It doesn't make sense for Harvard to defend itself saying "You don't go out overnight and rip up a sidewalk" because nobody ever said they should do it overnight. Replacing a fence and planting trees seem like things that could be done in a week or two if the resources of Harvard University were brought to bear on the task.
Back in 1997 Harvard thought these improvements were a pretty big deal. In its Master Plan it wrote,
"The planned program of improvements is intended to demonstrate Harvard’s growing commitment to its relationship with the Allston community. It is viewed by Harvard as an initial step in what will be a continuing pattern of University leadership in achieving the physical development and community planning goals shared by Harvard, the City of Boston and the Allston neighborhood. Campus edges on and adjacent to Harvard property comprise increasingly important interfaces between Harvard and the Allston community."
Allston and Brighton residents will have attended eleven community meeting about Harvard's expansion in just the months of July and August. As volunteers we are giving so much of our time and it would be great to see Harvard equally committed to making these improvements promised so many years ago.