into a power pole.

Dunedin City Council is undertaking a series of upgrades to strengthen the street and help residents cope with the thousands of tourists who visit every year.

Newshub.

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