Dunedin surveyor plans trip to Wales to measure worlds steepest street
Dunedin has been told to take down its sign proclaiming Baldwin St is the steepest street in the world, but the city council is not budging yet.
It has been a month since Guinness World Records officially recognised Ffordd Pen Llech, in the coastal Welsh town of Harlech, as being the world's steepest street.
But a Dunedin surveyor is taking the moral high ground over the low blow that felled his beloved Baldwin St.
The Dunedin branch manager and surveyor with Clark Fortune McDonald, Toby Stoff, has surveyed Baldwin St and now wants to do the same with the 1000-year-old Ffordd Pen Llech.
Stoff was concerned the Welsh team behind the world record push had measured their street at a curve on the inside of the road.
"I design roads for a living, you measure them on the centreline."
The Welsh measurement, which was permitted by Guinness, gave a much steeper gradient when compared with the centre line measurement of the straight Baldwin St.
"From a professional point of view, if I was asked to come up with a methodology I would do it from the centreline," Stoff said.
"Guinness have opened it up to any man and his dog taking the title, there are probably three roads in Dunedin which could claim it."
He has the support of the surveying and engineering community, and is fundraising for a trip to Wales later this year.
The campaign – Save Baldwin St: World's Steepest Street Title from the Welsh Boyo's – has raised almost $8000.
"I don't want to go over there and say 'this is bulls...' – that just looks like a gripe and a grudge. That will get us nowhere."
Instead he wanted to compile a story of the two roads, before surveying the Welsh upstart.
Guinness did not appear to be interested in changing its rules, he said.
Instead, it asked the Dunedin City Council to remove a sign proclaiming Baldwin St as the world's steepest.
A council spokesman said local residents and tour operators were being consulted before any signage was removed.
Stoff had a simpler answer: "Leave the sign. What is Guinness going to do if you don't. Sue you?
"They aren't a statutory authority. For me this is all a jolly, but Baldwin St was our jolly, our steepest street."
To satisfy the world record requirements, the Welsh bid had to supply blueprints of the street.
Guinness World Records editor in chief Craig Glenday said the Harlech community had shown "sheer willpower" in their quest to earn Ffordd Pen Llech the title.
Once popular events, such as the annual Cadbury Jaffa Race and a Gutbuster race to the top, have now ended but the street is still a drawcard for an increasing number of cruise ships and independent travellers.
In 2001, Ana North, a 19-year-old physical education student at the University of Otago, died when she and a friend hit a parked trailer while riding a green wheelie bin down Baldwin St.
Source : Stuff.co.nz