Taco_Bell_Express_at_Mannheim_Benjamin_Franklin_Village

A Taco Bell restaurant interior

ATTLEBORO — Pleasant Street was once pleasant.

Large shade trees and big homes lined it up and down.

But that was decades ago.

It’s since been transformed into a very busy commercial strip from the railroad bridge near Falmouth Street to Lindsey Street.

Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of cars drive the roadway every day, visiting a plethora businesses including fast-food restaurants, coffee shops, a bar, a liquor store, a truck rental, gas stations, a nursing home, a grocery store, banks, pharmacies and other businesses.

And now one more will be going in soon — a Taco Bell.

The 1,967-square-foot restaurant has the approval of the planning board (5-0) and zoning board of appeals (3-0). It will go on a vacant, 41,006-square-foot lot at the corner of Pleasant and Perry Avenue.

The site is just shy of an acre.

No opposition was raised at public hearings on the structure, but that does not mean everyone is happy about it, as evidenced on Mayor Paul Heroux’s Facebook page.

There were a lot of comments, the majority of them negative.

There were so many that Andrew Heller made a comment about the comments.

“More people are commenting on Taco Bell than came out to vote on the ($259.9 million) high school (tax) override …” he said.

It was an exaggeration, but people did seem a bit more worked up about the Taco Bell than spending $260 million on a new school.

Traffic is the big concern among people who drive the road every day.

But a traffic expert testifying before the planning board said the normal ebb and flow will not be affected and the board agreed, as did the ZBA.

Currently, the road is not in the best condition, but improvements can’t be done until Taco Bell is done.

And Public Works Superintendent Mike Tyler said repaving is on the agenda.

“Pleasant Street (from) Starkey Avenue to Lindsey Street is scheduled to have sidewalk improvements and roadway resurfacing performed in the next few years,” he told The Sun Chronicle in an email. “We are just waiting on the construction of the new Taco Bell and associated roadway, sidewalk and utility work to be completed, before starting this much needed city project.

“All other sections of Pleasant Street have been resurfaced over the last five years. This section is the final piece of the puzzle.”

He said new roadway signage and lane markings are scheduled as well.

But some people who drive the road are worried.

“Not happy about this one bit!!” Robin Therrien wrote when she found out about it. “There is already way too much traffic … Can’t wait for all the yahoos to come rolling in drunk at midnight.”

The restaurant will have a drive-thru window open from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m.

As many as 16 cars will be able to stack on the site with an entrance off Pleasant.

The ZBA mandated a gate at the Pleasant Street entrance in case the demand for midday or midnight tacos gets out of hand and cars spill over into the roadway.

Monique Morin Reynolds also expressed concern.

“WOW!! Worst place for Taco Bell! Crazy backed up traffic all the time!!!!”

“That is going to create a traffic nightmare …” Diane Lennox said.

“That’s the worst possible location,” chimed Chris Kasanowsky. “Traffic is a nightmare … there already!!”

Albert Ruano suggest the Taco Bell be moved to the wide and commercially vacant O’Neil Boulevard.

“Put it somewhere else,” Elaine Cote Tallini said. “That area is already too crowded.”

“Throw another potentially busy business into … a dangerous high traffic area. I don’t get the mentality ...,” Ann Wilson Bridges said.

But as always, there’s another side.

Some people are relishing the chance to bite into one of Taco Bell’s tacos.

“Bring it on … I love Taco Bell,” Vicki Cassidy Nason said.

The road has a other fast-food chains like McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Papa Gino’s to name a few, and Albert Richmond said Pleasant Street is a good spot for Taco Bell, too.

“Everybody can’t get to S. Attleboro to get good fast food,” he said. “I don’t do Taco Bell, but it’s needed, keep it up.”

“That’ll be cool to have another good option on that Pleasant Street strip,” added Kurt Bonin.

And Yvonne Gunning said she’ll welcome Taco Bell with open arms.

“Sometimes you just want tacos!!!” she said.

George W. Rhodes can be reached at 508-236-0432.