This time it was garbage.
That's an improvement, though. The garbage backlog is intermittent and hasn't brought my new city to a screeching halt. I've managed to work my way up to about 30,000 citizens and while my streets are a mess, essential services are getting through eventually. I expect I'll peak sooner or later, and then it will become time to do a postmortem on the city, but until that happens, it's nice seeing things grow.
I couldn't have done it without the advice of Victim from the rpg.net forums. The suggestion about roundabouts in particular was a life-saver, although it's hard to know where to put them and I'm reluctant to experiment, given their rather large footprint.
However, I think I need to take things to the next level. Here is my traffic map as of now:
Every street that comes off the highway is slammed with cars. It's not the wall-to-wall gridlock I got with my previous town, but it is a serious problem. I think I'm going to have to bulldoze some of my commercial zones to make room for wider roads, and maybe add another roundabout or two, but my city is growing so well right now that I'm afraid the cure might be worse than the disease.
I think the lesson I'm learning from my time with Cities: Skylines is to be content with small victories. On one level, it really is better to govern a small town well than to have a large city and barely be able to control it.
On the other hand, it's kind of thrilling to reach the various milestones and watch your city get bigger and bigger. I'm just finding that the complexity of the game is exploding faster than I can get a grip on it.
Of course, this is always the way it goes down when you try to learn a new, complex strategy game. I must have played a dozen games of Civilization V before I felt confident taking on Prince difficulty and then I played Prince for literally hundreds of hours before moving on to King (and then I tried going after Emperor right away and it was a disaster). So it's likely that if I kept at it and played Cities: Skylines on a bunch of different maps over the course of a year or two, I would com to view traffic management as a minor annoyance to be cleared away with a few clever exploits of the simulation logic.
But who has that sort of time?