Baldwin Street, in Dunedin, New Zealand, has been reinstated as the world’s steepest street (road) after a formal record review.
Baldwin street previously held the record for over a decade until June 2019, when the record was awarded to Ffordd Pen Llech, in Harlech, Wales.
The decision to reinstate the previous record holder was reached following the completion of an extensive review of an appeal, brought by representatives of Baldwin Street.
The appeal, led by Toby Stoff, included a comparative survey of the three-dimensional shapes of the Dunedin street and Ffordd Pen Llech.
The findings revealed that in order to fairly assess the different shape of the streets, whether they’re straight or curved, steepness must be measured by the central axis (the centre line of the road).
Sincere thanks to Guinness World Records for considering our findings. It is important to know that Guinness World Records treats matters like this in a robust and professional manner. The issue of gradient was technical in nature only. There was no bad feeling toward the people of Harlech. I had the great joy of visiting last November. It is a wonderful heritage town full of friendly people - Toby Stoff
Following a thorough review, as well as consulting with industry specialists, it was concluded that for the steepest street (road) record title, the best practice for the gradient is to take the measurement from the centreline of the street.
Accordingly, GWR’s record guidelines will no longer allow measurements from any other axis.
The new results confirmed Baldwin Street has the steeper gradient of 34.8%, compared to Ffordd Pen Llech’s gradient of 28.6%.
In addition to amending the record’s guidelines to include measuring the gradient from the centreline of the street, the guidelines for this record now accept measurement provided by a local, national or international measurement professional.
It has also been clarified within the guidelines that for the purposes of the record, a thoroughfare includes when a street connects to other roads, as these are also considered a destination.
Craig Glenday, Editor-in-Chief at Guinness World Records, said of the decision:
Each one of the 60,000+ records we monitor have a set of rules unique to them which specify, among other things, the evidence that must be provided in order for us to verify a world record claim. As well as calling upon in-house expertise, we also work in collaboration with dozens of consultants, universities, federations and governing bodies across a number of subject matters to ensure that our rules are as up-to-date and as relevant as possible. We’re very grateful to the Baldwin Street appeals team, led by surveyor Toby Stoff, for making us aware of a rare gap in our stipulations and we’re pleased to see the title return to New Zealand. We’re also very grateful to the Ffordd Pen Llech team for their application and good humour throughout this process.
Representatives from Baldwin Street and Ffordd Pen Llech have been informed.