Taco Bell triggers a cry in Attleboro | Local News

ATTLEBORO – Pleasant Street used to be nice.

Tall shade trees and tall houses lined it up and down.

But that was decades ago.

It has since been transformed into a busy shopping strip, from the railway bridge near Falmouth Street to Lindsey Street.

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

And now another one will be coming soon – a Taco Bell.

The 1,967-square-foot restaurant has planning board (5-0) and zoning appeal board (3-0) approval. 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 during the public hearings on the structure, but that does not mean that everyone is happy about it, as evidenced by the Facebook page of Mayor Paul Héroux.

There have been many comments, the majority of them being negative.

There were so many that Andrew Heller commented on the comments.

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

That was a stretch, but people seemed a little more excited about the Taco Bell than spending $260 million on a new school.

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

But a traffic expert giving evidence to the planning council said the normal ebb and flow would not be affected and the council agreed, as did the ZBA.

Currently the road is not in the best condition, but improvements cannot be made until Taco Bell is complete.

And Public Works Superintendent Mike Tyler said repaving was the order of the day.

“Pleasant Street (from) Starkey Avenue to Lindsey Street is expected to undergo sidewalk improvements and pavement resurfacing over the next few years,” he told the Sun Chronicle in an email. “We are just waiting for the construction of the new Taco Bell and associated roadway, sidewalk and utility work to be completed before starting this much-needed urban project.

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

He added that new road signs and lane markings are also planned.

But some people driving the road are worried.

“Not happy about that kinda!!” Robin Therrien wrote when she heard about it. “There’s way too much traffic already… I can’t wait for all the yahoos to get drunk at midnight.”

The restaurant will have a drive-thru window open from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.

Up to 16 cars will be able to pile up on the site with an entry off Pleasant.

The ZBA has mandated a gate at the Pleasant Street entrance in case the demand for midday or midnight tacos gets out of control and cars overflow onto the pavement.

Monique Morin Reynolds also expressed concern.

“WOW!! Worst place for Taco Bell! Crazy saved traffic the whole time!!!!”

“It’s going to create a traffic nightmare…” Diane Lennox said.

“It’s the worst possible place,” said Chris Kasanowsky. “Traffic is a nightmare…already there!!”

Albert Ruano suggests that the Taco Bell be moved to the wide, commercially vacant O’Neil Boulevard.

“Put it somewhere else,” said Elaine Cote Tallini. “This area is already overcrowded.”

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

But as always, there is another side.

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

“Go ahead…I love Taco Bell,” Vicki Cassidy Nason said.

The road has 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 also a good place for Taco Bell.

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

“It will be cool to have another good option on this strip of Pleasant Street,” added Kurt Bonin.

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

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

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

About Glenda Wait

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