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    Boston closes thousands of snow complaints — after it melts

    No complaints.
    Scott LaPierre/Globe Staff/File
    No complaints.

    At first, Sarah Kelly thought the e-mail was a joke.

    She said she had been waiting since February for the city to address her complaint about a massive snow pile in South Boston. This week, officials notified her that the issue was resolved — because all the snow had melted.

    “They never removed it,” Kelly said. “They never responded to my request until now.”


    Kelly is among thousands of residents notified Monday that their snow-removal complaints, lodged this winter through the city’s 24-hour constituent service system, were no longer open.

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    The messages read, “This service request is now considered closed due to the recent arrival of spring. . . . Thank you for your patience and we apologize for any requests that we were not able to get to.”

    The city received 30,059 requests for snow removal since the start of the year, and 4,019 cases remained open until this week. The cases mostly dealt with snow mounds crowding street corners, or portions of streets that were reportedly unplowed as successive snowstorms battered the city.

    The city is continuing to review some outstanding complaints related to the winter season to close the loop with residents.

    In Kelly’s case, she had complained that a pile of snow was taking up a parking space and impeding access to an alleyway neighbors use to walk home.


    Complaints like Kelly’s came in through the Citizens Connect app, phone calls to the mayor’s hot line, and submissions on the city’s website.

    Spokeswoman Melina Schuler said all of the cases that were submitted during the unprecedented winter were noted by the mayor’s office, and thousands of them were addressed and closed efficiently.

    But amid round-the-clock snow-removal efforts, she said, workers sometimes did not mark the citizen complaints as they were addressed.

    For residents like Kelly, having to wait until spring to get a response from the city was not a satisfactory resolution, however.

    “I understand there was a lot of snow to take care of, but there were some really significant piles,” Kelly said. “I’m glad spring is here too, but it doesn’t absolve the city from doing their job in the winter.”


    In February, Walsh apologized to residents after an employee in his office mistakenly wiped clean 9,000 snow-removal requests as a new storm approached.

    But officials stressed that they were confident that the snow was gone when they made the latest purge.

    “There was certainly a high volume of constituent service requests this winter. And we did our due diligence to get to everyone of them,” Schuler said. “But we wanted to make sure that constituents had, if you will, closure on their cases.”

    Steve Annear can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.